Megan Lotts, Art Librarian (Librarian II), Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, will be speaking as part of the Gloriana St. Clair Distinguished Lecture in 21st Century Librarianship. Distinguished lectures in 21st century librarianship are named in honor of Gloriana St. Clair, dean of libraries emerita, who served as dean of Carnegie Mellon University Libraries from 1998 to 2013.
Title: The Engaged Librarian: Fostering a Culture of Creativity and Play in Libraries
Abstract: In the 21st century there is a constant rise in library patron needs and expectations. As dwindling budgets and fewer 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 that 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.
About the speaker: Megan Lotts is the Art Librarian at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, where she teaches research workshops, builds collections, facilitates programming and events, and closely engages with students and faculty researching in the Arts. Lotts has presented her research both nationally and internationally and has published articles in portal: the Libraries in Academia, Art Documentation, Journal of Library Administration, and College and Research Libraries News; she is currently working on a book for the American Libraries Association focusing on creativity and play in libraries. Lotts research interests include creativity, outreach and engagement, makerspaces, play, and the work of library liaisons. She is known for her work implementing LEGOâ play, a culture of creativity, and curating the exhibition spaces at the Rutgers University Art Library, as well as teaching a semester long seminar Playing to Learn in Higher Education. Megan earned her MFA (2004) and MLIS (2007) from University of Wisconsin-Madison and has a BFA in Painting (2000) and BFA in Art History (2002) from the University of Illinois- Champaign-Urbana. She currently lives in New Brunswick, New Jersey and continues to create site-specific conceptual works of art.