Making Change: Transformation and Creativity in Libraries

June 13, 2013, 9:00-3:00
DCU Center
50 Foster Street, Worcester, Massachusetts

Session audio & presenter slides HERE.

Changing before our eyes: our customers, their reading habits and their needs. How we respond will transform our libraries’ futures.   Many libraries meet the challenge of change by embracing the creative community in traditional or up-to-the-moment ways.

Join us for a daylong event that will transform and inspire as well as provide some outstanding models for embedding creativity in your library.


9:00   Registration

9:30   Report from MLS (Greg Pronevitz, Executive Director)

10:00  Morning Keynote:  Reinvention of Libraries  – Lee Rainie, Director of Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project
Lee Rainie will present the Project’s latest findings about the changing role of libraries and patrons’ interest in new services. He will also describe Project research into the way people use mobile devices and social media.


Making and Learning in the Library -Bill Derry, Assistant Director, Innovation and User Experience, Westport Public Library (More details below)

LABRARY Road Show -Jeff Goldenson,Designer, Harvard Library Innovation Lab
Is it a circus?  Is it a fair?  Whatever it is, it’s LABRARY Road Show, where risk, play and design create a different kind of library. One hour only! (More details below)

12:00  Lunch


How to Make a Makerspace –  Gui Cavalcanti, Founder, Artisan’s Asylum Inc. (More details below)

Concurrent tabletalks

2:00 – Closing Keynote:  Ping Fu, co-founder, Geomagic, and author of Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds(More details below)

3:00  Author signing  (only checks can be accepted)

This full day event is free of charge, but advance registration is required. Member library staff in all roles and departments should attend.

Morning coffee and lunch are included and free parking will be available at the Major Taylor Parking Garage only.

To register, click here. 

Program Descriptions

Making and Learning in the Library -Bill Derry, Assistant Director, Innovation and User Experience
Connecticut’s Westport Library created a MakerSpace in July of 2012. The MakerSpace is more than a place in the Library, more than the 3D printers and other machines in it — it represents the democratization of production and the movement toward repairing, creating and inventing. This presentation will detail the planning, implementation and evolution of the MakerSpace and its impact on programs, services and participatory learning.

This past fall, the Library Test Kitchen seminar transformed a vacant storefront in Harvard Square into LABRARY, a pop-up library experiment. Thee Library Test Kitchen is an advanced Harvard Graduate School of Design course created to give students the opportunity to prototype new library products, services and environments. Free and open to the public, LABRARY was designed, built and run by students and staff from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design exploring the future of libraries. A lot happened. Stuff was made, talks were given and drop-ins welcomed. Slowly, a community of it’s own began to form. The Road Show’s coming to town to peddle our discoveries. Student projects that struck a chord, pointers for creative spaces, tips on encouraging fun and risk taking.
Have you ever heard a bench that sings? Read a literary mix-tape? Zoned out in an 10ft mylar inflatable? No you say? Well then LABRARY Road Show’s for you!

How to make a Makerspace
Artisan’s Asylum is a non-profit makerspace and community workshop in Somerville, Massachusetts. We offer membership-based access to high-end manufacturing equipment, personal studio space, and a large vocational education program. In 3 years, we’ve expanded from 1,000 to 40,000 square feet, gone from 2 members to 270 members a month, and have taught more than 3,000 unique students vocational skills. Our members have used our facilities to attract more than $3M in venture capital funding, $3M in crowd funding, and have increased the number of manufacturing businesses in Somerville by 50%. We would like to open-source our model, and encourage organizations and institutions across the country to adopt tenets of the our plan as a model for economic and community development.

Gui Cavalcanti is a robotics engineer who specializes in high-performance, legged robot systems. He founded Artisan’s Asylum as a hobby in May of 2010 after looking for a public space in which he could build robots in his spare time and coming up short; since then, the Asylum has blossomed into a non-profit, manufacturing-focused cultural center in the City of Somerville


Tabletalk Sessions

Allies in the Arts: How a Culture of Partnership Can Pay Off in Unexpected Way – Amanda Rust, Asst. Dept. Head for Arts & Humanities
In March of 2011 the Northeastern University Libraries hosted a hands-on bookmaking workshop in the library led by artist and educator Deborah Davidson, to “introduce students to a simple book that is filled with endless possibilities.” Within thirty minutes participants created art books – using materials generously provided by the artist — that they could take home and keep. Students involved in academic research can be singularly focused on Google and the electronic journal article, so we were thrilled to give students a chance to slow down, explore the book as an artistic form, and create their own work. Plus, our library lobby is one of the most central and busy spots on campus, and walkers-by were attracted by the color and hubbub of the event. Finally, it is worth noting that we were invited to participate in this event after a concerted effort to create new partnerships around campus – slow and steady work in scanning the campus environment for collaborators and providing space and marketing services to partners led to several opportunities to support creative work on campus. Time and money are limited in almost every library, and tapping into existing groups and centers on campus has really helped us target our resources.

Art Activists & Making a Library MakerspaceMelissa S. Robinson, Teen Librarian
Melissa Robinson will share information on the Art Activists club she runs for teens to encourage them to use their creativity to become civically engaged in their community and the world. She will also discuss the Peabody Institute Library’s efforts to design a community makerspace in the library to give people a place, tools and learning opportunities to create their own digital and physical projects.

An Art Atelier is Born – Anne Berard, Reference & Outreach Services Librarian
Since 2009, the Milford Town Library has welcomed an oil painting group that meets regularly on Friday mornings from 10am to 12 noon in the ESL Classroom at the library. This group, led by instructor Salvadore Ferreira, originally migrated from the senior center and adds a small number of new members each spring and fall. The purpose of the group is to provide an open, encouraging environment where artists create, not compete with one another. Each fall, an exhibit of works created that season is held. The atelier has inspired the library to feature a different artist’s work each month and has helped cultivate an appreciation and an outlet for local artists.


The Beehive: an Adult Makerspace – Emily Classon, Community Services Librarian
Memorial Hall Library’s adult makerspace, The Beehive, will host a variety of drop-in activities focused on art, writing, and other hands-on projects. Responding to community interest, this project allows us to offer more group based programming in a new alcove area that will not require the use of our limited meeting rooms. The Beehive will also encourage library visitors to interact with local artists and authors. Artists will demonstrate their craft in 2-hour sessions while answering questions. Local authors will discuss their writing process along with signing books. Other events planned for The Beehive include game days, couponing, write-ins, photo clubs, craft projects, and more. Library staff will offer demonstrations of their hobbies to encourage new interactions with library visitors. The Beehive will be a place for adults to gather, meet, share, learn, and try. Andover’s adults will “bee busy” with a variety of new activities in The Beehive.

Community Curators: Using the Community to Create Exhibit – Nancy Cole, Education Director
Using the local history collections in the library/archives at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum as a spring board, a high school history class involved the community to gather more information and primary sources to create an exhibit at the museum. The exhibit, “Playing Together: High School Sport Since Regionalization” used photos, newspaper articles and oral history excerpts to present the story. This process is one that is flexible enough to be used in all sorts of libraries, on all sorts of topics, with different communities.

Creating Spaces That WorkNancy Sheehan, Head of Youth Services
Video game creation. Toddler play space. Video game lounge. Computer art class. Libraries offer all sorts of programs to a wide array of patrons. See how adding equipment (both expensive and cheap), computer peripherals, and furnishings transform spaces and enhance creative spark.


Digital Commonwealth: Two projects
Building online collections on a shoestring budget using Flickr – Molly Stothert-Maurer, Processing Archivist
My perspective is of a small archive building online collections on a shoestring budget using Flickr as a platform. The project started less than two years ago with about 1.5 full time staff members. Now there are over 3,000 public images and we are averaging almost 500 hits per day (mostly due to our Helen Keller collections). Link:

The collections that came directly from the Digital Commonwealth project are:

Put Our Best Face Forward: how the Worcester Public Library streamlines social media for online advocacy – Priya Subramanian, Reference Librarian, Worcester Public Library
With our presentation, we hope to demonstrate how Worcester Public Library is using social media in an innovative way. We are using these cost-effective (free!) tools to connect patrons to library resources and services. Although we maintain a variety of media, Facebook is our gateway to all social media. We recognize that advertising frequently results in flattening of information. By using Facebook as our focal point, we prevent duplication of postings and streamline information retrieval to provide one clear message. With social media, we use technology to keep the library relevant and to inform, enlighten, and enrich our diverse community.
The Kids Are Driving the Library; the Librarians Just Steer!Donna Johns, Library Teacher
It’s a scary thing to hand most control for your library’s book selection, displays, and programming to a bunch of rambunctious teens. But when we did, the results were amazing. We’ve got a book collection with sky high circulation, displays that sell books in new and novel ways and teen-centric programs like our ongoing classes in how to survive the zombie apocalypse, taught entirely by students (with a little guidance from us) and computer lessons for senor citizens taught by our students. Every day 1600-1800 students crowd into our space to see what’s new and to share with us what else they want us to do.

Picture This! Bridging Arts And Literacy Rosemary Agoglia, Director of Education
Learn about The Carle’s innovative museum-school partnership designed to use picture books to help build bridges between the arts and literacy for young learners. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is a visionary institution committed to opening artistic eyes, feeding imaginations, and honing our ability to make meaning of what we see. See how this program helped students build confidence in their ability to appreciate and enjoy art of every kind, encourage creative expression, and develop critical and creative thinking skills.


The Public Library as a Site for Public MemoryPaula Bonetti, Director and Dan Borelli, Artist and Director of Exhibitions
In an unmarked room in the center of the historical foyer of the Ashland Public Library is a set of bookshelves that contain the EPA’s documents of remediation of the nearby Nyanza Superfund Site. This collection is the first Field Repository of the EPA’s Superfund program, from which they launched a mandatory initiative that every Superfund site have a repository of information at the local Public Library. Today there are over 1,300 Field Repositories throughout the U.S. Dan’s project titled ‘The Cloud of Unknowing: Our Future is Our History’, explores the relationship between the informational structure of this Field Repository and will populate the remediation documents of contaminants with testimonials from people and families that were contaminated.

Closing Keynote: Ping Fu, co-founder
Ping Fu knows what it’s like to be a pioneering software programmer, an innovator, a CEO, and Inc. magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year. To be a friend and mentor to some of the best-known names in technology. To build some of the coolest new products in the world. To give speeches that inspire huge crowds. To meet and advise the President of the United States.

Born on the eve of China’s Cultural Revolution, Ping was separated from her family at the age of eight. She grew up fighting hunger and humiliation and shielding her younger sister from the teenagers in Mao’s Red Guard. At twenty-five, she found her way to the United States; her only resources were $80 in traveler’s checks and three phrases of English: thank you, hello, and help.

Yet Ping persevered, and the hard-won lessons of her childhood guided her to success in her new homeland. Aided by her well-honed survival instincts, a few good friends, and the kindness of strangers, she grew into someone she never thought she’d be—a strong, independent, entrepreneurial leader. A love of problem solving led her to computer science, and Ping became part of the team that created NCSA Mosaic, which became Netscape, the Web browser that forever changed how we access information. She then started a company, Geomagic, that has literally reshaped the world, from personalizing prosthetic limbs to repairing NASA spaceships.

Ping’s story is an account of her journey from imprisonment to freedom, and from the dogmatic anticapitalism of Mao’s China to the high-stakes, take-no-prisoners world of technology start-ups in the United States. Her courage in the face of cruelty is unmatched and provides a valuable lesson on the enduring power of resilience.


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