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A Better Library: Design Thinking

Librarians find themselves working in networks where information is generated, organized, indexed, transferred, digitized, stored, retrieved, selected, replaced, transmitted or discarded. The access with which you can reach is beyond the realm of imagination for most people. Thus, the digital team must help prevent possible outages or user-related blockages. It must reflect the new technologies with a systematic service program. This is especially true of library service and design efforts. We use design thinking as a strategy to start.

Times of Uncertainty

During times of uncertainty, we need to expand the possibilities. The status quo is always an option, but sometimes it is not. We focus on both urgent decisions and long term sustainability. For example, we ask how to keep our libraries safe and healthy, how to keep our community happy, or, if someone lost a job, how to help people find a new one as quickly as possible.

A Better Library

Library Systems are key to current management problems and when we feel overwhelmed, it can be hard to find the time, motivation, and mental energy to think about longer-term questions. Here are a few steps you can take:

1. Explore a range of scenarios — including the unthinkable.
2. Imagine a future that is better than today.
3. Build future capabilities based on relevant data.
4. Use design thinking methods.
4. Start with a self study and build a master plan.

Explore a range of scenarios

Systems are key to current digital asset management practices. A library is an organized arrangement in which each component acts in accordance with the overall service. What strategic changes could you make or modify current library operations to a more service oriented digital mode?

Imagine a future that is better than today

New virtual/digital work methods translates into a new library design that takes into consideration people to people, people to machines and software to software connections. People are not software, nor should they be considered as such. To do their jobs properly, collaborative teams / trusted teams must be created, the library systems must be easy to use, and facilities must provide beauty and comfort.

Build future capabilities based on relevant data

To function properly, jobs have to be integrated into the library plan and people employed are properly supported with the necessary training, equipment and space. Aaron Cohen likes to compare master planning to a temporary army command post from which units are deployed and dashboards provide real-time information. Our research team analyzes the library’s communication dashboards to help develop the goals and objectives and build a successful strategy for sustainability.

Design Thinking Methods

Educators and Community Administrators have to compromise between their attempts to respond to on-going demands for digital information / research services and the status quo. However, that solution sets up another potential difficulty. The new digital library plan needs to support the physical library in new ways. But how?

Similar analyses using design thinking methods regularly found that the staff is essential to the performance of tasks and how different tasks interact with one another and eventually with the goals of the organization. We have found that there is always resistance to the unknown. Design Thinking helps us visualize and design new goals for the future. It helps us balance the physical place and digital space requirements.

Start with a self study and build a master plan.

We suggest taking a Master Planning approach. Identify the long and short term goals you need to cultivate in order to grow toward a better future. A client of ours was committed to the idea of becoming a digital library. To pursue that high-level goal, the library determined that they had to improve their information literacy communication, build cross-cultural groups, and jettison outdated services. This way not an easy process, but it helps with Design Thinking Tools. Below are some links to help you on your search for a better future.

Design Thinking Resources

Human Centered Design Resources and Methods To Help You Master HCD

How Can Organizations Adopt and Measure Design Thinking Process?

Why Design Thinking Works

What can I use Design Thinking For?

Need to do a Design Thinking Workshop? Master Plan CONTACT LIBRARY CONSULTANT
Team Building for Libraries

Below is a graphic from – What can I use Design Thinking for?

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