Case study

Třinec Library: Still in the beginning of the design process

Knihovna Třinec

For

Users

Time

1.5 years

Number of people in the team

26

The librarians from Třinec started thinking about service design once they learnt that the library building, which formerly served as a nursery school, was to be completely reconstructed.

All the librarians from Třinec were involved in the service design, which, together with in-depth interviews and questionnaires, helped Třinec Library to understand who their users are and who they are not. The overall result was 46 so-called micropersonas, which provided the librarians with a wide variety of views on the library and life in Třinec. What is more, the service design became an important mindset for working with users and fulfilling their needs.

The procedure employed by the library

Consultations

Even though they increasingly talked about service design when preparing for the reconstruction, the concept of service design was still quite unfamiliar for the Třinec librarians. This is why they consulted with the Division of Information and Library Studies at Masaryk University in Brno (KISK) and Adam Hazdra, who helped them with the first steps of the design process. Together, they defined the design challenge, which was the basis for the next phases of the design process.

Designová výzva

„Jak bychom se mohli stát třetím místem v životě Třinečanů“.

Brainstorming and personas

An internal team worked on the preparations: Martina Wolna and Martin Čadra. In the end, the whole library team, from librarians to supporting workers, participated in the design process.
The team attempted to define who the users of the library were on several meetings. This resulted into  46 micropersonas. At first glance, it might seem as a huge number, but the actual aim really was to describe all the possible groups of users. These include even people who do not actually go to the library or those who do not use its services on regular basis.
In case there was a need to design a more general service, micropersonas might be combined to form a more general persona.

Examples of micorpersonas

- An unemployed person

- A student

- Primary school teacher

- Homeless person

- Senior 65+ years

Discussions with users and collecting suggestions

In the next phase, Třinec librarians conducted a few dozens in-depth interviews.
The interviews were supposed to be as informal and as open as possible, which is why they were not conducted in the library. The librarians met the interviewees in cafés, parks, or bars.

They collected specific proposals and suggestions, but the most valuable of all was the finding that the library is still important for its users and is one of the places where they feel well. They also benefited from the valuable experience of actively involving users in the process. The library was pleasantly surprised with users’ willingness to cooperate.

We seeked answers to the following questions

- What should the new library offer to readers, visitors, and users?

- What kind of library do the users wish?

- Who are the users of Třinec Library and who are not; where do they feel well?

Třinec Library continues with the process

The usual outcome of the design process is a specific service or product. This did not happen in the case of Třinec Library. And why?
The timing worked against the librarians. They came up with service design of the new library at the time they were too limited in influencing its final form. This, however, does not mean that either the  librarians or the users are disappointed.
The new library space provided them with issues most of the respondents asked or wished for. More space, more spaces for sitting and relaxing, a literary café, etc.
Of course, the work of Třinec librarians did is not finished, it goes on. Design methods are continuously used in the Třinec library. They, for example, employed SWOT analysis when preparing a strategic plan. How might we... methodology helped them to create a final versions of several small, yet important, services. You may read about their experience with other methods in the e-book.

Keep in mind that...

  • More thorough and extensive researches should be conducted in a bigger team of people. It is more than a personal feeling of being involved and understanding the joint effort; for example, members of direct services (lending department) can also come up with interesting tips and insights.
  • It is important to start with the service design in the right time.
  • The most valuable part of the library are the people - librarians. This was one of the most frequent answers in users responses. The one thing users value the most is the presence of librarians and their work. A library without people would not be a library.

What users say about the change

  • “I really appreciate the fact that people from library reached out to me and asked me about my opinion. I think that I go to the new library even more often and with bigger enthusiasm than I used to.”

Do you need any advice on the procedure?

Martina Wolna (reditelkaatknihovnatrinec.cz), Martin Čadra (martin.cadraatknihovnatrinec.cz) or Honza Delong (jan.delongatknihovnatrinec.cz).

Methods used

Desk Research

When you need to quickly obtain valuable information

When you need to process the data to create a prototypical user

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