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School Library Research


The Motivational and Information Needs of Young Innovators: Stimulating Student Creativity and Inventive Thinking


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Innovation is the essence of the American spirit. In the twenty-first century, it will be the innovative thinkers who will make the greatest contributions to our society, find cures for diseases, create technologies that enrich our lives, and find innovative solutions to the world’s problems. Schools must provide more opportunities for students to create, innovate, and explore their ideas; the school library is the one place in the school in which all children can think outside the box, seeking solutions to real-world problems that interest and challenge them. This article describes a study conducted by a research team at Syracuse University’s Center for Digital Literacy, in collaboration with the Connecticut Invention Convention, investigating the attitudes toward innovation activities, motivational supports, and information needs of young innovators in grade 4–8 as they progressed through the innovation process. Implications of this initial research are that school librarians have an opportunity to (1) provide “innovation spaces” that foster curiosity and exploration within their libraries and (2) become role models or “innovation mentors” to all students, supporting their motivational and information needs throughout the innovation process.

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