Learning is the constant disruption of an old pattern, a breakthrough that substitutes something new for something old. And the the process begins again.
– Cathy N. Davidson , Now You See It
I have pondered this quote for a few months now. It reminds me that as our habits of living, communicating and engaging have changed, of course, so have the ways we learn. Indeed, we learn how we live.
Find out a little more about the fascinatingly practical approach Cathy Davidson takes to learning, unlearning and to conceptualizing a new approach to living, collaborating and dealing with our world of disruptions and learning moments in this article “…Fixing the Future of Distraction.”
As we prepare for Boulder Library’s Learn-And-Play Staff Day coming up on Friday, you can imagine my delight when I read this headline in the local paper this morning: Boulder school’s art class encourages students to ‘break the rules’ . On Friday, we’ll be learning more about taking risks to create incredible experiences both for our community and our staff. I thrill at seeing the acknowledgement that there are many more ways to learn and grow beyond the “classroom model.” Here’s to taking risks, learning, daring together!
In the past several weeks, as I’ve worked with staff to plan Boulder Public Library’s first-ever Staff Learn-and-Play Day, I have to say I’ve learned a lot myself. I have learned that often, as adults, we seek permission to play–even when the play will result in new learning, creating stronger teams or more innovative results. I am a real believer that we all learn in different ways at different times in our lives. I have come to the idea that perhaps the best way to “make space” for many learning styles is approaching it through the portal of play. I’ve often said that play takes the pressure off and allows us to explore possibilities. Play can also manifest itself in more Zen-like ways: allowing ourselves to sit and absorb new thoughts that challenge the norms or allowing ourselves the chance to scratch our heads and reflect before heading into decision making mode. I think that allowing ourselves the freedom to play with ideas and different ways of expression and learning allows us to ultimately know more about ourselves. And how important and powerful is that? I was recently rather seriously questioned on why I wanted to include the word “play” in Boulder Public Library’s Staff “Learn & Play Day.” I have to admit that I have run in circles-of-like-understanding on this matter for so long that I had to shake myself slightly to understand why this question would surface. Then I realized that the good word is not completely on the street. Play perhaps still connotes “goofing off.” I forgot some people still think that way, honestly. We adults are still being encouraged to show up with agendas in hand, ready for the worst case scenarios. This is not my approach nor do I want it to be. The word play has a sense of freedom and independence to it. Freedom and independence lead to discovery. Discovery to learning. And so this is how my planning and envisioning for Learn-and-Play Day 2008 is evolving. I’m happy to say that Helene Blowers, library innovator and play-supporter, will be joining us to offer her spin on the importance and meaningfulness of play. We’ve also planned for a few surprises and delights on this day. Let the play–and learning–begin!
Today was a sizzling, sweet and meaningful day at the Public Library. Not only was it the kick-off for all our summer reading programs, the christening of a Book House at Morrison Regional Library, all branches buzzing with kids of all ages fresh out for the summer…we also unveiled a beautiful mural at South County Regional Library. The mural has been a bit of a personal quest of mine for a couple of years. This bright and dreamy piece of artwork by artist Brandon Reese (you have to check out his web site!) fills what has been a large blank white wall in the most active regional branch of PLCMC. The concept behind the mural? Always learning, through all the senses, through all the seasons. I adore what Brandon has created.
There is another special component to this mural. It is dedicated to learners of all ages as well as a very important person in the lives of so many librarians throughout PLCMC and the whole country. Gayle Libberton. Gayle (she is the blonde woman standing beside Derya from South County) was the Children’s Services Manager who opened South County Regional Library. She has also encouraged, supported and mentored dozens and dozens of library staff members to advance their careers, further their education and stay inspired in libaries. (BTW: Gayle was the person who first hired me in PLCMC). Thank you, Gayle!
As a special treat, I asked Brandon Reese to hide several G’s and L’s throughout the mural. There are 10 in all! If you come by South County Regional, you have to hunt for them. I think you’ll find the subtle yet colorful mural relaxing and joyful! Here’s to learning and libraries!