People Interact

Blog about people-centered design by Lisa Chow and Sandra Sajonas.

Monthly Archives: July 2017

Wandering Librarian: Portsmouth Public Library

Wandering up the coast to America’s 3rd oldest city for July 4th, I stopped into the Portsmouth Public Library. Expecting a venerable building, I instead found a newish building. My disappointment was quickly assuaged upon entering the building. I was immediately met with an open and airy room with cozy seating areas, fantastic book displays and beautiful floral arrangements.

The 1st floor teen space is adequate as are the teen programs. The children’s section on the 1st floor is large. The children’s programs are also large in number & make up for most of the programs (which I’m discovering is common outside of NYC).

Some fun summer program highlights: Reading therapy dog, reading buddies (pair a new reader with an experienced reader) and a how-to festival to learn new skills.

My main takeaway from my visit: Portsmouth Public Library does a fantastic job of covering all the technology needs of its patrons from “old” technology like typewriters and microfilm machines to new technology like its 3D printers. The library also offers classes & 1-on-1 services to assist patrons with their digital & tech needs.

All in all, a fantastic library that’s worth a visit. I only wish I had more time for a more in-depth visit.



Wandering Librarian: National Archives at NYC

On a hot summer day, I wandered into the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House which houses the National Archives at NYC and the National Museum of the American Indian among other things.

The National Archives at NYC maintains “the historically significant records of Federal agencies and courts in New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands dating from 1685 to the present.”


I mainly looked at the exhibit display cases to the left of the welcome center where I learned more about the National Archives and the history of NYC. There is the research center to the right of the door pictured. While I did not do research during my visit, I found the staff and volunteers to be friendly and welcoming.

Admission is free, so if you’re in the NYC area, stop in and check it out.


Monthly Method Spotlight: Parkinson’s Law

Parkinson’s LawParkinson's_Law_Book

What: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” is Parkinson’s Law. It is the title of a book which made it well-known.

When/why: Remember when you were in school and you worked on an assignment the last minute when you had weeks to work on it, yet somehow you aced it anyway. Yes, it might have been luck or Parkinson’s Law might have been at play. This is not to say that procrastination is good, but when you have too much time to complete a task, many of us are bound to procrastinate. Sometimes it doesn’t take as long as you think to complete a project or task successfully.

Keeping Parkinson’s Law in mind when working on project tasks, milestones, and timelines is useful. When you are working on a project, keep in mind that if you drag the project out too long, you not only lose momentum but the work somehow expands to fill the time available. This is not to say that one should rush a project, but one should keep this law in mind when assigning, working on, or delegating project tasks.

How: Underestimate the time it will take to complete the project among your internal team. This is not about over promising and under delivering. It’s about setting challenging but realistic deadlines for your projects and for each project task. A mild sense of urgency is a good thing. Say, for example, you’re working on a book chapter or presentation. The deadline is in 3 months. Set a deadline of having a first draft in two weeks and asking a colleague to look it over, followed by a revised second draft by the third week, etc.

Tips: Decide what needs to be done and by when. Schedule the time you’re allotting for the task. Focus on the task at hand. Avoid distractions. Perfection is the enemy of progress, the task needs to be completed successfully, not necessarily perfectly.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for information.