Lucy Campbell and Barbara Opar, column editors
Column by Rebecca Barham, Art, Dance & Theatre Reference Librarian,
University of North Texas Libraries and Dr. Susan Smith, Director of Library
Trinity River Campus, Tarrant County College
Do you use design thinking
methodologies in class? If so, then you are aware of the potential for
innovative problem solving that design thinking offers. For those who have not
heard of design thinking, a short introduction is in order. Design thinking is
a series of overlapping processes involving inspiration, ideation
and implementation that has been
used to create successful businesses and desirable products. During the
inspiration process, the design challenge or problem is identified. In the
ideation phase, design thinking tools are used to generate ideas to solve the
problem. Then during the implementation process, the generated ideas are made into
a series of rapid prototypes and feedback gathered on each prototype.
processes of design thinking can be utilized in the strategy and management of
academic libraries to provide solutions to some of the challenges we face. Some
common challenges include: how to engage
with patrons in new ways, how to get students involved in the design of the
library space, patron-centered collection development, and doing more with
limited budgets. In this column, we will highlight design thinking tools that
can be applied to help solve these challenges.
Engaging patrons in new ways.
patrons to be co-creators of the library by forming library advisory boards.
Consider forming boards focused around specific patron or stakeholder groups,
such as graduate or undergraduate students, or faculty. Advisory board members
provide valuable input on library services, products, spaces, and marketing to
their peers. They also serve to represent the library to peers.
Getting students involved in the design of the library space.
students to share images and descriptions of their ideal study or library
spaces via an image/text survey. Survey respondents can upload images to any
survey tool that has an option for questions that include file uploads and text
entry. Another way that patrons can be
involved in the design of library space is to create models, renderings or
videos of spaces and furniture that they can participate in or vote on.
Cardboard models of furniture, counters, and wall dividers can be created and moved
around to better visualize the space. Design contests with valuable prizes are
also useful incentives.
Design thinking tools for collection development.
Driven Acquisitions (PDA) are a great way to get patrons involved in collection
development. In PDA, records of books that are not owned by the library are loaded
in the catalog and patrons unknowingly initialize the purchase of a book when a
set use criteria is met. Patrons can also participate in collection development
by requesting or voting for a book, journal or database via a recommendation
box, library website link, or a list of newly published books. Librarians can
obtain lists of new books in specific call number ranges from email alerts set
in web-based book acquisition systems.
Design thinking tools and limited budgets.
design thinking is centered on the needs of the patron, it can help to insure
that money is used to buy resources that are needed and will be used. In
addition, iterative rapid prototypes and feedback on the prototypes during the
implementation process helps to reveal usefulness and costly problems before
money is spent.