ALA Unit/Subunit: ALA
Meeting Type: Program
Cost: Included with full conference registration.
Research has shown that libraries are valuable informal learning spaces, rich with opportunities to gain knowledge and make meaning in our complex society. However, libraries are not always able to effectively connect with their diverse communities. Each community has unique needs rooted in a variety of factors, including ethnicity, age, and socioeconomic status, to name a few. Librarians seek effective and impactful ways to meet the needs of these diverse communities, for both current library users and those who may not be coming into the library. This could range from changes in program and service development, to collection cultivation, to providing a dedicated space that incorporates input from those who will use it. And yet, how might librarians approach these difficult problems in a thoughtful way that recognizes the dynamic, ever-changing nature of communities?
Design, a theoretical and practical way to provide solutions to problems in today’s society, offers librarians a set of tools, techniques, and theories that harness the role of making in knowledge creation. Design also offers a new vocabulary for advocacy and outreach that capitalizes on the fact that libraries have always been iterative makers. Librarians are designers--we recognize challenges, we propose solutions, and we update and refine those solutions as needed. It’s time to learn specific design techniques librarians can use to create spaces, places, programs, and collections; strengthen the ties between libraries and their communities; facilitate dialogue and understanding; and build inclusive programs and services and collections and spaces that reflect community needs and strengths and offer new ways to imagine the 21st century library.
In this interactive, hands-on speed design session we present 3 quick, easy-to-learn community-centered design techniques to help library staff create more inclusive tools and services for their communities.
Bag of Stuff--librarians can use a variety of tactile materials to build and shape their conceptual ideas around inclusive libraries;
Sticky Notes--librarians can share and build on each other’s ideas about what makes a library inclusive;
Journey Maps and Scenarios--librarians can visualize their programs and confront design challenges in their efforts to evolve and enhance existing practice.
The rapid nature of this prototyping session will encourage quick thinking and blue sky brainstorming, to maximize ideas and minimize criticism. After this session, participants will be able to recognize design principles and techniques in their everyday work, identify new opportunities in which to incorporate these techniques, and adopt community-centered design as a way to connect with and learn from their communities through making activities. Design is messy, dynamic, vibrant, and productive, just like the communities libraries seek to serve. Our session intends to highlight how librarians can use the design work they do to advocate for funds, for recognition, and for relevance in today’s diverse society.