Things I Know 230 of 365: I’m here to provoke

“[Key] part of design process is to have empathy for a user. And you [as a designer] are not that user.”

– Jeff Sharpe

I’m in Atlanta this weekend happily working with the good folks at Reimagine:ED as they host their Next Chapter summit at The Lovett School. For three days, librarians and designers from around the country are assembled to talk about the future of K-12 librarying. Good-hearted and creative people are imagining through a design process to decide what this ancient idea and act can come to mean to the students of now and the future.

Last night, the assembled thinkers chose from a collection of crowdsourced collection of questions and challenges surrounding library. The three challenges of the week are ideas any school or thinking and creating space would do well to wrestle with:

  • Design a successful ‘unquiet’ library.
  • What must K-12 libraries do to spur continual innovation, to make libraries the places and spaces our learners crave going forward?
  • Like a city provides a park the people can use in the myriad of ways, how can the library of the future be designed like a park of possibilities?

I hope the people around my siblings’ learning spaces are thinking about these things or other iterations of them.

I’m considering continuing to use the title printed on my name tag long after I’m done here – Provocateur.

I know about making things and I know about books, but I’d clarify myself as neither a designer nor a librarian. My work here is to push thinking. As a student, as a teacher and as an improviser – I’m one of several provocateurs here this weekend traveling from cohort to cohort, pushing thinking.

It’s a title that comes close to what I’d like to do (and what I like to do).

According to, a provocateur is “a person hired to make trouble,” or “challenger.” I like that.

With care and compassion, listening and questioning, I like the idea of being a person hired to make trouble.

Thanks to Laura Deisley, Jeff Sharpe and Christian Long for asking me to be involved. And thanks for the new title.

3 thoughts on “Things I Know 230 of 365: I’m here to provoke

  1. I have always thought of you that way as a fellow educator, and friend.  You are always challenging me to be better!!  And that my friend is why I love you so much 0:)

  2. Hi, name is Sarah. I like the fact that you want to make change in libraries. This is one of the most important part of our schools and it should be updated. I hope that you are able to bring your team together and come up with some great ideas.*I will be talking about this post on my blog.

  3. One of my prouder moments was when the principal of SC's elementary school introduced me at a meeting as a “professional agitator.” She didn't mean it as a compliment, but I took it as one. To me, it meant that I'd accomplished at least some level of change in what was a fairly regimented environment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *