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Innovation: the language of learning libraries

Robin Bergart (University of Guelph Library, Guelph, Canada)
M.J. D'Elia (University of Guelph Library, Guelph, Canada)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 16 November 2010




The purpose of this paper is to describe an experimental staff training program called “Innovation Boot Camp” in which participants engaged in playful activities designed specifically to inspire, energize, and challenge them to become more innovative at work.


This paper is a case study of an innovation‐training program using interviews with participants and personal reflections by the authors on the efficacy and desirability of creativity training.


The paper demonstrates the value of nurturing and developing creative approaches to library work.

Research limitations/implications

Further research must be conducted to determine how a similar staff‐training program might evolve in other library settings.

Practical implications

Innovation is a core component of any learning organization – including libraries. By planting the seeds of innovation and nurturing creativity, it is better able to support its own and the users' learning.


Certainly, the profession supports innovative and creative ideas, but in many libraries innovation is happening only occasionally, haphazardly, and at an individual level. The paper has executed an original and engaging program to make creativity and innovation a more deliberate and pervasive part of everyday work.



Bergart, R. and D'Elia, M.J. (2010), "Innovation: the language of learning libraries", Reference Services Review, Vol. 38 No. 4, pp. 606-620.



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