Brief notes on librarian as designer.

Posted in Uncategorized by dilettanteventures on 03/21/2017


The shift: Library science -> Information Science only tells part of the story. Science is an inadequate model, as is information.

The dominant paradigm:  Information -> Knowledge is incomplete.

Librarians must be attentive to meaning, not just information/knowledge.

Epistemology -> Semiotics but ultimately the core of librarianship is experience design. 

Aesthetics then, becomes a core concern and the librarian’s new pedagogical model should be design school, specifically social design. [1]


[1] A case could be made for curatorial studies,  and although insights from the field would surely aid librarianship, it lacks some fundamental skill sets of design.



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  1. Nathan said, on 05/20/2017 at 19:07

    Beyond Book Issues draws on 18 library projects to demonstrate the impact of libraries on a wide range of personal and community development issues—from education and literacy to social cohesion and community empowerment. Without diminishing the value of book lending, it stresses the wider, often unseen, importance of libraries to their communities, and argues for their presence at the heart of new Government policy. But, if the initiatives described here are impressive, it must be acknowledged that they are not always typical of what can be uneven provision. If some library authorities are innovative, responsive to changing needs, even daring, there are others who seem unable to look beyond day-by-day management of a service defined only by existing buildings and resources. The projects described below amply describe the social potential of libraries: how often that potential is realised remains open to question. We do not live in the 1960s, or even the 1930s, and we cannot depend on services shaped by the needs of those times. If we must look back we should learn from the fiery confidence and commitment to social change of the public library’s Victorian founders. Libraries must take the place envisaged for them as the People’s Network; they must fulfil their potential as the country’s most local and loved social, educational and cultural resource. But to do so, there will have to be change. This report argues that libraries can no longer be constrained by excessively narrow performance indicators—classically expressed as the number of book issues—but must renegotiate a wider contract with the community which reflects and legitimises all the things that people use libraries for and look to them to provide. This new contract for libraries may require other, structural changes.” (François Matarasso, Beyond book issues: the social potential of library projects, 1998)

    Further resources:

    François Matarasso (1998). Beyond book issues: the social potential of library projects. London: Comedia.

    François Matarasso (1998). Learning development: an introduction to the social impact of public libraries. London: Comedia.

    François Matarasso (2000). The meaning of leadership in a cultural democracy: rethinking public library values. LOGOS: The Journal of the World Book Community, 11(1), 38–44.

    Emma Hayes & Anne Morris (2005). Leisure role of public libraries: a historical perspective. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 37(2), 75–81.

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    John Budd (2007). Public library leaders and changing society. Public Library Quarterly, 26(3-4), 1–14.

    Bob Usherwood (2007). Equity and excellence in the public library: why ignorance is not our heritage. Aldershot, Hampshire, UK; Burlington, VT: Ashgate.

    Kara Fox, Laura M. Horne, Tim King, Sara Seely, & Kathleen Walsh (2008). The librarian as bridge-builder. Public Services Quarterly, 4(2), 177–185.

    Nancy Courtney (ed.) (2009). Academic library outreach: beyond the campus walls. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

    Patricia Montiel-Overall & Sandra Littletree (2010). Knowledge river: a case study of a library and information science program focusing on Latino and Native American perspectives. Library Trends, 59(1–2), 67–87.

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    Helena Robinson (2012). Remembering things differently: museums, libraries and archives as memory institutions and the implications for convergence. Museum Management and Curatorship, 27(4), 413–429.

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    Tara Brady, Camille Salas, Ayah Nuriddin, Walter Rodgers, & Mega Subramaniam (2014). MakeAbility: creating accessible makerspace events in a public library. Public Library Quarterly, 33(4), 330–347.

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    Courtney Greene McDonald (2014). Putting the user first: 30 strategies for transforming library services. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association.

    Jeanine Scaramozzino, Russell White, Jeff Essic, Lee Ann Fullington, Himanshu Mistry, Amanda Henley, & Miriam Olivares (2014). Map room to data and GIS services: five university libraries evolving to meet campus needs and changing technologies. Journal of Map & Geography Libraries, 10(1), 6–47.

    Aaron Schmidt & Amanda Etches (2014). Useful, usable, desirable: applying user experience design to your library. Chicago: American Library Association.

    Ben Bizzle & Maria Flora (2015). Start a revolution: stop acting like a library. Chicago: American Library Association.

    Mina Di Marino & Kimmo Lapintie (2015). Libraries as transitory workspaces and spatial incubators. Library & Information Science Research, 37(2), 118–129.

    Julie Biando Edwards, Melissa S. Robinson, & Kelley Rae Unger (2015). Transforming libraries, building communities: the community-centered library. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.

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    Ben Light, Kirralie Houghton, Jean Burgess, Helen Klaebe, Roger Osborne, Stuart Cunningham, & Gregory Hearn (2016). The impact of libraries as creative spaces. Digital Media Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology.

    Emily Mitchell & Brandon West (2016). DIY usability: low-barrier solutions for the busy librarian. Weave: Journal of Library User Experience, 1(5).

    David P. Moxley & June M. Abbas (2016). Envisioning libraries as collaborative community anchors for social service provision to vulnerable populations. Practice: Social Work in Action [Online ahead of print], 1–20.

    Andy Priestner & Matt Borg (eds.) (2016). User experience in libraries: applying ethnography and human-centred design. Abingdon; New York: Routledge.

    Shannon Crawford Barniskis (2017). To what ends, by which means? Information Research, 22(1), 1–18.

    Jennifer Nichols, Marijel (Maggie) Melo, & Jason Dewland (2017). Unifying space and service for makers, entrepreneurs, and digital scholars. portal: Libraries and the Academy, 17(2), 363–374.

    Mark Robison & Lindley Shedd (eds.) (2017). Audio recorders to zucchini seeds: building a library of things. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.

    Beth Filar Williams & Michelle Folkman (2017). Librarians as makers. Journal of Library Administration, 57(1), 17–35.

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