Service Design Expert Comments On Library

This is a video interview with a faculty member who specializes in service design. The main reason I’m sharing it here is that the interview takes place at the Helsinki City Library, and there is some discussion about user experience as it relates to libraries

Birgit Mager from the Köln International School of Design offers a brief overview of service design as part of an international lecture series organized last month by the Helsinki City Library – to celebrate the Library’s 150th anniversary. While she has some nice things to say about the library, with respect to its design, she admits that she doesn’t have much experience with them either (she says “I’m not the librarian type”). She tells the interviewer, “Your library is a brilliant example to how much flexibility there really is to reach the customer…I see a very lively place that is made for people.” The library she says, is a good example of a “living product” – which is what service should be.

Here at DBL, we haven’t had much to say about service design. Given the number of blogs, books, conferences and other types of information about service design, it certainly is a growing profession. The differences between designing a user experience and service design isn’t always crystal clear to me. A key difference appears to be that service design is perhaps more narrow in its focus on the service operation and the interaction between the service operator and the customer. I’m still learning more about service design. Librarians, I think, can find inspiration for new ideas in either one. If the field is new to you, take a few minutes to watch the video to learn a few new things about service design.

Author: StevenB

Steven Bell is currently Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services at Temple University, and was previously Director of the Library at Philadelphia University. Steven is the author of two regular columns published by Library Journal, From the Bell Tower and Leading From the Library. With John Shank he is co-founder of the Blended Librarians Online Learning Community. Bell and Shank are also authors of the book Academic Librarianship by Design. Bell's latest book is Crucible Moments: Inspiring Library Leadership. More information is found at his website.

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