Solving Library Problems with a Culture of Creativity
Library staff are connectors, collaborators, and storytellers, and we do it all while budgets shrink and staff and resources dwindle. We can only do this by abandoning traditional ways of thinking and getting creative. Embracing a culture of creativity within a library staff means cultivating the ability to engage multiple concepts simultaneously and make unusual connections between seemingly unrelated things.
In this course, we’ll reimagine staff collaboration, communication, and problem-solving by learning how we can embrace an actively creative culture and approach. Throughout this course, participants will be encouraged to look closely at what is possible and engage in active learning, readings, discussion posts, and more. Participants will also be encouraged to challenge themselves, think outside the box, and engage in playful learning.
This course is for people looking for new, low-cost, high-impact ways to creatively re-invigorate their libraries and engage their communities. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think of yourself as a creative or artistic person; if you want to bring new life to your library, this course is for you.
Bringing creativity into library work can seem daunting, but by defining what we mean by creativity, addressing some common obstacles, and looking at examples of library creativity in action, this course aims to open the doors to creative library practice to anyone who wants to re-invigorate their library and their work.
Through participation in this course, participants will:
- Learn about creativity & play theory, and how to move from theory to practice.
- Explore how to use a clearly-defined creative approach to engage and build collaborative partnerships, within both your staff and your community.
- Learn more about active learning and how to incorporate hands-on educational experiences into library programming, teaching, and everyday work life, including how to improve organization morale, liven work meetings, as well as how to get more users into the libraries being creative and participating at events.
Megan Lotts is the Art Librarian at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, where she teaches research workshops, builds collections, facilitates programming and events, and closely engages with students and faculty researching in the Arts. Lotts has presented her research both nationally and internationally and has published articles in the Libraries and the Academy, Art Documentation, Journal of Library Administration, College and Research Libraries News, and more. In 2021, the American Library Association published her first book, Advancing a Culture of Creativity in Libraries: Programming and Engagement. ALA will also publish her second book, The Playful Library, forthcoming July 2024. Her research interests include creativity, outreach & engagement, makerspaces, play, and the work of library liaisons. She is known for her work implementing LEGO play, a culture of creativity, and curating the exhibition spaces at the Rutgers University Art Library, as well as teaching a semester long seminar “Playing to Learn in Higher Education.” Megan earned her MFA (2004) and MLIS (2007) from University of Wisconsin-Madison and has a BFA in Painting (2000) and BFA in Art History (2002) from the University of Illinois- Champaign-Urbana. She currently lives in New Brunswick, NJ and continues to create site-specific conceptual works of art.
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