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Join the June Design Challenge

June 6, 2011 in June Design Challenge

Tell a Story.

Create a visual narrative that brings one of the nine taglines from the May Design Challenge slideshow to life.

A movie. A Keynote. A screencast. A sketch. A collage. A Powerpoint. An animation. A comic.

However YOU tell a story visually.

In 30 seconds or less, capture the spirit, attitude and the vision of your favorite tagline for the Future of K12 Libraries.

Submit by midnight EST on June 25, 2011.

Initial review and judging will take place June 26th – 27th to select a shortlist of 10. The shortlist will be published at Next Chapter website in the Design Challenge section and the community of participants will be asked to vote for the top three. Final selection will be June 30th. All of the submittal will be archived and shared with the community.

Ways to Submit
Add your Vimeo or YouTube video link to a comment below.
Add your Flickr, Sribd, SlideShare link in a comment below.
Publish a blog post on your own site and share with a link in a comment below.

Or upload a file with the button below the comment form, once you select your file in the file browser and it goes back to the post wait a couple seconds and it will insert a link into the comment form, then just click Submit for the comment.

Have fun and inspire!

Three Challenges

April 25, 2011 in Blog, Design, Events, Library

During our initial Next Chapter meeting in Atlanta on April 1-2, leaders from around the country came together to explore the future of the library. On a beautiful spring day, we worked to tackle this issue by exploring three different challenges:

  • Embracing a rapid-fire introduction to design thinking.
  • Answering the question: What is the future of learning?
  • Answering the question: What is the future of the library?

The three scenarios opened eyes to the power of design, challenged our preconceptions, all while creating a connection between peers.

Design Challenge

Jeff Sharpe, Trung Le, and Sarah Malin started the morning by introducing the power of design. As a group we went through a “Guerilla Design Challenge”

We were introduced to the rules of design and asked to provide verbs that describe the library:

From there, we developed a list of nouns and from those nouns split into groups and developed ideas around one of the nouns that spoke to us. From that list of nouns, each group decided upon a theme and built an experience or improved a place based upon that theme.

Our three groups came up with ideas that ranged from a dining club, to a mobile studio, to improving the sense of community in an airport.

The Future of Learning

Lucy Grey, David Jakes, and Andrea Andrea Saveri then led us through a chance to explore the future of learning.

Similar to our design experience, we defined terms and ideas around what some futures we see:

Future of the Library

We ended the day with a session led by Joyce Valenza, Buffy Hamilton, and Helene Blowers.

Thee three visionary librarians helped us focus on what was missing in the library and some of the attributes that we believed to be vital to the library’s success in the future.

The conversation was a powerful one that led to a great debate around the degree to which we should reimagine the library and if there were certain “sacred cows” that we embraced and were reluctant to release.

While there was debate, that is the beauty of the design process.

If we all agreed upon what should be created we would not push the boundaries and truly envision something unique and transformative.

In the end, the three challenges pushed us to rethink how we worked with one another and created ideas and approaches that would not have come by thinking within our comfort zones. If we are to truly reimagine the next chapter of the library, it will take a willingness to let go of our sacred cows, let go of our biases, and embrace ideas and approaches that may seems completely foreign.

If we are able to do that, we have the chance to create some powerful visions of what the library can be in the future.

Photo credit: Laura Deisley, Christian Long, and David Bill

April in Atlanta

April 24, 2011 in Blog, Events, Library

“Next Chapter”, the first installment of the Reimagine : ED program, kicked off at the Lovett School in Atlanta, Georgia on the first weekend of April, 2011.

That weekend brought together thought leaders from across the country to connect and imagine the future of the library. The weekend represented two components connection and inspiration. Both were vital to create an environment that would allow us to push the envelope as  we began to envision the future of the library.


In an effort to create a degree of comfort and connection between our attendees, in which many were meeting for the first time, we started the weekend with a dinner. The goal of our evening was to connect and create a level of comfort between the attendees so that when they would meet the following morning there was already a personal relationship and degree of comfort, which as we would see is vital to embracing transformative change.

The dinner party itself took on a different feel. To begin, while sitting down to some of the best barbecue in Atlanta, we used several prompts to help the generate conversation that would create more of a personal connection between the participants. These prompts included:

  1. If you were a superhero, what would be your unintentional super power?
  2. If you were to give a TED talk, what would it be? (and not about your career)
  3. Describe an awkward moment during middle school?
  4. If you could start a restaurant, what would it be and what would be your signature dish?

The questions led to stories and conversations that brought new connections between peers.

After dinner, we were led by futurists David Stalely and Andrea Saveri in an exercise on how to envision the future. Stalely focused on the fact that innovations are not simply iterations on current ideas or technologies but rather mashups or new ideas that stem out of two very different concepts. To support that thinking, each participant was given two cards with an image on each card. With our two images, we were asked to create a new idea. It was a wonderful practice as we geared up for the next day, as we would be asked to “reimagine” the next chapter of the library.


The next day, at the Lovett School, was dedicated to building upon those new connections and be inspired to mash things up and create something new. This not only required a connection but a willingness to embrace the rules of design.

Design Challenge
Jeff Sharpe, Trung Le, and Sarah Malin led us through an introduction to design thinking and a challenge that helped us understand how to listen, brainstorm, and create. This experience gave us a foundation on the importance of the design process as we would move throughout the day.

Future of Learning
Under the guidance of Lucy Grey, David Jakes, and Andrea Saveri, we then explored the most powerful and effective ways to learn. Their exercise provided us the chance to outline what we as a group believed to be powerful examples of learning.

Future of the Library
Finally, Joyce Valenza, Buffy Hamilton, and Helene Blowers helped us explore what library has been and what it should become. This experience became one of the most heated as we were asked to truly rethink the role of the library in a transformative learning environment. For many there were certain components to the library that were essential where as others believed that we should “blow up” the model all together. What this session proved was that transformative design is not a clean and easy process but rather something that takes a lot of work.

Take Away

As we finished up the weekend, we realized that building comfort and connection between the participants is essential to create the right environment to be inspired to create something truly unique.

Even then, barriers were evident in blocking us from completely embracing a radical shift. Many of us had been holding on to our biases as keys to the future but realized that if we truly want to embrace what the future of the library, or anything for that matter, we must step away from those biases and embrace the process.

Photo credits: Laura Deisley (#3)+ Christian Long (#1, #2, #4, #5)

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