Wowie Zowie! I’m Blushing!!!

Words can’t properly convey how honored I am to have been chosen to participate in the upcoming national forum on Design Thinking & IMLS.

From the IMLS Website:

Syracuse University School of Information Studies and the University of Washington Information School will hold a National Forum on design thinking and methods in master’s level library education. The Forum will address: identifying gaps in existing MLIS curricula; exploring approaches for incorporating design thinking in master’s level library education, and offering actionable recommendations for this incorporation. The project will consist of three phases: 1) a field scan of design topics in MLIS curricula; 2) a meeting of educators, library employers, and design professionals; and 3) production of sample syllabi.

Syracuse University’s Rachel Ivy Clarke recently invited me to take part in phase two of this IMLS granted program. What is phase two, you ask?

2) A national forum on design in master’s level library education. The forum will include 12-15 participants comprised of educators from ALA-accredited programs and design schools, library employers, and design professionals. Participants will meet for 2 days in Seattle to review and discuss the results of the field scan, identify aspects of design education relevant to MLIS education, share professional experiences, and brainstorm curricular approaches. Participants will be invited based on identification from the field scan and/or notable identification with design thinking in libraries.

Here’s what this means…  I’m one of those 12-15 participants. Most likely I’m in the “Design professional” category since I know I’m none of those other things.

Here’s what this really means… I’m gonna’ get to sit in a room with some of the most progressive individuals in my field and nerd out for TWO WHOLE DAYS over my passion for Design Thinking! I haven’t been this excited since landing my internship with Dokk1!!! (Yes, I know I owe you all a blog post on that experience. I swear, it is coming…) I’ll have the opportunity to be a voice at a table where we discuss how to help our future library leaders through practices that I believe so strongly in.

Yes, me, the kid who repeatedly got stuck in her own swing set. (Who knew experimenting with user access was rooted so deeply inside me?)

Me, the teen who got lost in Yucatan City, Mexico with some friends and spoke almost no Spanish. (I really had Please, Bathroom, and Water down though…)

Me, the non-librarian who finally ponied up and got her Master’s Degree but secretly enjoys fooling people by omitting the Library part, telling strangers I have a Master’s in Information Studies just to see how they react. (Will I ever find a way to experiment with frame of reference that doesn’t tickle me? I hope not…)

Want to check out the proposal? Take a peek here!




By the way, it would be pretty irresponsible of me not to mention that our current administration has proposed a budget that threatens to slash funding to IMLS. You can contact your representatives here and encourage them not to cut our funding.  The work that we who work in libraries and museums do carries a lot of weight for our underserved populations. This opportunity to assist in the future of library leaders is going to engage and uplift people but that takes time. We believe in you and all we can accomplish together. Please share your voice and show that you believe in us too!



A Chat with Stacie Ledden – Director of Innovation and Brand Strategy for Anythink Libraries

Stacie is rad. SUPER rad. I met Stacie last year at Public Library Association (PLA) and we got jazzed on the oddball things we were both creating at our libraries. Soon after we became Facebook and twitter buddies where I learned more about the amazing initiatives she’s involved in which include Outside the Lines ( – #getOTL) and being one of the minds behind R-Squared – The Risk + Reward Conference ( Seriously, this woman is a prime example of why people from the non-library world NEED to be involved in what we’re all trying to create.


Over the course of our interview (or should I refer to it as more of a conversation which occasionally reached fevered pitches?) we discussed a lot of big ideas.

First we tackled what people in Youth Departments can bring to a leadership role. Her thoughts? Youth librarians have the ability to add whimsy, color, and opportunities for all ages to learn through play. Anythink Director Pam Sandlian Smith was once a youth librarian and during a  visit last year from Rebecca Miller, editor of SLJ, Rebecca remarked that Pam had basically turned the whole place into a children’s library. Stacie found that exciting and believes these opportunities for libraries to capture the attention of adults using methods youth librarians already apply – color, marketing, and attention – have the ability to focus on our audiences in a way they aren’t used to receiving. That attention will make youth librarians valuable voices at a leadership table and will keep our public involved in a dialogue we need to stay relevant. She believes we can’t simply rely on the fact that people love us forever, we need to involve them.

We also threw around the idea of not viewing failure as failure. That each experience, be it good or bad, is always an opportunity. Being in a position of innovation she gets asked a lot about failure and never feels she’s giving the answer people are looking for. My question is are we looking for stories of failure to learn how to weather our own? If so, when is moving forward not the answer to encountering failure? We both agree what is important is to recognize the quiet failures, our dying or dead ideas and to throw them away. Holding onto them is maybe the only true form of failure.

There’s far more to our conversation and to Stacie than could ever be captured in 500 words. She’s someone I feel a deep commune with. A fellow library outsider who loves the driving force of libraries and has always been a librarian. We have no piece of paper to prove it, but it drives us from the most deep down punk rock place. It is the only way to stay hardcore and facilitate change from within a system. The best way to create change by actually embodying the change. Becoming the system instead of railing against it.