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In the 21st century there is a constant rise in library patron needs and expectations. As dwindling budgets and less staff prevail, libraries are looking at new models of outreach and engagement to prove their value. Implementing a culture of creativity within one’s organization promotes cross-disciplinary collaboration and inclusion, which can build good will and trust, but does not need to cost a lot of time or money. Engaging partnerships can lead to better visibility for libraries which is important when it comes to acquiring administrative approval and funding. But perhaps most important, playful learning events can be a dynamic way to highlight collections and services which can also be assessed to help capture and share the value and importance of an organization.
This presentation will look at creativity in libraries, both inward and outward, and discuss the skills and tools needed to “be creative”. Looking through a “creative” lens focuses on “what is possible” and encourages individuals and organizations to work in unconventional ways while using tools which are readily and easily accessible for teaching, learning, or solving problems. Creative and playful experiences can be freeing and allow for spontaneity which is crucial when performing scholarly research, solving problems, or honing life-long learning skills. Creative learning experiences also provide casual teaching moments and opportunities for patrons to engage with library staff in non-traditional ways, which leads to a greater understanding of what is possible in a 21st century library.