21st Century Librarians Look Like: Game-changing Creativity


60 Minutes” recently aired a segment on a young man named Jack Andraka who is the Intel International Science Fair Grand Prize winner for his project to find a reliable, cost effective diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer.

Not only did this 15 year old beat out 1,500 other really smart young people, he has presented a TED Talk, which is seriously impressive.

Jack Andraka was so passionate about his desire to accomplish something worthwhile that he petitioned 200 biotechnology science labs to allow him to pursue his research, but only one accepted his proposal. It only takes one.

Being interviewed by “60 Minutes” reporter Morley Safer, Andraka says of his genius idea;

But really I don’t think it’s that I’m really smart. I mean, I know people that are way smarter than me. You can be a genius, but if you don’t have the creativity to put that knowledge to use, then you just have a bunch of knowledge and nothing else. I mean, like, then you’re just as good as my smartphone. [Emphasis added.]

Another impressive part of the interview came when Safer told about Andraka speaking to “the renowned Royal Society of Medicine about his test and the problems with current cancer diagnostics.” The video showed a large room full of doctors and researchers totally engaged in their young speaker’s ideas.

THAT is where the game-changing creativity comes into play, not only by Andraka, but by the adults open to listening to a new idea about how to approach an old challenge. The fact that the idea came from a teenager may have been incidental, or maybe not. But, the point is we all must be open to new ideas, new perspectives, new approaches to old challenges in our libraries.

Librarians have been pounding away at “librarianship” for decades in the same way it has always been done. The reason the old way doesn’t work is because the environment has changed drastically, conditions have changed drastically and library user’s expectations of libraries have changed drastically. (Read 21st Century Librarianship – Revisited)

21st Century Librarianship does the unexpected!

21st Century Libraries Look Like: Something Unexpected)

Library’s ‘Hatch’ space appeals to visitors’ creativity

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The Maker Movement Finds Its Way Into Urban Classrooms

Free lending libraries sprouting on front lawns in D.C. area help create neighborhood bonds

Miami Public Library provides videoconferencing equipment

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