While at ALA Annual 2016, I attended a presentation titled Be Our Guest: Creating Immersive Experiences in Libraries. Dave Cobb at the Thinkwell Group spoke, and then Steven Bell and John Blyberg briefly spoke, providing sort of a “reaction” to the presentation.
Dave Cobb introduced the idea of experience design, and gave a lot of examples along the way, including some library examples – the Cerritos Library being the most well-known example of experience design in action. You can read more about experience design elements at the Cerritos Library here.
I didn’t take a ton of notes during this presentation, but I did capture these 3 ideas:
- Experience design = storytelling medium. The idea here is to tell your story, or the story you want told, through the designing of the experiences that your customers have when they interact with your organization, both physically and digitally. Make sure the design matches the story!
- Our audience has an audience. Cool thought. Our “audience” is our customers. Their audience is their social group. Friends and family, their “friends” on social media, etc. If we help our audience have a great experience, they will share the fun time they had with their audience.
- Can’t make your own theme park, but you can make the theme park your own. You can do your own thing at a theme park/museum, and create your own experience there. Sorta like using a platform to build something else on. His examples included #disneybound – people dressing up like a Disney character, but doing it by using “normal” clothes. Here’s an example of that. Dave also talked about Museumhack – a group working to make museum tours a LOT more fun, among other things. Here’s an article about Museumhack from Nina Simon.
Anything here for libraries? Well, yes indeed!
- Libraries need to do better at telling their stories. One reason my library just won Library of the Year is that we simply told the story of what we’ve been doing for the last few years (ok, what we’ve been doing is also pretty awesome, and has been a LOT of work, but still …). We need to learn to tell our stories – using words, video, architecture, website design, and yes – experience design.
- Libraries need to think about their customers like an audience. We’re here to provide the best “show” (their library experience) for our “audience,” which means we play a role, and we have to nail it. Every. Single. Time. Easy to say, hard to do.
- Library as Platform. I’d love it if more library customers made the library their own! How awesome would it be if our customers took what we have – the library as their platform – and ran with it, building their own things on top of it (like #disneybound or Museumhack)? Find out more about the library as platform in the Aspen Institute’s Rising to the Challenge: Re-invisioning Public Libraries.
How about the digital experience? Well… I wrote a book about that!
Image from here.