New Models, New Horizons: Encouraging Creativity in the Library

The 2017 library edition Horizon Report states that library patrons are becoming creators as they are “learning by making and creating rather than by simply consuming content” (pp 14). Creativity is increasingly the means for active, hands-on learning. With the growing maker culture developing in more and more libraries around the world, people are now looking to libraries to assist and provide them the tools for skill-building and making, with libraries being the ideal environments to serve as such creation hubs. The report states that this function is a natural extension of libraries traditional role as facilitators of knowledge creation and as spaces where people can connect.

Most of us, at one time or another, have come across someone with the idea that only children can explore and have fun, and that when you’re over 18 you’re supposed to be more serious.  Fun is often an accepted idea for the very young or for those who are of retirement age, but adults aren’t supposed to have fun. What about those ages between youth and being elderly? When you’re building and living your life? The idea that we’re too old to do fun things is so sad! Have you heard anyone say, “when you’re retired THEN you can take a painting class”… No! Don’t wait to try your creative endeavors! Do them now. Artistic people get this kind of pressure and reaction all the time. It’s normal for everyone to be creative. So I thought it was extraordinary when I read about the idea of encouraging creatively of library staff. The more creative library staff can be the better for library users, the community, thus, for society itself.

Everyone has the inclination to be creative. I agree with the Anythink library model and the ideal that by supporting creativity of staff and community libraries will be ensuring that they’re places filled with ideas and curiosity which will help foster creative individuals and communities. Coming to work every day with a positive attitude towards being able to express ones creative ideas and interests sounds like a dream job to me! If only more businesses would give their staff such tools to explore their own creative ideas and to be able to encourage that of their community of users as well. By creating and offering such learning spaces we’ll have the power to influence lives and open doors for curious minds of all ages while helping to create a welcoming place for the entire community.

In his lecture, Professor Stephens showed us a sign the Anythink library had posted in their library, quoting Maya Angelou: “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have”. I love how encouraging that statement is and the fact that the library is using it as an encouraging communication tool for their community of library users.

 

In Pam Sandlian Smith’s Tedx presentation What to expect from libraries in the 21st century she states, “you can learn anything if you make it playful”. She continues by stating that libraries can be places that support creativity, community, innovation, and entrepreneurship, treating everyone with the same respect and dignity, and stressing how libraries can be on the patron’s side by providing the spaces patrons need “to create, to think and fulfill some dreams”. I just loved this! Libraries really are points of inspiration and happiness where people can dream to become anything they want.

In our module 8, Professor Stephens describes hyggethe concept of making people feel comfortable, having a feeling of being cozy and of being with people and a community.

By providing creative programming a library can develop, unleash, and encourage creative actions and thought from their staff, patrons, and the community itself, helping individuals to develop, grow, and improve while making it normal and accepted for people to be creative. Fun should be something that people always have the opportunity to do and to strive for. With the idea of hygge we have the power to change the role of the public library in society, which literally can change the way libraries are thought of. It’s a very positive perspective that can take libraries into the future, hopefully taking us far from the stereotype of the hushed librarian’s of the past. Libraries should be places and spaces where the community can feel welcome to explore, discover, and create. An environment that should allow for people, no matter age or educational level, to feel that sense of hygge, while offering the opportunity for people of a community to explore and know the world, and to live their most abundant lives.

I love that there are some libraries who are designing their facilities with this idea in mind. Anythink is certainly an extraordinary example of the hygge ideal as they promote comfort, community, and the feeling of being a part of something. By promoting access to information and encouraging people to play, they are additionally encouraging creativity as well. I certainly agree that people learn through playing!

 

In his article Open Libraries: Self-service libraries – The Danish way, Jan Holmquist stated that the ultimate goal is to have more people using the library. With libraries becoming more of a community space, libraries can thus certainly expand on what patrons can do at the library.

I also loved the nudging theory Jan mentioned in his article. Having witness this in my own library I’m so glad to have a name for it finally! Often, there are times when I’m assisting patrons and from a distance and I’ll see another patron who is clearly having issues with something such as how to release their print jobs at the printer or adding money to their library card at our Pay-for-Print station. It’s common for patrons to have difficulty with such processes so library staff always try to keep an eye out to help those in need, but sometimes before library staff can get to a patron to assist, another patron will  step in, offering help to the confused. I’m always so grateful and happy when I see patrons helping each other along the way to information, and will make an effort to thank the “nudging” patron for their compassion. It’s so endearing to see such acts of good deeds being offered, for they truly are good deeds! Some library patrons have real anxiety regarding accessing library equipment and technology so it’s nice to see the community of library users working together. It really does make the library feel like a place for the community, and being treated with such respect and dignity by all is always a good thing and something that most patrons never forget.

 

References

Holmquist, J. (2016, April 06). Open libraries: Self service libraries – The Danish way. Retrieved April 07, 2017, from https://janholmquist.net/2016/04/06/open-libraries-self-service-libraries-the-danish-way/

Stephens, M. (2016). The Hygge State of Mind.
http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2016/03/opinion/michael-stephens/the-hygge-state-of-mind-office-hours/

T. (2013, December 16). What to expect from libraries in the 21st century: Pam Sandlian Smith at TEDxMileHigh. Retrieved April 07, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fa6ERdxyYdo&feature=youtu.be

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