Working in a public library requires a few skills not learned in library school and often overseen in the MLS program (Master in Library Science), like creating displays and programs promoting library materials and services. In children’s department especially, being creative is a must! Library staff make props for storytime, displays to attract patrons attention and programs to bring in new patrons.
I think public libraries need to hire more creative people (artists, musicians, designers…) to help breach the gap between what is expected of their staff and build on their skills. I also believe that once hired, creative people need to have some freedom in their creative process.
As I was browsing Pinterest, I found Rachel Moani who works in the Timberland Regional Library system in Washington state. She does art programs, library programs, collaboration work, displays… which are all very creative! I found her blog through her Pinterest boards. She has so many great ideas that fosters creativity in children in a library setting.
Rachel Moani’s Display
As a creative person working in a public library, I am fortunate enough to be allowed to be creative on so many different levels. I can draw, paint, sculpt, craft and teach art in one place. I’m praised and valued for the work I do.
Props for the song “Down by the Bay” from Raffi
Mr. Josh, who works with me, has a series of music programs for children, called Music Club. He invites local bands to come in a perform for our young patrons as well as talk about their instruments and let the children try them. Here’s a link to a video of After the Bomb Baby! who performed last summer.
Mr. Josh also teaches guitar lessons for children ages 9 to 14, as well as host a very popular storytime called Toddler Power Hour which focuses on music and movement. He is part of a group of library people who brought in a zine collection in the Jacksonville Public Library and has started a zine writing program for children ages 8 to 12.