People Interact

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

Tag Archives: 3D-printer

Wandering Librarian: Westport Library

The first library in our new series is in the quaint town of Westport, CT. I decided to pop in and see why the Westport Library is a finalist for the 2015 IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the highest honor given to museums and libraries.

Upon walking into the main area, I was flummoxed; they have an incredible MakerSpace. All I have to say is “they have robots!” westportrobotsBesides the robots, their MakerSpace is equipped with 3 3D printers and a Design-Thinking Center. Although after conversations with staff & patrons, the Design-Thinking Center seemed to be one of those timely grant initiatives that follow recent trends (all the buzz words were there; ideate, design-thinking, etc) but fail to capture the true purpose and objective of the trend.

Besides this detail, Westport has all the basics of a great library & them some. Overall, Westport is a user-centered library that pays attention to their patrons’ wants and needs.

Here’s a shortlist of some features that contribute to a great user experience:


  • digital lending library of ebooks, videos, films, music & audiobook
  • tech petting zoo
  • old fashion typewriter (yes, some people still want to use these)
  • phone/tablet charging station
  • public coat hooks (a small but thoughtful detail)
  • gift shop & cafe
  • self-checkout kioks
  • book a librarian services
  • print, scan & fax service that accept old fashion cash
  • wireless printing



Top 10 Future Technologies Coming in 2015

As we greet the new year we are looking forward to another year in technological innovation. Check out this video of top future technologies for 2015.

Darien Library Revisited

darien_logoIn 2010, we took a sojourn to visit Darien Library and blogged about it. Several weeks ago I decided to drop in and see what they were up to.

A short list of some cool happenings:

  • a maker space in the children’s section
  • 3, 3-D printers of various sizes for public use (when I asked what people are actually making one librarian told me he created a part for his motorcycle)
  • a heavily used Bloomberg terminal
  • a giant touch screen that is a building map
  • plans for tech fair/petting zoo this fall
  • a sign at each desk with the name of the staff member there

On this vIMG_20140805_121516isit I had the opportunity to sit with John Blyberg (Assistant Director – Innovation and UX)  and his team to talk shop. Being one of  the only devoted UX departments I’ve seen in a library, I was curious about how they fit into the library and their roles.

A list of some of our talking points:
  • they see themselves as department of consultants, administration/staff consult with them on initiatives
  • they don’t want to force population into space, want to ask community how library can be extension of what they need
  • they take a passive approach & don’t push UX, wait to see what people want
  • it took 2-3 years to guide internal culture of library around social media & technology

If you’d like to know more about Darien’s UX department & what they’re up to read their annual report available at

Sacramento Public Library: Central Library

library-picWhile on a trip to flee the East Coast storms, a visit to Sacramento included a stop at the Sacramento Central Library. The largest of Sacramento’s 28 libraries is a Carnegie building with a more recent attachment; resulting in a very spacious library. At the time, the Carnegie building was inaccessible except for the Sacramento Room housing all things Sacramento.

Greeted by the usual circulation desk, catalog computers and self check-out kiosks, navigating the rest of the main floor was difficult because of the lack of signage. There was no large floor plan to refer to. Instead, it took about 10 minutes of hunting down a library brochure located at the end of the circulation desk hidden by other brochures before I was able to find a floor plan.

I Street PressMap in hand, I continued my tour to the second floor and the impressive genealogy center where patrons can schedule one-on-one sessions with a genealogist. This floor also housed the GED and passport offices as well as the I Street Press. This is the library’s community publishing center which is also where the print-on-demand Espresso Book Machine is located. 

National  Geographic Magazines

Highlights of Visit:

  • Cleanest public restrooms ever
  • Collection of National Geographic Magazines
  • Allow to pay cash/coin to print
  • JAWS reader computer program for visually impaired
  • Friendly staff
  • Book club led by English professors
  • Patrons can see a 3D printer in action at the Arcade Library

deaf collection

Low lights of Visit:

  • Minimal signage on main floor
  • Was not able to find braille collection but did find a small “deaf collection” 
  • Was not able to tour the Carnegie building

Despite these minor low lights, the visit was enjoyable.  All in all, a very impressive library.