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Design Thinking for Libraries

Rolf Hapel, Professor of Practice, University of Washington Information School and former Director, Citizen Services & Libraries, Aarhus, Denmark, talked about how Aarhus used design thinking to involve citizens in designing the new library. Using interviews with children (one wanted birdsongs in the library), prototypes built of cardboard, and other manifestations of design thinking, they discovered that people wanted open spaces and self-service. The library created testing mockups.  They did UX and digital interface testing. They have interactive tables, a gaming alley, and a vending machine-like device that shows book front pages. Design thinking involves community engagement.

Erik Boekesteijn, Senior Advisor, National Library of The Netherlands, agreed that involving your community is vital.  You have to care; empathy is key to success. He asked people who don’t use libraries why they don’t. Thinking about extreme library makeovers, he cited StoryHouse in Chester, UK, where they believe that the job of librarians is to “curate curiosity.”

A new library space is a place to spend time.



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