Design in Libraries

Happy Friday! I hope your week has gone well, dear readers. It was the first week of the quarter here, or rather the first two days of classes. Technically called Week Zero, but that doesn’t seem to make much sense to me, so I call it the first week. But that is neither here nor there. Today I just wanted to share a few thoughts about design and some other interesting things as we move into autumn.

First, I really think everyone needs to read this article from Smashing Magazine on how designers can stop being an afterthought. It’s a really good article, so I’ll just wait here quietly until you get back. Read it? Great. So I think that even if librarians don’t consider themselves designers, this article is really useful for our work. One of the things that I was told through my research so far into librarian designers is that they sometimes feel that design is an afterthought in their libraries. Too many people equate design with making things pretty instead of solving problems. So it is time we change that in libraries, and not just for the huge projects at big libraries with lots of funding and splashy programs. We can change that and we need to change that.

There are a lot of great suggestions in the article to re-educate people about design work (it’s not about the decorations), re-brand design work as strategic (because it already is), and improve our own work (because we can always improve). I love the reminder to talk the jargon of the administration and decision-makers at your library. If they don’t have a background in design, they can just be hearing “decoration” or “make things pretty” in their heads instead of “functional user interface” or “accessible, intuitive wayfinding.” Use the jargon you need to get the job done. Everyone at my university is always talking about strategic planning, so much talk about strategic planning, that it is a great place to jump in with strategy talk about design, especially since part of our planning is involving revamping our library’s website.

As librarian designers, we solve problems. Design, graphic design, all design solves problems and gives us the ability to communicate better. So let’s look at being the sometimes afterthought as a problem to solve and get on it.

Since it is autumn, I just had to share this fall foliage map. I’m looking forward to seeing the trees outside my office window turn colors again this year.

Also, because I don’t yet want to let the feeling of being able to travel anywhere through my summer reading slip away, I have to share this lovely image from This Is Indexed. Now if only I could read as much when the school year starts as I do in the summer, life would be even better.

And, finally, because it is Friday and Fridays need some fun, I give you this hilarious comic by xkcd.

vet by xkcd

vet by xkcd

I hope you have a fantastic rest of your day and lovely weekend. Allons-y!