Sometimes, school life and library life overlap. Sometimes they don’t. Often I read the posts of my public library friends and find myself nodding my head and then I read the posts of many school librarians and my experience doesn’t mesh with theirs. There are two hot topics that are happening right now in both the arenas of education and libraries and we should definitely be expanding our thinking and reading outside of the library and the school publications proper.
Makerspaces. Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past 3-5 years, you’ve been reading about, learning about, or implementing some aspect of making whether you are in a school, a school library or a public library. I know that as children’s librarians we have been participating in maker culture for years, but the new focus really is more than a rebranding. The blending of digital and analog, the open ended and problem solving nature of presenting students and patrons with possibilities instead of directions are both different from some of the making that we were doing early in my career as a youth services librarian.
Design Thinking. I recently participated in my own school’s Innovation Institute which brought together members of the faculty to use design thinking to solve a problem or create something new to share with our faculty and students. The Gates Foundation and IDEO have created a Design Thinking Toolkit for Libraries. While this way of thinking and problem solving is definitely taxing on the brain, it does tend to lead to innovation. We are always telling our students to take risks in their learning, and as librarians we should be willing to take some risks in ours as well.
The following are some links from the education world that easily lend themselves to library environments.
Edutopia – Design Thinking
Maker Ed – Projects and Learning Approaches
Teacher Librarian – The Philosophy of Educational Makerspacea
Knowledge without Borders – Design Thinking for Kids
I’d love to hear back from librarians who have successfully used design thinking either with colleagues or kids. Also, feel free to drop your favorite maker link into the comments!