YALSA Snack Break: Creativity in Leadership

YALSA’s November webinar, Creativity in Leadership, was facilitated by three librarians in Montana – Rebekah Kamp, Heather Dickerson, and Cody Allen – who inspired attendees with strategies and examples of bringing innovative practices and leadership to services for and with teens. The November YALSA Snack Break is a five minute excerpt from this webinar. It focuses on how to make decisions about teen services activities, the importance of risk in teen services, and accepting and reframing failure. Check it out below:

You can view all of YALSA’s Snack Breaks by accessing the Snack Break playlist.

YALSA members have free access to all webinars (login required). Non-members can purchase webinars for a low cost.

Transforming Teen Services: Making in the Library While Learning to Fail

Makerspaces, making, and the maker movement have become frequent conversation topics among librarians. We’ve encouraged making in the library through programming focused on writing, drawing, designing, building, coding, and more. As informal learning and gathering spaces, libraries are by nature situated to invite collaboration and discovery. In many cases, making has been associated with makerspaces — independent spaces that provide tools, materials, and support to youth and adults with an interest in creating (Educause, 2013). Sometimes makerspaces are flexible, subscription-based environments, sometimes they are hosts to structured programs and classes with an attached fee. Some have a technology prominence with 3D printers and laser cutters, while others lend an artistic attention  by supplying sewing machines and design software (Moorefield-Lang, 2015). No two makerspaces are the same, just as no two makers are the same.

Source: http://www.clubcyberia.org/

I first became interested in library makerspaces while touring Chicago Public Library’s not yet open to the public Maker Lab and its already thriving YOU Media during ALA Annual 2013. I love the playful atmosphere of learning and opportunity for exploration that these spaces offer teens. Then I dug into some publications. There is a significant amount of research about how youth learn as a result of participation in making and makerspaces (Sheridan et al., 2014; Slatter & Howard, 2013). Likewise, there is a wealth of blog posts, magazine articles, social media blurbs, TED talks, etc. on makerspaces, STEM learning programs, and the maker mindset (Fallows, 2016; Teusch, 2013). It can be difficult to separate the hype from the substance, but there’s still much to explore, discuss, and figure out.

There are many positive aspects of youth involvement with making such as fostering inventiveness, introducing STEAM learning outside of the classroom, and promoting learning as play. But in this post, I will focus on (what I think are) two major benefits of youth making in libraries that may not be quite as obvious: cultivating a capacity to create and learning to fail.

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YALSA Excellence in Programming Award Part II: Teen Fashion Week at ImaginOn

A few months ago, I wrote about one of the YALSA Excellence in Programming Award recipients, Teen Fashion Apprentice at ImaginOn. ‘ This’ July, we hosted an entire week worth of fashion workshops — Fashion Week at ImaginOn — ‘ in preparation’ for a fashion show.

TFW2

The teens had explicit instructions for the creation of their fashion masterpieces:’  they must adhere to the theme, “Fashionably Ever After,” and their creations had to be made from 100%’ recycled materials. ‘ Both the literary or fairy tale theme and the challenges of working with unconventional materials lent itself to the creation of an extensive resource guide.’  Continue reading

30 Days of Innovation #15: Begin

We are creative people, we do a lot of creative things in our work, and we are subject to the kinds of fear and burnout that can come with being creative.’  How do you fight burnout? Take inspiration wherever you can get it.

I find a lot of inspiration in other people acknowledging the struggles and triumphs of creativity. One person who inspires me is Ze Frank, who I believe I once referred to as the father of modern video blogging.’  He had a successful Internet show, The Show with Ze Frank in 2006 and he is now, with the help of Kickstarter, returning to the Internet to start up a new show.

Ze says if you have an idea, you should just do it. Don’t worry about the skills or resources you might lack, just go for it. Because if you wait too long to get your idea out into the world, it becomes brain crack, an obsession with the perfect version of the idea that just gets more and more impossible to achieve.’  So fight brain crack, take the leap, put your ideas in motion, and don’t be afraid to fail.

His latest video, an Invocation for Beginnings is about just that.

Disclaimer: There is a bit of swearing in this video. (As there is often a bit of swearing in the creative process). I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily NSFW, but I also wouldn’t watch this on a public desk with the volume all the way up.

 

Wreck This App (of the Week)

Title: Wreck This App
Cost: 4.99
Platform: iOS, Android
(this review refers to the iOS version)

 

 

Based on Keri Smith’s Wreck This Journal, Wreck this App is a collection of activities designed to awaken creativity through the power of destruction. Don’t worry no iPhones were harmed in the process of writing this post. The destruction this app inspires might take the form of defacing a photo, repurposing text, or using the various drawing tools to smear ink, cut up an image, or scribble all over the page. Other times the activities are more wacky’  rather than actually destructive, designed to shake up your brain, like putting your fingers in your ears and touching your nose to cure hiccups. For example, you will be asked to draw a picture of something you dislike, connect a set of dots from memory,’  and make a collage of photos of stickers found on fruit. Continue reading

Poetry Programming – How and Why

So, you’re working hard to connect teens with poetry. You’ve tried the Dickens and the Frost and the Angelou and the entire 811 section. The teens are sitting there looking at you bored out of their mind.

Well, have you tried the Beat poets? They’re all about rebellion and individualism, two themes towards which teens will feel a natural affinity. Working with Urban Word NYC and the Precision Poetry Drill Team, The New York Public Library sponsored “Bring the Beat back” at the Bronx Library Center. Performing works from such an influential movement in literature, the members of the Precision Poetry Drill Team inspired several teens to get up and present their own creations at the end of the session. One of the most memorable moments was their adaptation of Alan Ginsberg’s famous “Howl,” which the group decided to perform on top of one of the tables in the Teen Center. If you check out the video link, you can see the opening lines from “Howl” on the scrolling marquee as well. Check out that video (and more):

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