With apologies for the delay: you can now find our ARLIS/NA 2017 division meeting minutes online: http://bit.ly/2nodEx
With apologies for the delay: you can now find our ARLIS/NA 2017 division meeting minutes online: http://bit.ly/2nodEx
Two full weeks remain until the start of National Library Week (April 9-15, 2017). How do art and design school libraries celebrate this annual event? Creatively, of course!
2017 LCAD Library National Library Week flyer by Lora Wanta (LCAD BFA Illustration, ’15)
At the Laguna College of Art + Design, we use National Library Week to celebrate our library and libraries in general. We also use it to celebrate and thank our library patrons and supporters. Some years we’ve had used book sales, other years we’ve had collaborative zine projects or book-making workshops, and sometimes we’ve done double-duty with National Poetry Month and hosted poetry events and readings. This year we are delighted to be partnering with our local independent bookstore, Laguna Beach Books, to host New York Times bestselling author Lisa See, who will discuss her new novel, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, in LCAD’s beautiful Nina’s Park during National Library week.
Selected pages from the 2015 LCAD National Library Week MindMeld Zine
One year, we asked library patrons to fill out a small form, completing the phrase, “My favorite thing about the LCAD Library is…,” and we displayed them on our front door for all to see. It was an easy, affordable and non-survey driven method to get our constituency to share their thoughts about what they like best about us. Yes, there are replies about the great books, the compact shelving, and sleeping in the window seats, but it warms a librarian’s heart to see the “helpful and friendly” library staff frequently mentioned.
Since National Library Week typically takes place during the last few weeks of the spring semester, by then the students are wearing thin with end-of-year-projects and can use a little sugary pick-me-up. Thus, we decided to celebrate National Library Workers Day in earnest — with cupcakes! Luckily, we have a bakery nearby that has a discounted rate on cupcakes on Tuesdays. We hold the event just outside of the library, adjacent to the courtyard. After I say a few words about National Library Week and why we celebrate libraries and those who work in them, everyone cheers and we all dig in. Our library’s 7th annual cupcake celebration of those who work in the library will take place at 3pm on Tuesday, April 11th, 2017.
In my office hangs a Wayne Thiebaud-esque painting by a BFA painting alumna of one of our National Library Week cupcakes she picked up a few years ago and painted in the senior studios. She titled it, “Library Day.” Every day is a library day for me, but I hope our students and faculty find their library days to be as sweet and delectable as mine.
Amy Bergener (BFA Drawing and Painting, ’13), “Library Day,” oil on canvas, 12×12,” 2013
For more information about National Library Week, visit http://www.ala.org/conferencesevents/celebrationweeks/natlibraryweek
How will YOUR library celebrate National Library Week this year?
Missed last week’s chat on instruction and assessment in art & design school libraries? We’ve got you covered. You can now download a transcript of the afternoon chat, or view slides from the session, on the ARLIS/NA Learning Portal.
Have any thoughts on this chat topic, or ideas for a future discussion? Let us know in the comments!
ADSL Afternoon Chat: Instruction and Assessment in Art & Design Libraries
Wednesday, October 26, 3pm EST // 12pm PST (via GoToMeeting)
Link to chat: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/262611149
Join the ADSL for an afternoon chat on Wednesday, October 26 from 3-4pm EST/12-1pm PST. Our conversation will focus on issues with teaching and assessment in art and design school libraries, as students and learners navigate the studio, the classroom, and professional spaces.
Prior to the chat, ADSL will share a set of guiding questions to shape the discussion, as well as a “recommended reading” list. We’ll post further details closer to the chat date; in the meantime, if you have a suggested reading or question to address, please share it in the comments!
Questions to consider:
Wang, Rui. “Assessment for One-Shot Library Instruction: A Conceptual Approach.” portal: Libraries and the Academy, vol. 16, no. 3, 2016, pp. 619-648. (Alternate link: OA preprint version)
Gendron, Heather and Sclippa, Eva. “Where Visual and Information Literacies Meet: Redesigning Research Skills Teaching and Assessment for Large Art History Survey Courses.” Art Documentation: Journal of the Art Libraries Society of North America, vol. 33, no. 2, 2014, pp. 327-344.
Halverson, Aniko. “Confronting information literacy in an academic arts library.” Art Documentation: Journal of the Art Libraries Society of North America, vol. 27, no. 2, 2008, pp. 34-38.
Murphy, Sarah Anne. “How data visualization supports academic library assessment: three examples from The Ohio State University Libraries using Tableau.” College & Research Libraries News, vol. 76, no. 9, pp. 482-486, 2015.
Reale, Michelle. “‘Hands-off’ teaching: facilitating conversation as pedagogy in library instruction.” Digital Pedagogy Lab, 28 September 2016.
ALA Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) Top Twenty: 2015’s best library instruction articles.
Following up on last week’s afternoon chat on Makerspaces and Alternative Outreach, a transcript of the conversation is now available! You can view it, along with other ARLIS/NA Lunchtime Chats, on the ARLIS/NA Learning Portal.
You can also download the transcript directly here.
ADSL Afternoon Chat: Makerspaces and Alternative Modes of Outreach in Art & Design Libraries
Tuesday, August 2, 3pm EST // 12pm PST (via GoToMeeting)
Join the ADSL for an afternoon chat on the topic of makerspaces and alternative modes of outreach and engagement next Tuesday, August 2 from 3-4pm EST/12-1pm PST. Whether you’re a veteran of the maker movement or a true newbie, you’re invited to bring your questions, ideas, and experiences with adapting library spaces to foster art practices and experimentation.
Prior to the chat, ADSL will share a set of guiding questions to shape the discussion. In the meantime, you can learn more about makerspaces and alternative engagement below. (Want to suggest a reading? Let us know in the comments!)
Link to meeting: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/825326981
Dickerson, Madelynn. Beta Spaces as a Model for Recontextualizing Reference Services in Libraries. In the Library with the Lead Pipe, May 2016. http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2016/reference-as-beta-space/
Educause. 7 Things You Should Know about… Makerspaces. Educause Learning Initiative, 2013. https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli7095.pdf
Lotts, Megan. Lego Play: Implementing a Culture of Creativity & Making in the Academic Library. ACRL Conference Proceedings 409-418. http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.7282/T3C53NJD
In 2015, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) was awarded an Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) National Leadership Planning Grant to “plan for and create a model for the academic library of tomorrow using user experience (UX) design expertise.” The library, working in tandem with a group of design students, faculty, and consultants, is developing a UX “toolkit” to support libraries (of any size) who wish to utilize UX methods to research, (re)design, and improve their services.1
This project is still in its early stages, and an early iteration of the toolkit will undergo testing this summer. Librarians and staff in different departments within SCAD Libraries will determine and explore a potential project or problem to be investigated and approached through the lens of UX design, using activities and tactics in the toolkit. Librarians will then provide the UX project team with both the results of their projects and their feedback on the toolkit itself.
While the toolkit is not yet ready for implementation, the implications of the project in relation to the current landscape of UX design is worthy of preliminary consideration, especially with regard to art and design libraries.
The terms “user experience design” and “design thinking” appear throughout both design and library design literature. While they are sometimes used interchangeably, their definitions are subtly different, and should be clarified.
User experience can be defined as the “quality of experience a person has when interacting with a specific design” (“design” in this case can refer to a product, a service, or an overall experience in a space).2 Design thinking can then be described as the habits of mind and methodologies that drive UX practices, and what can allow UX design practices and applications to be more responsive and thoughtful.
What separates both UX design and design thinking from more traditional scientific and engineering-driven solutions is the prominence of divergent thinking,3 with designers generating multiple solutions and approaches to problems or questions, often at a quick pace and with the use of rapid prototyping and lo-fi models for testing ideas. (Convergent thinking, on the other hand, is often focused on a single “ideal” solution.4)
These principles of UX design likely sound familiar, even for non-designer librarians. Several larger academic libraries have their own UX departments (see Duke, the University of Michigan, Northwestern, Georgia Tech, and NCSU); others employ a UX librarian as part of a larger team of technology or design professionals. Librarians and designers publish their case studies and research broadly across the library literature, with examples of space and service design, web-based projects, and outreach initiatives in both academic and public libraries. Weave: the Journal of Library User Experience, the first peer-reviewed journal for libraries and UX, launched last year.
The discussion of UX specifically in the context of art and design libraries is (understandably) limited. We’re a niche bunch. But would the principles and methods vary all that much, or just the solutions? And what about those standards of UX design that dictate basic practices for web development; can we take for granted that they apply as much in our institutions as with other centers of research? For studio-based practices?
UX research methods include ethnographic studies, which can inform projects and supplement primary, user-centric research. For art and design libraries, we can look to the studies of information-seeking behavior and strategies of student and faculty artists, like those detailed in Tori Gregory’s research of artists in the Southwestern US,5 Christine Larkin’s survey of visual arts scholars,6 or Shannon Robinson’s account of the behaviors of contemporary Egyptian artists.7
Ultimately, though, UX design requires a methodology that is specifically situated in the context of our users and library environments. One UX method, the journey map (or experience map) allows designers and librarians to look at how users interact with our organizations, across physical and virtual spaces, and from the user’s point of view. Through analysis and mapping of user behaviors, this tool helps designers (and librarians) to understand how our spaces and services fit into the patterns of our users’ lives. For example, at SCAD we might seek to improve research support services to graduate fibers students, situated in a studio building over one mile from the library. In this case, the journey map might include a persona, or a main character that represents some of the common characteristics of our fibers students; channels where the student interacts with the library (our website, mobile app, pop-up locations or research services on-site, the library itself); touchpoints, which spotlight where interactions between the student and library actually take place, and what the student is doing (checking out a book, downloading an article); and emotions, charting the flux in the student’s emotions throughout interactions (when a book isn’t where it’s supposed to be; when the download link breaks; when they discover a new, exciting artist after browsing and talking with a librarian).8 Through a holistic analysis of this student’s “journey” through the library spaces, designers might discover an opportunity to develop, improve, or market a service, or have their assumptions about existing services radically challenged.
As we start to adopt these practices, librarians should approach design activities with a critical eye. Consider the library website and catalog, and the implementation of anticipatory design. In business applications, design that considers the “path of least resistance” to connect users with products is key, as is an element of marketing: show them something they want, before they even know they want it. While the idea is tempting, libraries are rightly cautious in fully adopting this model. We’re not looking to be the next Amazon, and should consider the role of design in supporting logical, critical research practices. If our tools only point users in the direction of “what they want,” we run the risk of supporting confirmation bias. In utilizing UX design with a clear focus on our communities, applying a critical lens to design thinking, and not simply adopting industry standards and practices, we might be able to approach a point of “disruptive design” that removes the technical roadblocks from the research process while fostering those behaviors we encourage in the classroom.
While the SCAD toolkit is being designed to be applicable to libraries of all kinds, there are unique opportunities and constraints at art and design schools. Our institutions tend to be smaller, or a branch library within a larger ecosystem. The research being conducted by our students and faculty similarly follows non-traditional patterns and practices that don’t quite fit within the paradigm of academic research libraries. It will be interesting to see how the particular needs of an art and design library affect the development of the toolkit, and how those particularities can then be applied to broader UX design concerns. Certainly, when it comes to the more liberal practice of design thinking, an art college offers an excellent laboratory for exploring creativity across disciplines, and in the critique of our expectations and practices.
Stephanie Grimm, Research and Instruction Librarian, Savannah College of Art and Design
 The SCAD UX Toolkit research and development is funded by an Institute for Museum and Library Services “Planning” Grant, grant no. LG-82-15-0166-15.
 Kurian, George Thomas. “Divergent thinking,” AMA Dictionary of Business and Management (2013). ProQuest ebrary.
 For an example of divergent thinking in action, see any number of brainstorming or topic-development activities that instruction librarians employ in the classroom.
 Gregory, Tori. “Under-served or Under-surveyed: the Information Needs of Studio Art Faculty in the Southwestern United States.” Art Documentation: Journal of the Art Libraries Society of America, 26:2 (Fall 2007).
 Larkin, Catherine. “Looking to the Future while Learning from the Past: Information Seeking in the Visual Arts.” Art Documentation: Journal of the Art Libraries Society of North America, 29:1 (Spring 2010).
 Robinson, Shannon. “From Hieroglyphs to Hashtags: the Information-Seeking Behaviors of Contemporary Egyptian Artists.” Art Documentation: Journal of the Art Libraries Society of North America, 33:1 (Spring 2014).
 For an extended discussion of the Journey Map method, see http://uxmastery.com/how-to-create-a-customer-journey-map/