Saturday, January 13, 2007

Creativity - what's that got to do with libraries?

As one of the very few people at the Creativity or Conformity conference who was what they call support staff rather than academic, perhaps I should try to account for the relevance?

One great benefit was that I got to take part in discussion of the issues and concerns of those who I'm supporting. I take 'support' to mean that my job is to make it easier for other people to do their jobs, and I think it's likely that I can do that better if I understand what it is they are trying to do.

Another was that it made me realise that while libraries are excellent at supporting the traditional style of learning (individual, based on the written word and existing knowledge in the subject area) they are not so great at facilitating more creative styles (collaborative, visual, lateral thinking, idea generating and problem solving.) Our physical spaces and our resources and (dare I say) our rules, are very much geared towards the former.

I've seen some examples of what others are doing to make universities and their libraries more active in support of creative learning. The projects involving iLabs and c-spaces * in particular were something that I think we should be aware of. Of course these things take time and resources... but let's not start singing that old song again (see previous post!)


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