Library professor casts away nerves before TEDx event


Marianne Martens poses for a portrait in the the Reinberger Children’s Library Center with Harry Potter and The Sorcer’s Stone. Martens is scheduled to speak at the TEDxKent event on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 in Cartwright Hall.

Paige Brown

Marianne Martens, assistant professor of library and information sciences, has been eagerly preparing for the presentation she will give at the first Kent State TEDx event on Feb. 18. Martens will be speaking about fan-fiction and the popular “Harry Potter” website Pottermore in particular.

Martens has a background in children’s publishing and has been working in publishing for more than twenty years.

“I’ve sort of seen the way publishing has gone from being print only, to being print plus other formats,” Martens said. “I’m really interested in these digital extensions of books and participatory elements of books and how young people are able to get involved with digital formats.”

Martens became interested in Pottermore after hearing people complain about the relaunch of the website.

“I really looked a lot around September 2015 when the relaunch happened and then around last summer when ‘The Cursed Child’ play was released,” Martens said.

While her presentation will revolve around Pottermore and the use of growing social media, she is careful not to give too much away.

“Dr. Martens’ presentation will provide a unique opportunity to understand opportunities and challenges youth face while engaging with social media technologies,” Lala Hajibayova said, Martens’ colleague and assistant professor of library and information science.

Martens talked about how she is preparing for the event and joked that “freaking out is probably 90 percent of the process.”

She has also been reading Chris Anderson’s book about TEDTalks, has been watching other TEDTalks online and plans to practice in front of her colleagues.

“If you want to be good at something, just do it over and over and over again, and I’m trying my best to do that,” Martens said.

Colleagues are not the only ones excited for Martens — her former students speak highly of her as well.

“In general, TEDx speakers are intelligent yet relatable or personable, and I enjoy their ability to bring laughter, positivity and good energy to complex topics and fields,” said graduate student Alexandra Bell. “Dr. Martens did this as a professor and I believe she will do the same at the TEDx event.”

Although Martens said she has never done something like this before, she is still excited for it.

“I think this is a really incredible opportunity, I’m really excited about it and I think that it’s really cool that it’s mostly done by student organizers here at Kent State,” Martens said. “It’s going to be a really great event for our community and for the university.”

The TEDxKentState event “Rewind, Rethink, React” begins Saturday at 9:30 a.m. in the Student Center Ballroom.

Paige Brown is the libraries reporter, contact her at [email protected]