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Featured Article: Creativity has a Home in the Oviatt Library

eNews Edition: Spring 2018

Contributed by David Morck

Mission, Vision and Values

Students using the Gohstand Reading Room at the Oviatt Library
Students enjoying leisure reading in the Robert and Maureen Gohstand Leisure Reading Room

One of the wonderful things about libraries is that they transform to meet the needs of the community, embrace and experiment with new ideas, and provide spaces for research, culture and collaboration.  In this issue of our eNews, we explore the Oviatt Library as a space for creativity, and how important the creative process is towards fostering student and community success.  See Dean Mark Stover’s article Creativity - The Secret Sauce of Student Success.  The Oviatt Library has undergone tremendous changes over recent years, and its Mission, Vision and Values reflect those changes. The Library as a creative space is reflected in our mission as creating “innovative physical and virtual spaces,” and providing “diverse education and cultural programming in support of student success.”

Creative Spaces

The Library has changed a lot since the introduction of our Learning Commons on our Main Floor. What was once a homogeneous experience in the Library has now become myriad choices for where and how our spaces can be used.  The Learning Commons provides a highly configurable space where students can work collaboratively and configure their space for their needs, whether it be planning projects on our banks of computers, exchanging ideas in our group study areas and collaborative shared screens, or scribbling on our white walls -- anything from complex equations to doodles.  These spaces truly belong to our students. If collaborative and social doesn’t fit the mold, there are quiet study areas on the upper floors – no matter what brings you into your own creative space, the Library can provide.

Creative spaces can be found almost everywhere you look: the Teacher Curriculum Center (TCC) has arts and crafts, and materials for instructors that help them reach out to the younger generation.  The TCC will soon be merging with our Music & Media department, which houses everything from DVDs to sheet music from our International Guitar Research Archive, and will be a rich environment full of color, music and arts.  A wonderful merging between two highly creative departments is also making way for even more resources in the Library, such as the Map Library, and our collaboration with the Tom and Ethel Bradley Center.  Special Collections continues to evolve with a beautiful new space, and an ever changing exhibition space.  Learning Commons Technology and the Creative Media Studio not only lend laptops, cameras, tablets, and other digital technology, but also offer technical assistance, workshops, and competitions with the support of expert staff and highly trained student assistants. The staff and students there are highly motivated to contribute their expertise and guidance, whether you want to learn to record a song in Pro Tools, edit a video in Final Cut, or join a group project to submit to a competition.

Creative Programming

Figure of Santa Muerte (Saint Death)
Figure of Santa Muerte (Saint Death) - from Dr. Laura Roush' event Offerings from Prison: A Collaborative Photo Essay at a Santa Muerte Altar

The Library has never been busier and more abuzz with exciting programs, events and competitions. The Creative Media Studio is wrapping up their 3Duino Challenge, which offers teams of students, from high school to university, a chance to compete using 3D Printing and Arduino microcomputers.  Thus far in 2018 we have had author talks, such as Steven J. Ross, who authored the Pulitzer Prize nominated Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America, using materials from our very own Special Collections and Archives. The Library hosts multiple annual event series, such as Black History Month, where this year we had a political panel discussion and a performance in our Learning Commons from slam poetry group Vocal ARTillery.  In March, we hosted WISE’s (Women in Science and Engineering) Pi Day celebration and reception to promotes mentorship and the inclusion of women in science. The Oviatt Library Bradley Center offered author talks and film screenings, such as “Devil’s Freedom: the Consequences of the War on Drugs and Mexico.” This April is National Poetry Month and we have hosted reading events in the beautiful Robert and Maureen Gohstand Leisure Reading Room, a space for the quiet enjoyment of reading for pleasure, as well as run a poetry workshop for students.   This is just a sample of some of our amazing events.  In the future we anticipate an abundance of activities and creative opportunities, and we cannot wait for our patrons to participate. As art director, designer and author George Lois has said “Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything.” The Library will continue to be a vital, participatory and creative center on campus, and truly a place where you can Make Your Space.

Make Your Space Creative