As mentioned in my last post, Elizabeth Rummel School is embarking on a long held vision to move our library to a learning commons. To this end, we have received tremendous support, both philosophical and financial, from a visionary group of parents who make up the Elizabeth Rummel School Council. They have hired me as a consultant to get the ball rolling. To be sure, I am as passionate about this project as they are. As former Teacher Librarian at the school, I would love to see this dream become reality. And to their credit, the staff are very much on board. But as many have expressed to me, they were looking to someone to lead this work. Doorley and Witthoft echo these sentiments. “If you want the space to sing, it has to be somone’s job to drive the project and play the changes . . . Decisions have to be made by synthesizing many, often contradictory, threads. We’ve found this coherency of thought difficult to achieve with large groups” (p. 163).
So, for now, I am driving the bus. However, even though I am driving, it is my job to consider all the passengers and their wants, needs, and ideas. I will follow the advice of Doorley and Witthoft on this journey:
“Seek out radically different perspectives and audition your concepts & prototypes with many other people. Collaboration works best when the right perspectives come to bear at right time: the more disparate the perspectives of the design team, the more likely that gaps will be filled and that novel ideas will emerge” (Doorley & Witthoft, p. 163).
In the next few blog posts, I will be sharing some of the decisions that have been made thus far about creating a space for learning and collaboration, using a variety of perspectives. Your thoughts and comments are welcome.
Doorley, S. & Witthoft, S. (2012). Make space: How to set the stage for creative collaboration. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.