creativity cont’d; update to director

I started my LCP because I wanted to see myself as a creative person again. Through taking courses on creativity and embarking on creative processes, I think I have found myself again! I’ve come to see everything I do as a creative process, whether it is cleaning my house, overseeing a project at work or making something.

When I hook a rug, I start with an idea, draw a picture, purchase yarn and go through the process of hooking a small area at a time, while keeping the bigger picture in mind. I’ve come to think of so much of what I do in the same way.

Here is my next rug. It’s based on my tattoo, which my sisters and niece all got in remembrance of our grandmother, who loved the song:

Rug hooking, round 2

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I also prepared this update for my Director on how I’m applying my LCP:

I am in the application phase right now and am working on 21st century collection development practices:

  • I will develop staff training for the collection analysis tools we have available to help librarians create collection development plans. I am working with Debbie Kaleva and Charmaine Borden right now (tapping into their LCP knowledge) to create a training plan for FirstSearch, Gobi, Midwest (our shelf-ready vendor platform) and  Library Bound (our Canadian vendor platform). We will be surveying our librarians on their collection development and evaluation best practices to include in the training plan.
  • I am working with database vendors to set up webinars which identify program-specific resources in our aggregate databases (Proquest and Gale have excellent subject experts). I plan to work with librarians to feature these resources in their program LibGuides. Over this summer I worked with Kara to develop an industry report tab in her Business guide, and this will be the model for other specific topics in programs.
  • I monitor resources outside the college which are useful to our students now and when they transition out, and I will work with librarians to feature these in their guides or offer webinars for staff where appropriate (as an example, I set up a webinar with the Canada Business Network last school year).
  • I will work on usage reports for e-resources and print resources to help our staff understand the information needs of our students and staff – last school year alone (Sept. 2017-Jun. 2018) we had over 18,000 ebooks and over 45,0000 journal articles downloaded.
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applying my learning – creative me

One of the biggest reasons I started my LCP was to get back to being a creative learner. I’ve taken courses on learning and being creative, and over the last three years I’ve learned to think of myself as a creative person again.

When I went to meet with my creativity mentor a year or so ago, this was the saying she had on her wall (a quote from Annie Dillard). It resonated with me, and I just started hooking rugs, so I thought I’d preserve the quote in yarn:

Rug hooking project

creature of creative habit

Today I met with one of my mentors and we discussed how as humans we are creatures of habit who will stay with what we know even if it isn’t ideal, rather than embark on change. My mentor discussed a creative course she’d taken and said that it helped her “remember what it’s like to set aside time to be lured into the unexpected”.

This made me stop and think that this has been what my LCP journey has been about. I haven’t learned to create a masterpiece or become a symphony musician, but I have learned to remember the joy of having the safe space in which I can learn.

My mentor also discussed the need for us, once we’ve made a choice, to act as if it is the right direction, to observe it as we live with it, and if we have to, we can stop, reconsider and go back to plan B. There is time.

“pretend you’re an “eccentric poet” instead of a “rigid librarian”!

 

Pillay, S. (2017, October 04). Your Brain Can Only Take So Much Focus. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2017/05/your-brain-can-only-take-so-much-focus

In an recent Harvard Business Review column,

Your Brain Can Only Take So Much Focus,

Srini Pillay discusses how excessive focus actually exhausts our brain, and instead we need to give the brain time to let neural connections form. Our “default mode network (dmn)” at rest uses 20% of our body’s energy, compared to 5% that effort requires. So, we actually do a lot of work when we are doing nothing!

Some things which the author suggests can help us be more creative and productive by helping us toggle between focus and unfocus are:

  1. Take a 10-minute nap.
  2. Pretend to be someone else (psychological halloweenism). He refers to a study: “In 2016, educational psychologists, Denis Dumas and Kevin Dunbar found that people who try to solve creative problems are more successful if they behave like an eccentric poet than a rigid librarian.” — I must try to not be a rigid librarian 🙂
  3. Use positive, constructive daydreaming.

writing

My creativity mentor recommended a 40-day writing course to me, and I am in day 35! It’s been a fascinating journey to unravel and recreate myself as a writer, and it has revealed something in me that I didn’t expect. So, here I go, a Shakespearean sonnet about the place I love the most:

Chéverie, My Love

What mys’try do you hide within your walls

What story will you tell when layers lift

What ghosts will beckon when my spirit calls

What words upon my page be cast adrift?

 

The ocean breezes come and go at will

New tides each day cast stories at my feet

The eagle sits upon a branch, so still

Within the space where tide and time do meet

 

You’ve seen them come and go, so many loves

Fair-footed, feathered, differently attired

Birds of the air, fleet foxes, sweet young wives

You’ve witnessed through the years and much admired

 

And ‘neath the faded paper of your world

The story of your life to me unfurls.

learning success – a reflection on my asl course

I did it. I completed my first American Sign Language course. This may have been one of the biggest and most enjoyable challenges of my life. The class was mixed in ages, and my brain definitely did not work as well as those of the younger students in the class, so I had to work harder. That was a new experience for me. I’m used to being one of the first in the class to “get it” and this was humbling.

It was fascinating to be in a class with a deaf instructor. In order to communicate with her, I had no choice but to learn the language; it wasn’t like my French class where I could ask the instructor things in English if I didn’t have the French words. I appreciated the peace in the classroom (no one talked aloud) and I now think that all students should learn some basic sign language in elementary school. Otherwise, for those whose only language is ASL, the world is very closed, and for the rest of us we miss the opportunity to communicate with these people.

Of all the diversity training I’ve taken over the years, I think this course demonstrated to me best of all why our world is a better place when we have diverse workplaces, when many voices are able to be represented in our social structures.

And I got a pretty good grade:

ASL

creative writing

My creativity mentor, Kathleen, sent me some information about a 40-day writing program, https://www.reneehartleib.ca/40-day-writing-project

I’ve been following James Clear, who was also recommended to me by Kathleen, and a recent email I received discusses continuous improvement. In this post, Clear says:

“If you get one percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done.”

Small steps. I just convinced myself to sign up for the 40 day writing project, starting in June!