"Bringing a UX librarian onboard before your organization is ready can backfire. A UX librarian unable to help an institution will feel defeated, and UX thinking will get a reputation for being ineffectual.
User experience isn’t something that can be sprinkled onto a library to make it relevant and engaging to its users. To have a meaningful impact, user experience thinking must be integrated into all aspects of a library. This means that everyone in the organization needs to consider how the decisions they make relate to other parts of the organization and impact users. This isn’t easily achieved, and it won’t magically happen by hiring someone with a neat job title.
Unless everyone on staff is already on the same page about this kind of design mentality, preparing for a UX librarian means creating organizational change.
Before thinking about a UX Librarian position, consider forming a cross-departmental UX Team. Include frontline and administrative staff from all departments. The purpose of this team is just as much about creating an organizational culture that supports UX design as it is about making direct improvements to the library. Make sure to scope this team’s charge realistically, and guarantee that its recommendations aren’t met with undue resistance.
SIGNS OF READINESS
Your library might be ready for a UX Librarian if:
• it holds regular cross-departmental meetings that people find productive
• people in the organization put ideas before their egos
• the library is ready to research its community
• change isn't a dirty word
• there's a widespread genuine desire to improve the library"
Aaron Schmidt (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a principal at the library user experience consultancy Influx (influx.us). He is a 2005 LJ Mover & Shaker. He writes at walkingpaper.org