This was an exciting weekend at Thompson Library. Along side the CNN-sponsored town hall held in Mershon Auditorium for both Democratic Presidential candidates, MSNBC approached the university about holding another town hall with candidate Bernie Sanders in the Buckeye Reading Room the following Monday. And of course this request came to the university and the Libraries on Friday afternoon, just as the campus was relaxing into spring break. And let’s just say that the television news industry operates with a different sense of timing and urgency than we normally do in higher education…
If any of you have ever been involved with managing logistics for a large event, not to mention a major media event with high-level security concerns (i.e., the Secret Service), then you know something of the Herculean effort that went into transforming the Buckeye Reading Room into a secure television set in two days. Much of this effort coming from OSU Libraries colleagues, who, with flexibility and grace, worked through the weekend to show The Ohio State University at its best to the nation and the world.
Due in no small part to these efforts, the event was by all accounts a success (if you didn’t watch the telecast, you can view the video here). And given all their work, I thought it would be appropriate to shine some light on the people who made it happen, who they are and what they did.
Brent Lewis – acted as project manager and the primary liaison to the MSNBC crew, the Secret Service, as well as affected OSU departments. He worked double shifts all weekend and came in on Monday at 2:30AM!
David Holbrook – acted as assistant project manager, assisting Brent in supporting MSNBC production and technical crews, security personnel, and OSU departments. He coordinated deliveries through the dock and managed student support throughout the weekend.
Mark Moziejko – provided facilities support for both the external production crews and OSU facilities departments. He played a pivotal role in coordinating HVAC changes for the production team and worked as a communication liaison to inform stakeholders about interrupted workflows and services throughout the weekend.
Shannon Niemeyer – acted as events coordinator, working with MSNBC production managers throughout the weekend on space coordination, catering, and room setup, as well as assisting on the space rental agreement with Business Advancement.
Larry Allen – acted as primary communications liaison throughout the weekend, responsible for keeping all of us informed as details became available. He supported communications with Business Advancement, University Communications and Government Relations, and handled signage.
In addition, Aaron Heil came in on Sunday night to relieve Brent for all facilities matters with the MSNBC production crew; Lauren Paulauskas and Ashley Foster assisted on the rental agreement and other logistics; Quanetta Batts ensured that our colleagues from OCIO who work in Thompson Library were up-to-date on the situation as it developed and had alternate meeting space for a displaced event; and Wendy Pflug, at extremely short notice, provided an after-hours tour of BICLM for Jake Tapper, a CNN reporter and host of the Democratic candidate town halls hosted by the university on Sunday evening. Mr. Tapper is also a cartoonist and was thrilled by the tour, tweeting extensively about it to his 460,000 followers the following day.
Lastly, a number of student employees helped move A LOT of furniture and supported Brent and David as needed throughout the weekend:
Kelly Jackson, Steven Pesa, Allegra Roland, Miranda Beatty, Tyler Treese, Emily Bishop, Braden Coles, and Sangeetha Ramachandran.
Through their efforts these folks collectively provided a wonderful illustration of extended engagement – something that many of you have heard me talk about over the last several weeks. Though providing a venue for a televised political event might not in itself seem directly relevant to an academic research library’s mission, I find it a compelling example of how we might push the boundaries of how the Libraries can provide value and demonstrate impact to the broader university and beyond, in this case as an active platform for considering issues important to the campus community, the State of Ohio, and our democratic process. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that “The Ohio State University” was mentioned multiple times during, and in connection with, an international television broadcast. Not too mention that 460,000 people from across the country and the world might now know a little more about some of the treasures we hold at BICLM.
So, join me in thanking our colleagues for stepping up on such short notice to such rousing success. If you see any of them this week, let them know that you value their exceptional work.
Vice Provost and Director of University Libraries