Overwhelming Response to Library’s Temple Grandin Program Crashes City Website
Noted Autism and Animal Rights Activist to Appear on September 12
Community members intent on obtaining free tickets to see internationally recognized autism and animal rights advocate Dr. Temple Grandin managed to crash the City of Longmont’s website for a few minutes on Monday morning. The Library is hosting Dr. Grandin at the Stewart Auditorium in Longmont’s Museum and Cultural Center on Tuesday, September 12, and the event had been widely publicized in the run-up to opening registration at 10 am on Monday. An unprecedented level of interest crashed the City’s website as people tried to register online. The website was down for approximately 15 minutes, during which frantic patrons flooded the Library’s phone lines and social media outlets, leaving more than 100 messages. Others came into the Library and waited in line to register in person.
“We have honestly never seen anything like it,” said Library Director Judith Anderson. “Craig Johnson was our keynote author last year for our Authors We Love series, and he sold out in 36 hours. We were surprised and thrilled by that response, but this is a whole other level of community interest.” Anderson reported that Library staff were caught off-guard and completely overwhelmed by the walk-ins and phone calls, and staff were scrambling to get the website back up and running to allow for online registration. “We felt so bad about the technical difficulties and the frustration our patrons experienced trying to get tickets. Our staff did everything they could in a very unexpected and challenging situation. Their only concern was trying to help as many patrons as possible get tickets. We know that some people who left messages will not receive tickets, and we feel really awful about that.”
Although the Library typically has a stand-by protocol for sold out programs, with this program, it is going once step further. Given that the Stewart Auditorium cannot accommodate all those who registered via phone message and online, the Library is adding an overflow room at the Stewart Auditorium on the night of the Dr. Grandin’s program. “The room will be adjacent to the auditorium, and the program will be live streamed into the room on a large screen,” Anderson explained. “Visitors in that room will still be able to have books signed by Dr. Grandin after the program and to submit questions for Dr. Grandin to possibly answer during the Q&A session, so we feel this is a good solution to try and accommodate more of the people interested in this program.” Anderson acknowledged that the seating will not be as ideal as the main auditorium, but she hopes that this option will help some people get to see the program that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to see. In addition, Anderson noted that she is actively seeking alternative locations for the program to try and allow more people to attend. Information will be posted to the Library’s website as it becomes available.
The program will also be recorded by the Library and posted to its website within days of the program, and local online community newsite, the Longmont Observer, will be providing the live stream on its Facebook page, both in the overflow rooms and to anyone watching at home. “We’re really doing our best to make this program accessible to as many people as possible,” Anderson explained.
The Library also has a stand-by policy for sold out programs, but Anderson is currently not sure whether they will be using it. Those who didn’t register but are still interested are encouraged to watch the Library’s website for information as the event draws nearer. “This really is such an amazing problem to have as a Library, and we are so grateful to the community for their incredible interest in these issues and this program,” Anderson said. “We hope their frustration with the situation this morning won’t deter them from staying in touch with us and maybe enjoying some of our other programs in the Authors We Love series.”
This program is part of the Longmont Public Library’s “Authors We Love” series. Visit our webpage for more information and to learn about more upcoming author talks.