Education and Research Innovations

Facilitator: Jody Hoesly
Note-taker: Danianne Mizzy

Education innovation, research innovation – How do you design new library services to align with these initiatives?

What design process or model is more effective in designing new library services?  How can we adapt the entrepreneurial concepts such as Design Thinking (Stanford), Lean Start Up or others methods ( to  create a model that facilitates and gets librarians (and patrons) engaged in the process, and accelerates the design to production (D2P) of new library services?


What are effective design processes or models to design new library services?

Stanford D School
Lean Start-Up
Other models that facilitate/engage?
D2P – Design to Production

Get insight from academic program reports from departments
Process for programming and developing services, collections
Wish list of new interest programs, slow coming
Flipped classrooms
Combined science libraries – open new facility – map out spaces but services need refinement


How to keep relevant

Open source software and education

Institutional initiatives such as MOOCs, going global, etc. – library is encouraged to support and follow along after the fact

Quick wins – easy, cheap, not a lot of staff requirements

Micro to macro – bigger ideas and accomplishments

Think differently, get new perspectives

How to get cooperation and engagement from departments that are not engaged

Visioning committee – ideas for how to generate innovative ideas

Being strategic, not playing catch-up. Encroachment on library space. Perception that we are not using space well enough. Need to have a compelling plan in place that demonstrates worth before they come to repurpose your space


Many libraries going through reorganization and consolidation. No more branches, redo spaces in main library to accommodate closed branches collections, staff, services


Past – develop services in response to specific department’s or program’s needs

Harder once removed from that setting

Learn from failures but rather learn from successes



Ideas – can’t anticipate what response will be. Apprehension to invest resources unless ensured of an outcome. How to be sure? How do you foster more comfortable risk-taking environment? Harder to get support for a new idea if a peer institution hasn’t already done it and succeeded.

Try it for six weeks, a quarter.


Prototype Process

Small-scale pilot with low commitment needed in staff and librarian time. Adaptable software that doesn’t cost that much. Assess and scale-up.


Include in planning what happens after the pilot. Include in planning, assessment and next phase. How to move from pilot to production. Solution may need to be external. Set benchmarks that if the service reaches certain thresholds, (define success metrics in advance), this triggers the next level of support/funding.


D School Process at Stanford

Sarah Lester from Stanford shared that the D School approached the library to work with them on a visioning process for whole campus. What will the university look like x years out, how will students live. They sought out and wanted the library as part of this.

Small scale experiment, reconvene, take experiment apart, then continue or redirect.

Helen Josephine library lead.


As part of this process they are trying pop-up reference desks at different locations where students gather. For example, White Plaza which has the highest density of student gathering. Pop-up library offers localized reserve material; Kiosks – trying different locations

Also going to try pop-up publishing, creating customized collections/textbooks for classes


Iterations – wall of post-it notes

Coalesce ideas



Grace Baysinger – Rapid Group – charged with investigating technology

Buy-in from directorial level that if pilot successful

Projects more subject focused


Identify campus entities that do broad-based programs (graduate professional eduction, safety – try to garner support from/partner with those offices


Get user feedback – can be lightweight one-minute surveys

Learning that a direction is not one to pursue can be its own success



Jody Hosely – setting up series of 5 meetings with her staff to redesign research services


One process model

Empathize – understand users at a deeper level

Defining – define the problem/user name

Ideate – brainstorming – scaffold that “Yes, and . . .”


Test with users


How to scale it to create a wider impact

Consequences of success may require reallocation of resources to expand new service (i.e. stop doing something to free-up resources or staff – example binding journals)


Entrepreneurial process – need to remember that not all products are a huge success


How does this link to campus-level initiatives


Is there a better design for services like reference?


Move forward with new


Where do new ideas come from?

How do we know what the users really want or need?


Answers may be unreliable. Interviews of faculty and students may not yield new information.

Service needs may be different across the disciplines. Business librarian is embedded but sciences don’t have the staff to offer such a service. Hard to tell from the outset if it is too small a niche/boutique service. Try it and see.


Maybe the department could help fund an initiative. Forming deeper partnerships. Get support for graduate student staffing to help carry new services.


Core programs and services. Prioritize what is aligned and important.


Rotate content of exhibits across campus locations lessens burden to come up with exhibits. Staff at existing service points on campus.


Art & Architecture loan materials quarterly to engineering library. Internal partnership

Product design – referral across departments.

Stanford Engineering Library opportunity to do everything differently because new space where no one but support staff had ever worked together before. Painful but growth experience. If processes have outlived their usefulness, a fresh look may be needed to identify this and decide to discontinue a practice or change it.


Chaotic opportunism – somebody has money or resources – seize the opportunity. Example heard new facilities manager had end of year money. Cold called and then submitted a two page proposal for compact shelving that was funded and this laid the foundation for a new relationship with this department.


Timing of space planning can be tricky. Nature abhors a vacuum. If you clear out collections but the space stays empty too long, you might lose it. Lack of funding or clear space too early without approved and funded ideas

Challenge – librarians have to be out of the library a lot more. How do we create the structure and how do we change the way we do business (communication, meetings, etc.) to stay in synch when we are not all together physically.



Embrace change and run with it.


Being creative

Challenges – getting bigger products into production

Learn how to pitch; then put together a business plan

Innovating and expanding

How do you justify the footprint of your library – defensive planning

Map out unique services, use cases, be able back-up the current use

Set a plan in place in advance

Chaotic opportunism