Howdy from the beautiful Rocky Mountains! The Rocky Mountain chapter of SLA is thrilled to contribute this week’s FutureReady365 posts. We are a small, diverse community of 150+ members spread across a four-state region (Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and South Dakota). We have a medley of posts from public school, government, higher education and independent professionals that we hope will prompt conversations, comments and thoughts on being future ready. Happy reading!
by Shelley Walchak
As the Colorado State Library public library consultant, I hear from library staff across the state – how can we reinvent ourselves as Anythink did in just a few years? Rangeview Library District and its Anythink libraries serve Adams County, Colo. Once the worst-funded library district in the state, Anythink has drastically reinvented itself with a new service philosophy, new spaces and a new challenger brand that has changed the perception of libraries in Adams County and beyond.
Over a cup of coffee with Anythink Director Pam Sandlian Smith, a concept was born. We sought to address the needs of libraries from Colorado and beyond that are interested in innovation, creativity and risk-taking, which led to R-Squared – The Risk & Reward Conference.
Is this a rehashing of what Anythink has done in order to achieve national recognition? Pam’s answer would be a definitive, “no!” However, with a group of folks from Telluride on the Western Slope to Clearview on the Eastern Plains, a plan began to form that would highlight some of the philosophies and core values that have inspired Anythink’s reinvention.
With the help of the creative team from Ricochet Ideas and a committee of devoted individuals from across Colorado, we started work last February to define the conference. R-Squared is designed for professionals at all levels who are curious about creative thinking in libraries. The goal is for attendees to recognize their own creativity, analyze risk and reap its rewards, and become confident in creative problem solving to help establish libraries as leaders inspiring creative thinking in their communities. As Pam states, “It comes down to looking at our profession with a fresh perspective and having the courage to implement things differently. We have to be willing to take some risks to ensure our long-term survival.”
This conference is uniquely designed to encourage fun, creativity and risk in an unexpected format. What better place to do that than in Telluride, CO, one of the most beautiful and inspirational locations in Colorado. Time is built into the conference schedule for risk exercises and experience zones, and sessions allow for collaboration. The three-day conference deals with four main areas – culture, customer curiosity, abundant community and creative spaces. Creative experts and risk-takers from industries like hospitality, retail, marketing and technology will provide a fresh perspective and inspire innovation. As John Bellina, creative director for Ricochet Ideas says, “R-Squared is about embracing risk as a way to get ahead.”
Shelley Walchak is the Library Community Programs Senior Consultant at the Colorado State Library in the Department of Education. She assists public library administration with questions on planning, laws that affect libraries, advocacy, standards, board training, and special projects. Shelley has an MSLS from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI.