The idea for an exhibition about creativity, or more specifically, the creative pursuits of the Smith College Libraries staff, came to me after I decided I would retire from my position in the Libraries after working here for almost 40 years. As you will discover, we are a group with diverse talents. Many of us are familiar faces, assisting our users at circulation and reference desks or teaching in Neilson, Josten, Hillyer and Young libraries. Others of us work behind the scenes purchasing, cataloging, and preparing materials for the stacks, or maintaining hardware, software and our website, among other things. This exhibition presents the opportunity to see what we do when we’re not at work—painting, drawing, quilting, knitting, crafting and much more.
In 2012, the Libraries adopted a new staff structure based on learning organization concepts, which means that collaboration and taking innovative approaches to our work are encouraged, if not imperative. It is no coincidence that all staff members were challenged to brainstorm with colleagues to create items for the exhibition. Of the fifty pieces on display, six are collaborative works involving twenty individuals. It would be an understatement to say that I am pleased and honored by the response and the flurry of activity among staff as we prepared for this event.
My thanks to Christopher Loring, Director of Libraries, for supporting this exhibition, and to Martin Antonetti, Curator of Rare Books, who generously offered the use of the Book Arts Gallery for the spring semester 2014. My heartfelt gratitude to my collaborative team of curators who offered their time, expertise, and creative suggestions—Barbara Blumenthal, Karen Kukil and Elisa Lanzi – without whom this exhibition would not have happened. And to all my creative colleagues in the Smith College Libraries, some with whom I have worked for decades, and others far less than that — I am inspired by the talents you bring not only to this exhibition, but to your work every day in the Libraries.
Article in Grecourt Gate "Creative Colleagues Collaborate on Art," by Abe Loomis, published February 11, 2014
Article on Masslive "Smith College Libraries showcase staff talents with new art exhibit," by George Lenker, published February 27, 2014