[Reports] Shaping the Library to the Life of the User

Shaping the Library to the Life of the User: Adapting, Empowering, Partnering, Engaging
by Merrilee Proffitt, James Michalko and Melissa Renspie
OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc.
December 2015, 15 pages

This report provides a recap of the October 2015 Library in the Life of the User meeting that featured insights about ways libraries can provide more meaningful support based on what students, scholars and other library users really do.


  • Users increasingly have choices outside the library, and those choices are both networked and social.
  • It is far too easy to make incorrect assumptions about users’ needs and motives. Mixed methodologies, including practices based in ethnography and design, help libraries to better understand their constituents and to make wise choices.Libraries need to adapt, empower, partner and engage in order to successfully shape their future services around users’ needs.

The Library in the Life of the User: Engaging with People Where They Live and Learn
Compiled and co-authored by Lynn Silipigni Connaway
OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc.
October 2015, 226 pages

This compilation provides a sequential overview of some of our user behavior research findings that articulate the need for the design of future library services to be all about the user.


  • People associate the library with books and do not consider the library in relation to online resources or reference services.
  • People may not think of using libraries to get their information because they do not know that the services exist and some of the existing services are not familiar or do not fit into their workflows.
  • The context and situation of the information need often dictates how people behave and engage with technology.
  • Engagement and relationship building in both the online and physical environments is important for the development of successful and effective services.