The Creative Edge

Inspiring Art Explorations in Libraries and Beyond

by Mary C. Fletcher


Transform your library from a place of information into a place for inspiration.

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Cover image for The Creative Edge

April 2019

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 177
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Children's and Young Adult Programs/General
  Children's and Young Adult Services/General

Library facilitators of art-based creativity sessions will learn how to choose materials and art experiences appropriate for young people from toddlers to teens and for intergenerational groups.

In the modern world, innovative and creative individuals have a distinct advantage: the creative edge. The Creative Edge explains how you can design and conduct art-based creativity programming in your library. Written by a library creativity specialist, this book is the result of the author's many years of experience facilitating art groups for all ages. Her programs have achieved national recognition and will serve as a guide for others to establish art-based creativity sessions. In this book, she incorporates research that documents the importance of creativity as an essential component of childhood development and connects it to library learning goals, including literacy.

Creativity research can be applied in libraries and at other public institutions to develop programs that will meet the needs of the next generation. The book includes many practical elements, such as lists for recommended art materials, step-by-step instructions on setup and procedures, and ideas inspired by picture book illustrations that connect to story time themes. The Creative Edge teaches readers how to provide programs that promote child-led exploration, experiential learning, innovative thought, and creative confidence.


  • Offers a guide for creativity programming for librarians, teachers, program coordinators, and college students
  • Teaches how to facilitate open-ended creativity programs for children of all ages and caregivers
  • Describes how to design story time art groups linking art and literacy inspired by picture book illustrations
Author Info

Mary C. Fletcher is a library creativity specialist with a master's degree in art therapy and experience as an artist and illustrator. She founded the Open Art Studio at the Avon Free Public Library in Connecticut. Her program, The Creative Edge: The Art of Creativity Programming in Libraries, was presented in 2017 at the Symposium on the Future of Libraries.



"As an internationally recognized author of over 20 books on process art experiences for children, I am delighted to recommend The Creative Edge to librarians to encourage bringing open-ended art experiences to the children's library. True art, rather than adult-pre-designed crafts, inspires children to think, discover, explore, and come up with new ideas. That's what creativity is all about! The possibilities in Mary C. Fletcher's book are inspiring, motivating, and important. I give my highest recommendation."—MaryAnn Faubion Kohl, Art Author/Consultant/Literary Agent

"I continue to be inspired by Mary Fletcher, Kari Ann St. Jean, and the work of the Avon Free Public Library, not simply for their innovation in the Art Studio space and its programming, but for the ways in which they have centered creativity as fundamental to their practice of librarianship. This book provides numerous ideas for programs, promotion, and services, but it also asks us to expand the spirit of our work and the value we can provide to communities."—Miguel Figueroa, Director, Center for the Future of Libraries, American Library Association

"This book is well written, thoroughly researched, and easy to understand. It touches on the most important aspects of inspiring creativity and using art to enrich literacy in young children. More important, it takes this crucial information out of the ivory tower of art education and introduces it to all of the most important people who work with young children: pre-school teachers, library workers, caretakers, and parents."—Susan Striker, Art Educator and Author of Please Touch®, Young at Art®, and the Best-selling Anti–Coloring Book® Series

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