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Arrived at the Doubletree at Oak Brook, IL this morning after a bit of R&R with my sister including an outstanding Comedy of Errors at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre….but now it’s two days of Library Instruction ideas.
LOEX, for those who don’t know, used to stand for Library Orientation Exchange….now it’s more of an acronym (think OCLC) for an organization and an annual conference on instruction and information literacy in libraries. After a good breakfast, we had a wonderful opening speaker, Laurel Orfstein, an instructor in the Loyola MBA school with an emphasis on creativity in business and decision making. The presentation was wonderful and thought provoking – here are the high points…..

  • 82% of White Collar workers collaborate on a daily basis
  • People don’t REALLY love new ideas – they tend to fall back on old one — the promise of new outcomes rarely outweighs the comfort of old processes….
  • Roadblocks to new ideas can come from indifference, outright rejection or killer phrases like ‘It’s not in the budget,” “We tried that before….” “get a committee to look into that” and my favorite ‘But we’ve always done it this way’
  • Idea shortages in organizations are often self-inflicted
  • Creative approaches to Collaboration….
    • Be open to possibilities
    • Include Different Viewpoints
    • Start with WILD ideas
  • Cultures that foster new ideas include
    • Challenge and Involvement: Meaningfulness vs. Disengagement — to what degree are people personally involved in teh business of and in the success of the organization?
    • Freedom – Autonomy vs. Strict Guidelines: to what degree do people have the autonomy to define much of their own work toward the common objective?
    • Idea Time – Slack vs. Tightness: To what degree do people take time to consider suggestions that are not part of their assignment?
    • Idea Support – Resources vs. automatic no: To what degree are new ideas greeted with affirming encouragement as opposed to judgments?
    • Degree of Conflict — Tension vs. Acceptance: To what degree do people engage in departmental ‘warfare’ of spend effort to ‘best’ their internal competitors
    • Discussion – Participative vs. Authoritarian — To what degree do people engage in lively discussion about the issues as aopposed to discussing each other?
    • Humor & Play — Spontaneity vs. Gravity — To what degree do people feel relaxed and are willing to express humor and tell jokes at work?
    • Trust and Openness — Being Frank vs. Suspicious: To what degree do people willing put forward their ideas and opinions?
    • Risk-Taking — Trying things vs. Being Cautious and Hesitant:To what degree do people feel supported to take a gamble when there is ambiguity?
  • To encourage creative thinking focus on dreaming of an ideal tomorrow — instead of starting where you are and going forward — start with where you want to be and work out the steps backward from there.
  • Ask “Wouldn’t it be nice if…..” to spark creative thinking about change instead of focusing on what you want to change.

We then did an interesting exercise where everyone at our tables wrote three statements about the future of an information literacy program beginning with the phrase “Wouldn’t it be nice if…” then we gathered our responses together and read them outloud. Common themes emerged at our table:

  • Need for appropriate instruction spaces
  • frustration at faculty
  • Desire to meet the students where they are
  • Keeping students engaged

All in all it was a very interesting session that gave me some good ideas for analyzing where we are in the LIB100/LIB200 arena and also where we are in the one-shot library instruction space.