Saturday, 19 December 2020

Library Service Design

Finished June 12 
Library Service Design: A LITA Guide to Holistic Assessment, Insight, and Improvement by Joe J. Marquez and Annie Downey

This book promises to give methodology and tools for library service design and speak to mindset. In my opinion, it delivers.
The book is organized in three sections, each consisting of two chapters. The first explains services design so that the reader clearly understands it. The second gives example of what service design looks like. The third shows how you can own your library service design and adapt it to your needs. 
The first section talks about Henry Dreyfuss, an industrial designer who brought the human element into design, showing that interconnected elements work to fulfill the purpose of the work, and exposing the problems of decisions made in isolation. The human elements that he included meant that the designer had to work to understand the user, their needs, and even their emotions. He also showed that design is scalable and flexible. This section also discusses what makes something a service. There are three categories here, with overlaps: care, access, and response. What this looks like in the library is facilitating the access to information and enabling the tasks associated with that, which includes things like tables, desks, copies, and computers. Services also have context, purpose and function; an interaction with either another person or a thing; and are experienced rather than possessed. Points of view also come into it, through both the user experience and that of the service provider. Design elements associated with this include scripting, setting, wayfinding, and consistency. There is a sense of making the intangible tangible through some type of evidence of an exchange taking place. The authors caution against default thinking such as "I know my users", and instead encourage open-mindedness and empathy.
The second section includes both phases of the service design process and the tools and techniques used. Phases can include prework, teamwork (including assigned roles and tasks and a set of rules), scope, scheduling, an observation phase, an understanding/thinking phase, and implementation and post-assessment phases. The tools and techniques are wide-ranging and more than one type will be used in any particular case. These include ecology maps, space analysis, interviews, contextual inquiries, surveys, personas, service safaris, discussion groups, design ethnography, customer journey mapping, journaling, scenarios and expectation mapping, five whys, prototyping, analysis and synthesis, focus groups, and blueprinting. Essentially, all the what, why, how, when, who discovery methods.
The third section gets into how you can adapt service design to your specific library and service situation. In particular, it looks at how you choose your team, and the importance of communication with that group, especially listening. You will want people with functional expertise, but also those open to experimentation and learning, with critical thinking and problem-solving skills, diverse perspectives, and big-picture thinking. You will also want a user working group. With this group you also need diversity, motivators or incentives of some type, openness and transparency, and trust. You need to understand your particular context, know what is unique, have knowledge of both culture and the built environment in which you are working and the external environment that is outside of your purview but which has its effect. It also expands into changing your culture to own service design. This means stepping outside of comfort zones and not blindly following trends. You will want to have ongoing assessments that are done in a mindful way, and done regularly, with reflection, consistency, and with an eye to new projects. 
I found this book energizing and enlightening. 

1 comment:

  1. I wish I could give it to my boss, but he doesn't read English :( I love books that make you see things and ways we are used to under a different light, thanks for sharing :)