Someone called me the Usability Librarian this week, and that got me thinking. I am the UX Librarian, and what does that mean to the librarians that I work with, let alone, my users? It is up to me to build relationships, and work across departments and get my vision across.
Usability is one part of what I do, but so is ethnographic research, and so is figuring out why the two large front doors of our library are locked everytime it gets cold. In the future, I want to help design experiences for library users–imagine Disney Experience meets the library! There was a recent Dr. Who episode, “Silence in the Library,” which seems to be a planet-sized book repository simply called “The Library.” There are statues of human faces that interact with the Dr. Who group. Imagine if we could provide interactions like this throughout our spaces. Kiosks that allow a user to plug in earphones and listen to a range of their favorite books. A room that a user could walk into and have a multi-media presentation of selected authors, or information about the new NSF data management requirements. Or even, real silence, in the form of a room like the Rothko Chapel, which is somber, and peaceful and even cameras are not aloud. The great thing is, libraries are already doing some amazing experiences. Aaron Schmidt wrote a column in November’s Library Journal about patron-focused design. I love the eyeglasses at the service desks!
So, maybe the title isn’t important. But, the role is, and the empathy, and the emotional connection.
So, whatever you call it, let’s continue to take the steps to build amazing experiences for users in our communities.