I is for…Innovation

…Bet you thought I was going to say iPad.

If you have been following for a while then you already know I am a big fan of innovation and imagination. I have used digital storytelling in my library programs and I am still trying to think of ways to excuse bringing the iPad to work. –Well, this one gives me an excuse for bringing the droid.

The first time I heard about QR codes, I think it was through Woman’s Day or Entertainment Weekly. All I can really remember was that it was a magazine left on the staff table. I downloaded the app and tried to scan the codes in the magazine. Needless to say it didn’t really work , but I think it might have been the start of the issues with the Blackberry.

The Daring Librarian had a great post last week about using QR codes in her library as a scavenger hunt and though I am eager to try it, I am not so eager to hand my phone over to the teens. (Let us just say that I know a former Teen Camp Counselor who did something similar and he still gets text messages to this day from former camp members who “added” him while they had access to his phone. Yeah, so not happening.) I do applaud the idea and if I thought that my library’s socio-economic area meant that every teen had a smart phone let alone a cell phone, I might even try it. –Yes, it is a misnomer that every teen has a cell phone, though I admit it does seem that way.

BTW know what I am going to do tonight? Yup, I am going to download a QR code scanner app to my phone. Who knows maybe I will change my mind about doing a program. While hands on programs are the best, there are sometimes ways around it. Very much a thinking out of the box ideology.

I welcome innovative thinking and new ideas and suggestions. I especially love hearing from other librarians. If you have a suggestion for a program, new tech activity, etc; I would love to hear about it.

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F is for Fireworks!

Katy Perry’s Firework-A Capella Cover-Mike Tompkins- Beatbox by YouTube user pbpproductions

The human brain is the greatest tool we have at our disposal. One spark of creativity can ignight into something beyond our imaginations. Even small ideas can lead to huge results.

Two library blogs that I recommend you follow are Gwenyth Jones’ The Daring Librarian and Buffy Hamilton’s The Unquiet Librarian . These two librarians both work in schools, but they are an inspiration even to this public librarian. Both also happen to have been listed as two of Library Journal’s 2011 Movers and Shakers. They are innovators, change makers, and yes, fireworks. They do these things because they love it. They are library superheroes!

Who are your heroes? Who do you admire? Who do you emulate to be? Challenge yourself to be an innovator and catalyst for change.

I could do that!

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=notquitsupe-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=159030912X&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrHave you ever walked by a display of those hand-carved toys at Target and done a double take at the price? Yeah, we have all been there, done that, and yet we still dish out the money for the kitschy homespun look of those simple wooden carved or embroidered pillows toys. Why do we do that?

Now I will admit that my family is not 100% green, but we do recycle and I always try to reuse/re-purpose for the crafts that I hold at my library. In fact, just yesterday, my son raided the cardboard recycling bin in our kitchen for the empty Big Box Store cereal boxes and disappeared in his room to promptly come out wearing a cereal box mask and proclaiming himself to be a robot. Is there anything more precious than the imagination of a five year old who would rather play with a box than the multitude of electronic devices his parents provide for him?

Game stations, computers, and such are great, but they can be mind-numbing which every child who has proclaimed “I am bored! There is nothing to do here!” can attest to–even while they are surrounded by high-tech or expensive name-brand toys. That is why I love Joel Henriques’ book Made to Play!: Handmade Toys and Crafts for Growing Imaginations. The ideas are so simple that you will be inspired to come up with your own homespun toys to keep the kids entertained. The directions are easy to follow and the crafts are really simple. Great project for a Sunday afternoon! Need more inspiration than those contained in the pages of the book?

Well, there is a blog for that! Joel Henriques is also the brain behind the website Made by Joel. Simple pictures and illustrations detail the steps for creating your own projects that are just as fun to play with as they are good to look at.

This book is due to be published in October 2011, make sure you pre-order your copy today. You won’t be disappointed.