People Interact

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

Wandering Librarian: The Newberry

Now settled into my new home, I’ve taken to wandering the libraries of the Second City. You can’t come here without visiting the Newberry Library; Chicago’s independent research library. Open since 1887, the Newberry’s impressive collection is open and free to the public. Unfortunately, I wandered in on a day the stacks were close. I did, however, get the chance to talk with one of the curators. I learned that Mr. Newberry’s original collection was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire, including an original draft of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Even with the loss of the original collection, the Newberry’s holdings of 1.6 million books, 600,000 maps, 1 million postcards and 5 million pages of manuscripts still boggle the mind. All of this is searchable with their online catalog.

The library also has a gallery where they exhibit a rotation of items from their stacks. In fact, I enjoyed their Melville: Finding America at Sea exhibit displaying their impressive collection of Melville’s works in honor of the 200th anniversary of Melville’s birth.

If you ever find yourself in the Second City, please fit it time for the Newberry Library.

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Wandering Librarian: Biblioteca Armando Olivares y Archivo Histórico UG

Wandering through Guanajuato City, I of course had to visit a library. Located in Central Mexico, Guanajuato is an incredibly beautiful and incredibly old silver mining town that was designated a World Heritage Site in 1988. It’s no surprise that I was blown away by the majesty of the University of Guanajuato’s library and archive. Tucked in the back of a little plaza, the Biblioteca Armando Olivares and Archivo Historico’s unassuming facade belies the breathtaking library inside. I had the opportunity to have a chat with the head librarian.

This is what I garnered from his broken English and my broken Spanish:

  • the library houses about 16,000 books and materials
  • they have an OPAC making their collection searchable online
  • they collection materials related to Guanajuato City, the Univerisity & some of its famous residents
  • they are open to the public and no special credential is needed to enter
  • the oldest item in the collection is a manuscript from 1495!

I could have stayed there all day exploring. Unfortunately, my impatient 4-year old wanted out and back into the Mexican sun.

Wandering Librarian: Woodstock Library

A few months ago, I took a trip upstate NY and was walking around the town of Woodstock and stumbled across Woodstock Library; a friendly and small town library packed with reading glasses, a seed lending library, a red-eyed dragon named Fireball, and more. I enjoyed my visit. Check out the photo slideshow below.

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Monthly Method Spotlight: SMART Project Management

SMART Project Management

What & Why?: We talk a lot on our blog and in our presentations & workshops about setting SMART goals as part of your career strategy –

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Relevant
Time-bound

smart goals

In preparing for our November webinar on project management for librarians, we learned that the “A” in the popular and well-known SMART criteria acronym could also stand for assignable (from The November 1981 issue of Management Review containing a paper by George T. Doran), which is an important aspect to remember for good project management. When it comes to project management, you need to make sure that the project tasks are SMART including being assignable to members of the project team.

How: As project tasks are developed, ask yourself and the project team the following questions based on the SMART criteria if these tasks are:

Specific – what exactly is the task at hand?
Measurable – how do we know if the task is completed successfully or if we’re making progress?
Assignable – is this task assignable? Who can this task be assigned to? Which team member would it make sense to assign it to?
Relevant – is this task relevant to the project or relevant to the current phase of the project?
Time-bound – when is this task due or when does this task need to be completed by in order to ensure timely project completion or project success?

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

 

Wandering Librarian: 1st post of the new year

Continuing our popular series about our wandering, this is a delayed post from this summer’s wandering in Europe. This time I was in Leiden, Netherlands. No, I did not visit Bibliotheca Thysiana, the only surviving 17th-century public library in the Netherlands or the Leiden University Library which manages the largest collections worldwide on Indonesia and the Caribbean.

Embarrassingly, my family was seeking shelter from a sudden rainstorm and ducked into the closes library; BplusC Bibliotheek Nieuwstraat (Library and Centre for Art and Culture). While my family went to the children’s area, I toured the library and noticed many similarities with American public libraries; SISO classification system which is very similar to Dewey’s system, a wide array of public programs, event spaces, self-check out system, coffee shop, etc. However, there were many firsts for me also; a fully equipped music studio complete with guitars, grand piano and drums, a printer system that accepts credit card payments, and a Plextalk devices – digital talking book players that have been especially designed for the print disabled.

Disconcertingly, in a conversation with a staff member I also learned that they share the same woes as American public libraries; mainly less & less public funding. In fact, BplusC is a paid membership for adults.

All in all a nice library experience even if it was by happenstance.

 

 

Top 10 Posts of 2018

It’s a New Year. What’s Your Career Strategy?

Looking to work on your library career strategy in the new year?

Check out this recommended list of LIS career books of 2018.

Two books that we contributed to, “Career Transitions for Librarians: Proven Strategies for Moving to Another Type of Library” and “Career Q&A: A Librarian’s Real-Life, Practical Guide to Managing a Successful Career” are on the list.

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SLA Project Management Webinar – From Idea to Implementation

We presented “From Idea to Implementation: A Project Management Case Study for Book a Librarian” as part of a project management webinar series for librarians from the Special Libraries Association (SLA).

See our webinar slides.

project management cycle

For more ideas and methods for your project management needs, check out our Monthly Method Spotlight Series.

If you attended the webinar, we would like your feedback; share your thoughts via comments.

Upcoming Webinar – Project Management for Information Professionals

sla logoJoin us on Thursday, November 29 at 2-3PM EST for “Applying Project Management to the Real World (Library)” as part of Special Libraries Association’s three-part webinar series – Project Management for Today’s Information Professional. For more info and to register.

Bathroom Blogfest 2018 Wrap Up

Toilet Paper CartoonFrom communal bathroom sinks to bathroom (kangaroo) pouches, we hope you enjoyed reading Bathroom Blogfest 2018 as much as we enjoyed writing it.

View all Bathroom Blogfest posts.

Update 11/20/18: a good friend and blog follower just shared this article with us (thanks Barbara!) “Oh, The Places You’ll Go: Toilet Signs Try to Help“. It was a very interesting read. What do you think about these toilet signs? Have you seen similar ones? Also, did you know that World Toilet Day is November 19?

Bathroom Blogfest: Communal Bathroom Sink

I’ve been seeing more and more bathrooms with communal sinks. I like it; it speeds up the bathroom line since you’re not taking up the toilet when you’re washing your hands and also once you wash your hands, you don’t have to worry about touching the (maybe not so clean) door handle. What do you think?

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Bathroom Blogfest: The Pouch

On a recent trip, I noticed this inside an airport bathroom stall. Most likely inspired by our kangaroo friends in Australia, The Pouch is “clean and secure storage” while you’re using the bathroom. Comes in handy for small items like your wallet, phone, etc.

bathroom-pouch.jpg

Bathroom Blogfest: Dryer and Sink In One

During a recent visit to Philly, I was in the National Constitution Center and noticed a blue signage label on the sink in the bathroom while I was washing my hands. It says “Place hands below to dry. Wait for air to activate.” Turns out it’s a dryer and sink in one. Wash and dry your hands in one place, although I found it initially confusing. Has anyone else seen this or something similar?

bathroom-sink-dryer.jpg

Bathroom Blogfest 2018

It’s Bathroom Blogfest 2018!

What is Bathroom Blogfest?

bathroom toiletThroughout the week, we’ll talk about the user experience of bathrooms. That’s right, bathrooms. We all use ’em. Some are your usual bathrooms, some are cool, and some are just downright confusing. This is our 8th year participating in Bathroom Blogfest. Please share your bathroom stories with us.

“During the annual Bathroom Blogfest, bloggers from around the globe write about the importance of bathrooms in the customer experience. Their posts come from a wide range of perspectives that include sociology, marketing, research, psychology, environmental, customer experience, and user-experience design.”

Read all Bathroom Blogfest posts.

Free NYC-Based CUNY TechWorks User Experience (UX) Program

For those in the NYC metro area, Kingsborough Community College (with a beautiful beachside campus in Brooklyn, NY) is offering a tuition-free user experience training program via CUNY TechWorks. Interested? More info and check out the upcoming info session for the Fall semester.

Wandering Librarian: George Baritiu Children’s Library

Next up on my wanderings through Europe; the city of Brasov in the Transylvania region of Romania. Much to my disappointment no vampire library exists. Even Bran Castle AKA ‘Dracula’s Castle’ was devoid of a vampire library. My consolation prize is the George Baritiu Children’s Library.

After wandering around & passing the entrance several times I finally found the building. This modest building offers very basic library services; books & computers. On a summer morning it was quiet. Staff informed me that in the summer they offer kindergarten classes and that it would soon be packed. When I inquired about a YA section I was told that the children’s library is for kids 0-18yrs old.

What really impressed me was the children’s jungle gym and toy library. This is the first time I have ever encountered an indoor jungle gym or toy library in a library. Yes, they actually had an indoor jungle gym for the kids. The toy library is exactly what it sound like. A shelving unit against the wall was packed with toys and board games for varying ages to play with and borrow. unfortunately you’ll have to take my word for this because I was not permitted to take photos.

Wandering Librarian: Carturesti Carusel in Romania

While on a 2 week trip to Europe, my first stop was a bookstore at the recommendation of our taxi driver. Truthfully I was disappointed that the taxi driver recommended a bookstore when I specifically asked him about libraries. However, once I stepped into Carturesti Carusel, I wasn’t so disappointed. Set in Old Town Bucharest, Carturesti Carusel, a monument turned bookstore offers an experience with no comparison.

Beyond the sheer majesty of the building, wandering around and perusing the over 10,000 books or just enjoying the beauty of the inside was a great experience for my entire family. Not a bad first stop for this wandering librarian.

Designing My Life: Good Time Journal

If you’ve been following along, I’ve decided to design my life following Burnett & Evans book.

After creating my Health/Work/Play/Love Dashboard  and Building My Compass, I next created my Good Time Journal.

 

Over a period of 3 weeks I kept a daily log of my activities. Admittedly I did the haggard-stay-at-home-mom-to-kids-under-4 version; whenever I can remember and/or have time.

Next came time for a reflection of my logs. I looked for trends in my log and attempted to get more specific about what does or does not engage me.

I used the suggested AEIOU method to help with the reflection part.

A: Activities – structured/unstructured, leader/participant, what was I actually doing?

E: Environment- inside/outside, what kind of place was it? how did it make me feel?

I: Interactions – with people/machines, informal/formal, new/familiar

U: Users- who else was I with? what role did  they play in my experience?

Career Strategy Tip – Prepare for An Uncertain Future By Second-Skilling

We recently read an interesting article titled “Could Singapore hold the secret to preparing workers for an uncertain future?” on ideas.ted.com.

We talk about learning new skills and refreshing existing skills as part of one’s career strategy on our blog, in our presentations and workshops, etc.

skills-icons

This article talks about second-skilling. “In today’s economy, second-skilling — developing your skills in a sector other than the one you work in — is necessary for career resiliency; it gives you options and flexibility. That second skill can either complement the skills you’re already using in your current job, or offer a completely alternative path.”

Incorporate second-skilling as part of your career strategy. What would you second-skill in?

Designing My Life: Building My Compass

If you’ve been following along, I’ve decided to design my life following Burnett & Evans book.

After creating my Health/Work/Play/Love Dashboard I moved to the next step; Building My Compass.

The authors ask that you reflect on your workview and your lifeview. In 30 mins I typed up an essay (<250 words) defining my values, perspectives and ‘matters of ultimate concern’ around my workview and lifeview.

This exercise helps to build coherency and connects who I am, what I believe in and what I am doing. These go beyond the day to day wishes of what your ideal work and life would look like.

 

 

Monthly Method Spotlight: Story Share & Compare

Story Share & Compare

What & Why:  Story sharing is a way for team members to get up-to-date on what other team members saw and heard in the field. This method also allows those listening to draw out anything significant or meaningful from the experience that the person may have initially overlooked.

How: Air out all of the stories and observations that stuck out to you about what you saw and heard during fieldwork. Each member of the group should tell their story and share notes while other members write down quotes, surprises, and other interesting bits. Use post-it notes and limit it to one significant item per post-it note.

Tips: Combine with other methods discussed in our previous posts like Fly on the Wall and Foreign Correspondents.

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

Wandering Librarian: The Book Trader

I was wandering around in Philly and came across a bookstore called The Book Trader. With books stacked from almost ceiling to floor, it was an overwhelming (so many books) yet interesting browsing experience. Also, you can’t go wrong with Mickey and Minnie in the kids’ section.

 

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May 14th Event Recap: Asian American Librarians and Library Services

As contributors to the newest and first book on this topic: Asian American Librarians and Library Services: Activism, Collaborations and Strategies, we (along with a couple of fellow Pratt alums and others) were a part of a panel at Pratt last week There were lots of interesting discussions as well as those I can totally relate nods, laughs, stories, and perspectives shared. Check out the write-up in American Libraries.

We talked a bit about our chapter titled Going Beyond the Bamboo Ceiling: Issues and Challenges for Asian Pacific American Patrons and Librarians.

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Wandering Librarian: A Little Library in Philly

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I was in Philly recently and came across A Little Library. It’s interesting to see the different little libraries (how they’re set up, what the library is made out of, and of course, what kind of books there are).

In this case, there are two separate little libraries: one is for children’s books and the other is for non-children’s books. A little house was made for the children’s books and a newspaper dispenser is being used for the other books.

It’s good to see that books are made easily accessible in many communities and neighborhoods via the little libraries.

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Monthly Method Spotlight: MoSCoW Prioritization

MoSCoW Prioritization

What & Why:  There can be a lot of features/requirements when it comes to project ideas and projects, also many with short timelines and quick turnaround times. How do you prioritize them? One way to prioritize when managing projects is to use the MoSCow method.

M – MUST HAVE:
Features/Requirements that are non-negotiable for the success of the project.

S – SHOULD HAVE:
High-priority requirements/features that are not critical to launch but are considered important and of a high value.

C – COULD HAVE:
Features/requirements that are desirable but not necessary. May be removed or pushed to future stage of development if project completion timeline is at risk.

W – WOULD LIKE TO HAVE BUT WON’T HAVE (AT THIS TIME): Features/requirements that will not be implemented in a current release but may be included in a future stage of development. Such requirements usually do not affect the project success.

priority-scrabble

How: Request input from your project team and stakeholders using the method. Use a combination of other methods such as dot-voting. This method can also be used in your personal life; anything from making a major purchase like a house or a car (what features are a must have, etc.) to cooking a meal (what ingredients are a must have, what can be skipped, etc.)

We cover the MoSCoW method and other project management methods in our getting started in project management workshop for librarians

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

Gathering Feedback: What is the Purpose of Your Visit Today?

I visited the Mutter Museum during my recent trip to Philly and I noticed the museum’s fun and simple way of gathering feedback via the use of the visitor tag.

Directions: drop your visitor tag into one of the four lab flasks below and let us know: Why did you come to the museum today?
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Flasks: Class trip/group trip, On a date, Visiting Philadelphia/bucket list, and None of the above.
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It’s a simple and easy way of getting feedback, especially in this increasingly survey-fatigued world. It’s also a way to collect and reuse/recycle the visitor tags.

One suggestion: empty the “Visiting Philadelphia” flask (in this case) since it seems pretty full and may affect/influence future responses (i.e. visitors may drop it in another flask because the one they would select is full).

Upcoming Event: May 14th Event on Asian Americans and Libraries

As we mentioned recently, Asian Americans and Libraries: Activism, Collaboration and Strategies for the 21st Century was recently published.

Join us for an upcoming event on May 14th – a round table of Pratt alums (including yours truly) who are contributors to the newest and first book on this topic on how librarians and libraries are engaging with diverse Asian Pacific American communities today.

Support the Asian Pacific American Community: Librarians on Diversity, Inclusivity and Civic Engagement

Date: Monday, May 14, 2018
Time: 5:30PM-7PM
Location: Pratt Manhattan located at 144 W 14th St (ROOM 213)

Free event, RSVP required

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, join us for this exciting round table to hear from Pratt alums who are contributors to the newest and first book on this topic: Asian American Librarians and Library Services: Activism, Collaborations and Strategies on how librarians and libraries are engaging with diverse Asian Pacific American communities today.

Through a series of collaborative and community engagements, speakers will share their experiences in creating inclusive environments in the profession, and how they are diversifying the resources and services to support the growing Asian Pacific American communities in NYC and beyond. Come learn more about the different career experiences of Pratt alums and their views of the field today.

Speakers:
Lisa Chow, People Interact Consultancy and Brooklyn Public Library (Pratt Alum)
Michelle Lee, New York Public Library (Pratt Alum)
Sandra Sajonas, People Interact Consultancy (Pratt Alum)
Miriam Tuliao, Penguin Random House (Pratt Alum)
Arlene Yu, New York Public Library (Pratt Alum)
Janet Clarke, Stony Brook University Libraries
Ray Pun, California State University, Fresno

RSVP for the event

Meanwhile, check out the book and our chapter – Going Beyond the Bamboo Ceiling: Issues and Challenges for Asian Pacific American Patrons and Librarians.

Wandering Librarian: Revisiting the Little Island Library

5 years ago while on a trip to Culebra, PR I stopped in to see their tiny library housed in 2 shipping containers. I stopped in again while on vacation  recently to see how the library is after 2 hurricanes passed through the Caribbean last fall.

I’m told by volunteer staff that the library was one of the first places opened after the hurricane. 6 months post hurricanes the library is in full swing. Patrons were inside on the computers or outside making use of the free wifi. My family went to the main shipping container to the children’s area to play with the toys & games, pick out books & enjoy the air conditioner. The other container houses the movie theater. I was impressed that their movie line contains all recent movies. Considering the space constraints, I was also impressed by the breadth of the collection. Though a little out of date on the nonfiction titles, the fiction titles are surprisingly recent titles. The volunteer informed me that they have another shipping container that houses books that they rotate through the collection.

All, in all, 5 years later I am still amazed by this little island library. Even more so once I saw how quickly they were up and running after a natural disaster.

Wandering Librarian: Book Nook at Reading Terminal Market

I was in Philly recently and made my usual stop at the Reading Terminal Market. In addition to a  few new restaurants & shops since the last time I was there, I noticed that there is a children’s reading corner called Book Nook, a partnership between Reading Terminal Market and the Free Library of Philadelphia.

There are a few Book Nook rules (such as take a book, leave a book) and a Book Nook storytime schedule (1st and 3rd Wednesday morning of each month). It’s good to see that libraries are finding ways of going beyond their buildings’ walls to provide library resources and services. Reminds me of Darien’s Library stash of books at the nearby MetroNorth train station; why not take a book to read on the train.

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Monthly Method Spotlight: Value Proposition

Value Proposition 

What & Why: A value proposition is a short, concise description of a service and why it’s valuable. It helps a team to narrow down and come to a consensus of what you are aiming for with a design.

How: Early in the process, reducing the process to answer what it is, who it’s for, where/when it will be used etc. can help to simplify designs.

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

Wandering Librarian: HPL @ the Children’s Museum of Houston

While on a trip to Houston I was pleasantly surprised to find a library at the Children’s Museum of Houston. The Parent Resource Library is a satellite of the Houston Public Library system that serves America’s 4th most populous city.

Stepping inside to get a moment of quiet from the madhouse of a children’s museum on a rainy Saturday, the library was small but contained essentials such as computers, a small collection & thematic bags of books for loan. While my look into the HPL system was brief and tiny, I am impressed by their outreach efforts & services to the diverse city of Houston.

Just some examples:

  • laptops & tablets available for loan
  • mobile wifi hotspots available for loan
  • 4 express libraries
  • mobile express libraries
  • 31 neighborhood libraries
  • 4 regional libraries
  • 3 special collection libraries

 

Save the Date: May 14th Event on Asian Americans and Libraries

As we mentioned a couple of months ago, Asian Americans and Libraries: Activism, Collaboration and Strategies for the 21st Century was recently published.

Save the date for an upcoming event on May 14th – a round table of Pratt alums (including yours truly) who are contributors to the newest and first book on this topic on how librarians and libraries are engaging with diverse Asian Pacific American communities today.

SAVE THE DATE

Support the Asian Pacific American Community: Librarians on Diversity, Inclusivity and Civic Engagement

Date: Monday, May 14, 2018
Time: 5:30PM-7PM
Location: Pratt Manhattan located at 144 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011
6th Floor, School of Information

RSVP for the event

May 14th APA Event

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, join us for this exciting round table to hear from Pratt alums who are contributors to the newest and first book on this topic: Asian American Librarians and Library Services: Activism, Collaborations and Strategies on how librarians and libraries are engaging with diverse Asian Pacific American communities today.

Through a series of collaborative and community engagements, speakers will share their experiences in creating inclusive environments in the profession, and how they are diversifying the resources and services to support the growing Asian Pacific American communities in NYC and beyond. Come learn more about the different career experiences of Pratt alums and their views of the field today.

Speakers:
Lisa Chow, People Interact Consultancy and Brooklyn Public Library (Pratt Alum)
Michelle Lee, New York Public Library (Pratt Alum)
Sandra Sajonas, People Interact Consultancy (Pratt Alum)
Miriam Tuliao, Penguin Random House (Pratt Alum)
Arlene Yu, New York Public Library (Pratt Alum)
Janet Clarke, Stony Brook University Libraries
Ray Pun, California State University, Fresno

RSVP for the event

Meanwhile, check out the book and our chapter – Going Beyond the Bamboo Ceiling: Issues and Challenges for Asian Pacific American Patrons and Librarians.

Standing Status Meetings

Standing-MeetingPart of our work is helping organizations improve organizational effectiveness and performance. We were recently asked how to improve team communication. We’ve shared tips on how to run effective meetings (we’re big on walk & talk meetings).

We recommended trying 10-15 minute standing check-in meetings with your team. During these standing status meetings, team members would check in with each other (i.e. what are you working on, what issues are you running into, what resources do you need, etc.).

Have you tried standing meetings? How did they work out?

Read more on Wikipedia about stand-up meetings.

Monthly Method Spotlight: Foreign Correspondents

woman-correspondent-news-world-graphic-drawingForeign Correspondents

What & Why:  Garnering input from users from other countries to gather information about the varied cultural contexts in which products and services are used.

How: Request input from coworkers and users to conduct a cross-cultural study. Use a combination of other methods such as surveys, unfocus groups, etc.

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

Designing My Life: Health/Work/Play/Love Dashboard

As mentioned in previous posts, I’m designing my life with the help of Burnett & Evans’ book Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life.

For my first activity I completed my dashboard to gauge where I currently am in my life.

After completing my dashboard I could definitely see some areas I can work on. It’s also important to point out “gravity problems”. These are areas that cannot be changed, i.e. weather, the fact that I have 2 young kids. These are issues that won’t change but that I can be creative with working around.

Design Thinking: How Librarians Are Incorporating It Into Their Practice


Design Thinking: How Librarians Are Incorporating It Into Their Practice

DATE AND TIME:

Thu, March 8, 2018

12:00 PM – 3:00 PM PST

I just registered for this free and online event & hope to learn about some interesting ways libraries around the USA are using design thinking. I will be posting a summary of the presentation for those who are not able to attend.

Happy 2018: Monthly Method Spotlight

Happy 2018!

Since 2013, we have shared one people-centered method each month. We will be continuing our Monthly Method Spotlight.

We’ll go over What, When/Why and How.

Stay tuned for our first method of the year in February.

A Year in Review and Looking Ahead

Another year is coming to an end. Here’s our look back and look ahead.

year-review

A Year in Review:

Looking Ahead:

  • We’re gonna continue with our Monthly Method Spotlight and Wandering Librarian series, so keep an eye out and let us know if you have suggestions of libraries, bookstores, and archives to explore.
  • We are reading Designing Your Life and look forward to continue learning how design thinking can be used not only for our careers, but also for our lives, in general.

How was your year? What are you looking ahead to?

Wandering Librarian: Valladolid, Yucatan

On a recent family vacation to Mexico, I of course had to visit a library in the town of Valladolid where we were staying. Unfortunately, the Dia de la Revolucion meant the public library was closed. Downtrodden, I stumbled upon an English library next to Casa Hamaca where we were staying.  I spoke with the German volunteer about the library. Turns out it was a library for the English classes taught for free by volunteers. Speaking more with the owner of the Casa Hamaca, I was told that the library was cataloged by a volunteer librarian. (I had wondered how and why the collection was ordered under the Dewey System).

The conversation went further into the need for more English materials and also the problem of getting updated materials to the outlying Mayan villages. Hmmmm, future project for us?

 

Asian Americans and Libraries

Asian American Librarians and Library Services - Activism, Collaborations, and Strategies

Just came in the mail and hot off the press! Asian Americans and Libraries: Activism, Collaboration and Strategies for the 21st Century was just published last month.

Check out the book, related podcasts, and our chapter – Going Beyond the Bamboo Ceiling: Issues and Challenges for Asian Pacific American Patrons and Librarians.

Monthly Method Spotlight: Informance

Informance

What:  A “informative performance” of behaviors that you have witnessed or researched. Informance uses acting as a way to tell, explain and share an idea.

When/why: Informance is a good way to build a shared understanding of a concept.

How: Designers showcase an idea by role-playing and putting on a performance.

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

Designing Your Life with Design Thinking

A recent article in the Technician online has got me thinking about the yet unlabeled life crisis sandwiched between quarter and mid-life that me and many of my peers are be going though. The article discussing design thinking as applied to life/career counseling.

The Designing Your Life Workshop will teach students how to design a life and career they will love using design-centered thinking. In the beginning, the workshop was inspired by a visit by three deans from NC State to Stanford University’s design school where they explored the concept of design thinking. The workshop is also based on the book “Designing Your Life,” by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans.

Using design thinking principles and methods, students are being equipped with tools necessary to put together an action plan to apply to their life/career.

Unfortunately the workshop was only available to students. But this has article has lit a fire and I hope to apply design thinking to my career action plan. Meanwhile, I can at least start by reading Burnett & Evans’ book.

 

Using Design Thinking on My Career

In a recent article for Fast Company, a former lawyer applies design thinking to reinvent her career.

  1. First she observed and defined the problem. – Mainly, what does she love doing at work?
  2. Next she moved to the ideation stage.  – She generated as many ideas as possible. For her that meant a list of all the activities that excited her.
  3. Then she used rapid prototying to test her list from the ideation stage. Conducting information interview was the easiest way to rapid prototype.
  4. Getting feedback and iterating was next.
  5. Finally she implemented and acted on her solution which was to apply to a psychology program.

I enjoyed this article and it has inspired me to apply design thinking in my own career and life.

Monthly Method Spotlight: Extreme User Interviews

Extreme User Interviews

What: Extreme user interviews are evaluations by individuals who are completely familiar or unfamiliar with a product or service.

When/why: Extremely familiar users can highlight key issues or problems. Extremely unfamiliar users may inspire insight for improvements.

How: Traditional question and response interview techniques can be used or a number of other UX methods mentioned in previous Monthly Method Spotlight posts.

Tips: Extreme user interviews are best done one-on-one to insure interviewees are not influencing each other in their responses.

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

Bathroom Blogfest 2017 Wrap Up

Toilet Paper CartoonFrom eco-restrooms and composting toilets to bathrooms fit for the president, we hope you enjoyed reading Bathroom Blogfest 2017 as much as we enjoyed writing it.

As we wrap up this year’s bathroom blogfest, it’s time for NYC to step up re: public restrooms. Check out a recent Time Out New York article on public restroom availability in cities (from retractable toilets in Amsterdam to self-cleaning toilets in Paris to high-tech toilets in Tokyo).

View all Bathroom Blogfest posts.

Bathroom Blogfest 2017: Bathroom Use Instructions

Saw this sign in a bathroom recently. A picture is a worth a thousand words. How to use the bathroom.

bathroom-sign

It’s October, Halloween, Fall, and Back to School/Career Development

Hello OctoberSkeletons, witches, pumpkins, haystacks, apple cider, pumpkin spice, and everything nice. It’s October (and almost Halloween) and Fall is here (sorta, it doesn’t quite feel like it yet here in the NYC metro area). Either way, it’s back to school.

Here are some ideas to get you started on your career development this Fall:

  • Search and add: Now that the summer lull is over, look for meetups, conferences, workshops, and networking events of interest and add them to your calendar.
  • Chat and catch up over [insert beverage of choice]: Reconnect with your colleagues after the summer months. Schedule coffee (or hot chocolate or apple cider or tea – the options are limitless) meetings.
  • Brush off the cobwebs: Update your LinkedIn profile and your master resume.
  • Career plan strategically: Check out our career & professional development blog posts and our leadership & career development presentations.
  • Check in: Make a list of upcoming projects and work, so you have a better idea of what’s on your plate for the next few months or year and know what continuing education and professional development opportunities you can do energy- and time-wise.

 

Wandering Librarian: NYPL Roosevelt Island

I enjoy riding the Tram every so often, so a few weeks ago, I was wandering around Roosevelt Island and ended up in the New York Public Library (NYPL) Roosevelt Island branch. It was a fairly warm day outside and the library was no exception. There were a few fans and a portable AC on.

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A few highlights:

  • It’s got a small town feel.
  • There’s a little bit of everything.
  • Noticed that NYPL has a welcome guide.
  • Found out that it’s going to be renovated, which is great, but I hope the friendly small town feel is kept post-renovation.

Fall METRO UX Meetup Recap

We had a great Fall METRO UX meetup a few weeks ago in an awesome space where we learned about how Andrew Chepaitis (founder of ELIA Life Technology) and his team have used industrial design, organizational psychology, design thinking, and user testing to develop and tweak their tactile based system for the visually impaired.

Our meetup members were excited to hear and learn about ELIA and there were conversations about the potential for future collaborative work together among different groups/organizations/individuals, which is exactly one of the main things we hope our meetup does — connecting people and groups in improving UX.

Check out the photo slideshow below.

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Till our next meetup.

Digital Universities

Recently, I read an article in The Guardian discussing university libraries providing more accessible services and collections for the growing “digital native” student body. While I agree that university libraries need to shift their emphasis from physical library space to the digital realm, I do think they should keep UX in mind. Not just usability of the platforms but consider UX from the beginning; do “digital natives” even want everything online? Are there content and services they would prefer in analog?

Which brings me to another recent article bringing up Google’s project to digitize millions of university library books. This was an incredibly ambitious project that started in 2002 that even the Google gods couldn’t achieve. But why should they? Again I ask, do users even need or want digital access to all the university holdings?

Since library resources are finite, perhaps we should first start with some UX studies (surveys, focus groups, interviews, etc) of the current and incoming university students to see what they want and expect from their university library.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.