Inspired Thinking: Big Ideas to Enrich Yourself and Your Community

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the author

with Morgan Miller, Lisa Picker, Joseph Thompson, and Carrie Willson

Curiosity, respect, goodwill, and unity: these are a few of what Plato calls “big ideas,” and they’re concepts that libraries can harness to enlighten humanity in the long-term and help solve problems in the short-term. The journey toward applying your potential starts with personal discovery. A guide for leaders and courageous followers from all types of libraries, this book’s aim is to cultivate inspired thinking in library workers as well as the communities they serve. Demonstrating how big ideas can serve as a foundation for core values, perspectives, and an energized mindset, Stoltz and her co-authors

  • explain how libraries of all types can help advance human achievement and the civilizing force of culture;
  • explore Plato’s definition of an idea, the role of thinking, and the importance of cultivating inspiration;
  • guide readers towards discovering big ideas and building bridges to them;
  • share ways to focus attention on the powerful potential of libraries, thereby fostering a healthy culture that activates the best in both staff and library users;
  • shine a light on the wonderful treasure trove of wisdom, awareness, and insights in the library’s stacks, both physical and virtual, that are waiting to be tapped; and
  • offer motivational quotes and stimulating insights that will spur library staff to nurture curiosity as part of a joyous quest for expanding awareness.

By following the concepts in this book, libraries of all kinds can build bridges between big ideas and the needs of libraries and their communities.


Part I    Cultivating Ideas

  • Chapter 1:     What’s the Idea, Plato?
  • Chapter 2:     The Value of an Open Mind
  • Chapter 3:     The Civilizing Force of Culture

Part II Building Bridges to Big Ideas

  • Chapter 4:    Designing a Blueprint
  • Chapter 5:    Building the Bridge
  • Chapter 6:     Using the Bridge to Enlightenment

Part III Implementing Ideas

  • Chapter 7:     The Lark Ascending
  • Chapter 8:    Ingenuity
  • Chapter 9:     Beauty through Goodwill and Helpfulness
  • Chapter 10:     Wisdom through Discernment and Courage

Part IV Finding the Light within Ideas

  • Chapter 11:     Curiosity
  • Chapter 12:     Joy, Humility, and Unity

Appendix: Suggested Reading
About the Authors

Dorothy Stoltz

Dorothy Stoltz is director for community engagement at the Carroll County (MD) Public Library. She is the coauthor of several books and articles for the American Library Association, including Inspired Collaboration: Ideas for Discovering and Applying Your Potential (2016). With more than thirty-five years of experience in public libraries, she is active in the Library Leadership & Management Association, the Public Library Association, and the Association for Library Service to Children.