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Responding to rapid change in libraries

CHICAGO — In the face of rapid change and an ever-widening constellation of challenges, it’s crucial for library leaders to pull back to the question of “why?” Plotting a sustainable way forward depends upon recommitting ourselves to our underlying values, such as customer service and community-building, while fostering the improvements that change makes possible. In “Responding to Rapid Change in Libraries: A User Experience Approach,” published by ALA Editions, noted speakers and consultants Callan Bignoli and Lauren Stara speak directly to library directors, managers, administrators, and technology staff, offering concrete guidance on setting or resetting strategic priorities. Taking an interconnected and specific approach to planning for and strengthening the library environment as a whole, their book:

  • discusses why libraries should embrace change as a fundamental part of library life; 
  • explores how to harness rapid change to provide more responsive, user-centered library service;
  • addresses the ways in which libraries straddle the physical and the digital, in areas such as service provision and collections, illuminating how they overlap and can be improved using similar philosophies;
  • presents both a comprehensive overview of library technologies as well as related team and change management advice, all grounded in user experience principles;
  • shows how the concepts of sustainability and flexibility apply to physical space planning and design, from furniture selection and arrangement to infrastructure; and
  • provides sound guidance on project management, problem solving, preparing for future challenges, personal reflection and self-care, and other leadership topics.

Bignoli is the director of the library at Olin College of Engineering in Needham, MA. She was previously the assistant director of a busy three-branch public library (Brookline, MA) and worked at the state library agency in Massachusetts (Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners). Stara is a Library Building Specialist with the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, helping public libraries around the Commonwealth improve their physical spaces. A registered architect and a librarian, she has worked in and/or consulted for libraries in eight US states, three Canadian provinces, and three Eastern European countries. She has taught at library schools in Canada and Bulgaria, and she speaks and presents frequently on library design, design thinking and service design.

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