The library user experience: services before content

Library Journal
Libraries will have to build a new foundation if they are to recover from these economic hard times—a foundation of valuable services, of user experience, not just free content, writes Aaron Schmidt in Library Journal.

“We need to stop focusing on giving away free content and do something different—something no other institution, civic or commercial, is doing.

This is where user experience and design thinking come into play. We spend a fair amount of time idly discussing what the future will hold. But this is a fool’s errand. It is this passivity that got us squeezed out of the containerless content game in the first place. Our time would be better spent observing the core needs of our communities and thinking of exciting ways to meet them.”

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  1. The article provides no opportunity to leave comments, so I’ll leave this one here.

    The author cites provision of services as one reason why Swedish libraries are thriving and geting new appropriations. That’s putting the cart before the horse.

    Swedish libraries have always been a source of social services, well before the current crisis. They are funded to provide these services. That makes it easier to provide them.

    It should be noted that libraries are central to Swedish culture generally. Swedes are the World’s No. in two regards: first in amount of ice cream consumed and also books read per capita.

    American libraries regrettably will never be so central. They are an add-on to civic life pioneered by Benjamin Franklin and given national presence by Andrew Carnegie and his Foundation, when Carnegie Libraries were built everywhere. Still, ours is not a reading culture. How long it will be before libraries come to be perceived as more than repositories of books and media is anyone’s guess.