Creative Making brainstorming at U of T iSchool Oct 2014

Creative Making brainstorming at U of T iSchool Oct 2014

Another wonderfully inspiring Creative Making symposium at the University of Toronto iSchool, including a tour of their Critical Making Lab!  Last year our Creative Making event featured many practitioners from the US since it was a relatively new focus for Canadian libraries.  Here were some comments from last year’s program.  My epiphany that day was around the links between knowledge management and public libraries, something that had not occurred to me before.  Sue Considene from Fayetteville PL talked about their FabLab and her concept of the library as a platform for all types of learning (an opinion I have long held too!).  Their FabLab uses community experts to come in as a “maker or artist in residence”.  This made me think of expertise location which is critical in any knowledge management program and that led me to think that public libraries really need to mine their communities for experts that might be willing to share/teach/help others create in our libraries!  And also for partners to support the program in many different ways!

This year’s program featured a number of exciting makerspaces and programs in Canadian libraries.  There were great presentations (thanks to all the fabulous speakers!) and discussions.  Here are some of the insights from the attendees today:

* things to do when we get back: use fresh eyes to look at our existing space (one attendee had already identified a space to be repurposed!); start small with things like Little Bits or Makey Makey (my fav is the banana piano); sharing among our branches or consortium (move equipment around); inventory what in fact we already have (several attendees immediately identified things like a button maker that staff used, by why not let library members to as well?); start conversations with other community organizations/facilities such as art galleries, scouts & guides; mine the resources in our community.

* really liked:  focused marketing (Edmonton Public Library focuses on youth); whimsy & humor (Libraries are fun!); library partnership with members so that some programs and services are user determined; flexible spaces & furniture (putting castors on shelves so they can be moved for open spaces);  involving all level of library members so that multi-department staff collaborate.

These are just a few of the ideas shared that I was able to grab!  Thanks for a great two days all!

And my epiphany from today?  Several of our attendees were from a large international enterprise which has learning and innovation departments — the library is interested in perhaps building a space to enhance innovation and creativity in their organization.  Fantastic!  I was mentioning to them that the SF Airport just opened this kind of space.  I think this is an area to think about and start more conversations and perhaps next year we’ll have a program at KMWorld (where learning, knowledge sharing & transfer, as well as innovation are all hot topics!) or other events.