David Vinjamuri talks about ethnographic design in libraries

Avoid the Cookie-Cutter Library

June 30, 2022

At “Ethnographic Design: Creating Culturally Centered Library Spaces,” Huberty and David Vinjamuri, adjunct associate professor of marketing at New York University, discussed how they apply ethnographic design in new libraries and remodeling projects. They were joined by community librarian Julie Retherford from Chetco Community Public Library in Brookings, Oregon, who shared her experiences from a … Continue reading Avoid the Cookie-Cutter Library


Taming the Wild Web

May 2, 2022

Whether or not a library wants a specific element on its site may be irrelevant; the web design and user experience fields are now based on the science of usability, not subjective judgments. Back in the early days of the web, a fair amount of design work happened in a vacuum, lacking real guidelines and … Continue reading Taming the Wild Web


Meeting Every Maker

May 2, 2022

Acknowledging that gap, our research team set out to explore the accessibility of public library makerspaces. We did this through focus groups with disability advocates and stakeholders, with grant support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Every makerspace is different, we learned, but there were some common themes in our discussions with participants. … Continue reading Meeting Every Maker


2021 ALA/AIA Library Building Awards

September 1, 2021 The following libraries are winners of the 2021 Library Building Awards, sponsored by Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures (a division of the American Library Association) and the American Institute of Architects. The awards recognize the best in library architecture and design and are open to any architect licensed in the United States. Projects may be located … Continue reading 2021 ALA/AIA Library Building Awards

Librarian's Library by Araceli Mendez Hintermeister

Design Inspiration

September 1, 2021

    100+ Ideas to Inspire Smart Spaces and Creative Places By Elisabeth Doucett Doucett invites librarians to find inspiration in the spaces around them to create a more engaging and inviting experience for patrons. Through short, standalone chapters, the author guides readers on the ways in which they can attract new patrons and welcome … Continue reading Design Inspiration


A floor plan for furniture removal at Hennepin County (Minn.) Library’s Eden Prairie branch. Illustration: MSR Design

Virus-Responsive Design

September 1, 2020

Traci Engel Lesneski, CEO and principal at Minneapolis-based national architecture firm MSR Design, which has worked with hundreds of libraries across the country, says libraries are ideal spaces for innovative design solutions. “It’s not a stretch to think about the ways that libraries have modeled what’s next in the world,” she says. “Libraries can talk … Continue reading Virus-Responsive Design


John Jung

Exploring Speculative Design

January 27, 2020

Jung and Renee Albrecht-Mallinger, senior design researcher at IA Collaborative, hosted a reading group at a collaborative art space in Chicago to address climate change through speculative design, with an end goal of creating an art piece that would engage people and get them to think more deeply about the topic. Jung spoke about the … Continue reading Exploring Speculative Design


K. O. Lee Aberdeen (S.Dak.) Public Library, from framing to final product. Photos: K. O. Lee Aberdeen Public Library (top three); Spencer Sommer/MSR (bottom)

How to Build a Library

September 3, 2019

These libraries, each completed within the past three years, are now centerpieces of their communities. They have inspired awe and appreciation, increased user engagement, received architecture and design awards—and won over some of their critics. So how did these endeavors come together? How does a beautiful building become a reality? We asked three administrators—who have … Continue reading How to Build a Library


From the President by Wanda Kay Brown

Inclusive by Design

September 3, 2019

“When you can navigate a space, whatever that space may look like, and you don’t have to ask for help and you can do it independently, that’s confidence-building,” he says. When we think of some of the foremost goals of our profession—advocating for the value of libraries, librarians, and library workers as well as promoting … Continue reading Inclusive by Design


Sarah Studer and Arnold Phommavong at the "Libraries Transform: Social Innovation" program at the ALA 2019 Midwinter Meeting in Seattle.

Innovating with Creativity and Empathy

January 27, 2019

“[It’s remembering that] the people most affected by the problem have the best ideas on how to solve the problem,” said Sarah Studer, assistant director of the Arthur W. Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. Studer shared with library professionals her philosophy on collective action and using business … Continue reading Innovating with Creativity and Empathy


April Aultman Becker, dean of library and research technologies at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas, used Microsoft Publisher to design this series of bookmarks in her previous role as education coordinator at Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center Research Medical Library.

Cutting Out the Clip Art

September 4, 2018

“The first flier I ever designed had a clip-art border,” confesses Lamarre, head of children’s services at Duxbury (Mass.) Free Library (DFL) and a freelance graphic design consultant. “I had no idea that that wasn’t the proper way to design an eye-catching flier.” Pixelated photos, inappropriate font choices, and other design depravities—including, yes, clip art—often … Continue reading Cutting Out the Clip Art


Dispatches, by Hsuanwei Michell Chen

Design and Conquer

May 1, 2017

Be clear and concise. Ensure that the data you are illustrating is comprehensive and accurate. The goal is to convey the greatest number of ideas in the smallest amount of space in the shortest number of words. A good resource to review for inspiration is The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte. … Continue reading Design and Conquer