Risk and reward for libraries

R-Squared, a new conference, aims to help librarians develop their creativity, innovation and risk-taking capability.

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These are challenging times for libraries.  They are fighting closures, budget cuts and are being challenged by such competitors as Starbucks, Amazon and Google.

They are experiencing is a 21st century identity crisis.  How can they establish their relevance and meet the needs of their communities?  Gone are the days when they can get by being passive.   Now, more than ever, there is a need for libraries to be a place to connect people to ideas, and to become a space to inspire creativity and innovation.  Librarians must take action, think creatively and analyse risk as a way to move the profession forward and to take the lead in enhancing the quality of life of the people they serve.

This is the thinking behind a new conference being launched next year in Telluride, Colorado, USA. R-Squared - The Risk & Reward Conference is designed for library professionals at all levels who are curious about creative thinking in libraries. The goal is for attendees to recognise their own creativity, analyse risk and reap its rewards, and become confident in creative problem solving to help establish libraries as leaders inspiring creative thinking in their communities.   Libraries need to be seen as innovators and vital assets to their communities.  They need to assert their relevance.

One of the organisers of the conference is Pam Sandlian Smith, Director of Anythink Libraries in Adams County, Colorado US.  The transformation of Anythink from an underdog to an award winning organisation was featured here.

R-Squared will help attendees tap into their creative side to establish themselves as risk-takers, change agents and innovators in their libraries and communities.   The conference is designed to encourage fun, creativity and risk in an unexpected format.  (Time is built into the programme to include bungee jumping, rock climbing and fly fishing!). Speakers will include creative experts and risk-takers from industries like hospitality, retail, marketing and technology will provide a fresh perspective and inspire innovation.

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