OOOHHH! OOHHH! I want to be a library experience designer!

eager_studentI am ready to become a “library experience designer” (Schmidt, 2010, January 15).

We have textbooks on reserve in my college library. Students want to take them to class when they have left their book at home, or take the 1818 version of Frankenstein home to read. Our reserve policies prevent this behavior. Textbooks and course reserves can only be used in the library for two hours.

Students run through the library gates! I tried chasing a student, and I lost him in the shuffle between classes. I don’t blame him! It is a ridiculous policy. Our students have busy lives, and do not have time to sit for two hours and read Frankenstein, and they may not have the money to buy a copy of the book.


“If you change your mind about yourself and the people around you, it will revolutionize your work.” (Schuster, 2011, January 4)

I think if we realize our students are not thieves but people who want to be educated our policies would reflect our trust in them. Staff checkout books to their friend’s child or someone they know. I am not big on making exceptions. If one person can take the textbook from the library, everyone should be able to leave the library with a textbook. This led to a heated debate with my colleagues a couple of years ago, and I lost.

“You need to listen to and observe your community in order to develop an empathetic focus on people.” (Schmidt, 2010, January 15)

How can we better serve our students if we will not even listen to them? I know they need the book to complete their homework, but I refuse to allow them to take the book home for a night or two to read. Does this make sense? What am I so afraid of?

Wayne Bivens-Tatum says it best

“Making things better for library users isn’t that difficult if we just shake ourselves out of our complacency, forget what it’s like to be a librarian, and remember what it’s like to be a normal person again.” (2010, p. 8)

Every time I relate to a student, and I understand they have come to the library for help I provide better service. We get lazy and are unwilling to change. Sometimes we are afraid to do something different. There are 6 other city colleges in my system; do I dare to be different? The answer is YES! The people we serve are as diverse as the resources we have available for them. I have to think and consider them when I make policies and implement change. My goal is to make a better UX experience for them.


Bivens-Tatum, W. (2010). Imagination, sympathy, and the user experience. Library Journal, 8.

Schmidt, A. (2010, January 15). New column launch: The user experience [Web log post]. Library Journal. Retrieved from

Schuster, D. (2011, January 4). Debunking the user experience [Web log post]. unmatchedstyle. Retrieved from

Image credits:

Eager student with hand raised,

Library gates,

4 responses to “OOOHHH! OOHHH! I want to be a library experience designer!

  1. Your passion is contagious! Good on you for having a civilized debate with your colleague about the reserves policy. I understand some reasoning for the 2 hour limit, but there must be some exceptions. Perhaps we can offer multiple checkout options for reserves: 1 hour, 2 hours, 6 hours, overnight. Or, maybe we can offer 4 overnight checkouts per semester on a given reserve item?

    Not sure…just thinking aloud.

  2. I agree with you @kyle we should have various time limits. It makes me so upset that Frankenstein is a 2 hour limit. Who is going to sit in the library just to read Frankenstein? I will be Department Chair and this is one of the first changes I am going to make. 🙂

  3. Bravo! I hope you succeed in changing the silly rules. Let commonsense dictate what our rules should be. You’ve inspired me to take on the mantle of a Don Quixote and try to get them to change a policy here. I teach so I’m not in the library, but a colleague convinced the school to buy about 70 novels for English language learning. These books are not allowed to be checked out. These novels are the perfect kind of language input to get students’ proficiency to increase. Many students aren’t that motivated to begin with. So putting an additional barrier up doesn’t make any sense.

  4. I agree with @kyle – your passion speaks to how much you care about service. I hope you can continue to share and advocate for policies to change. Using evidence in the form of Aaron’s work and our course content may help you.

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