At California’s Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD), we have discovered that 48 percent of patrons prefer finding information themselves rather than asking staff members for help. This led us to examine our user experience of signage, particularly for computer use. We wanted to place signage in the exact place where patrons need help and ensure it was meaningful in guiding them in their independent use of the library.
Facing declining visitors and uncertainty about what to do about it, library administrators in the new town of Almere in the Netherlands did something extraordinary. They redesigned their libraries based on the changing needs and desires of library users and, in 2010, opened the Nieuwe Bibliotheek (New Library), a thriving community hub that looks more like a bookstore than a library.
Makerspaces are a big trend in libraries right now. That’s a good thing because they do offer new ways of supporting critical 21st century skills (e.g. critical thinking, problem solving, digital literacy, design thinking).