CrIS as Catalyst, Contributor, Collaborator

American libraries are renown for their dedication to the services and resources they provide to patrons: books and media borrowing, access to computers and other technology, free meeting spaces and classrooms, educational programs and exhibitions, research and reference consultations. The Marriott Library is among the very best of academic libraries in providing innovative and creative services and resources, for example: an undergraduate certificate in book arts, professional-quality video and audio production studios, digital publishing, tools and training for geospatial information systems, an industrial materials collection, and 3D printing.

When the Creativity & Innovation Services department (CrIS) was formed in 2015, our team decided it wanted to focus on expanding beyond just services and resources to become catalysts, contributors, and collaborators. Since that time, our efforts have garnered some exciting partnerships and projects with amazing results:

  • The Downwinders of Utah Archive, developed by the Library’s GIS Services unit to document the history and on-going impacts of nuclear testing in Nevada. Since its October 2016 launch, we’ve worked with public libraries in Southern Utah to curate oral history interviews with nuclear testing survivors. In addition, the Utah Department of Education is developing new K-12 social studies curriculum based on the DoUA.
  • Faculty writing books, staff developing promotional materials, as well as students at KUTE Radio creating podcasts have all taken advantage of extended access to our audio and video studios, which we began offering to trained and certified users in early 2017.
  • Partnering with the Women’s Resource Center, we secured a University Teaching Committee group grant to build the One Button Studio, an automated video recording studio designed to simplify media-enhanced academic work. It is now open and available for University of Utah students, staff, and faculty to schedule and use.
  • Marriott Library’s CrIS and Special Collections departments partnered to develop the Zine Collection, which consists of self-published ‘zines from around the world as well as supplies to facilitate in-class training’s and drop-in workshops where students learn how to create ‘zines of their own. The Marriott Library’s growing collection has nearly 200 ‘zines and several U of U courses are integrating ‘zine creation in their curriculum.
  • Several CrIS and Special Collections staff members collaborated with Martha Macomber, the University of Utah’s Education Liaison to the Ute Tribe, to offer a series of digital and ‘zine storytelling workshops to Uintah Basin teens. This group traveled to the Ute Reservation several times throughout Spring 2017 to meet and teach the basics of storytelling. This culminated in a week-long Ute Storytelling Summer Camp, where the teens used the One Button Studio and the ‘zine production resources to document their own stories.
  • Starting in 2016, we began to explore the potential of interactive media. More than 300 video games and 9 gaming systems are now available for library patrons to check out and use for academics and recreation. In addition, several augmented and virtual reality systems – including Microsoft Hololens, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive sets – and graphics intensive laptops have been deployed at our weekly Maker Space drop-in sessions, and are generating significant interest in many departments. Most notably, Dr. Mark Durham from the School of Dentistry has partnered and multiple other colleges and departments to create the Health Sciences Emerging Technology team, which will focus on the implementation of VR curriculum in health sciences.

These are just a few of the many projects CrIS employees have had the honor and pleasure to work on. Their impacts are just now being experienced and we are excited to see what more comes of them. We’re even more excited to continue working with students, staff, and faculty across campus and beyond to develop creative and innovative partnerships. Will you be next?


Greg Hatch
Head of Creativity & Innovation Services greg.hatch@utah.eduView the original article on the Creativity and Innovation Services Blog

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