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Professional Development

Safari Tech Books Online

January 26, 2015 | Susan | Comments (0)

Have you ever felt sheer panic when faced with an unfamiliar piece of technology?

A few years ago, when Windows 8 first came out, I was expecting a spiffier-looking version of Windows 7. Instead, the operating system looked different, the icons were in all the ‘wrong’ places, and the Start menu was nowhere to be found. When library customers needed help with basic tasks on their Windows 8 laptops—be it connecting to the Wi-Fi or opening a Microsoft Word document—I was stumped. I admit I panicked. If I didn’t own a Windows 8 PC, how was I supposed to learn to use one?

Safari Tech & Business Books Online saved my life!

ProQuest Safari Books Online

I accessed a few introductory videos and quickly learned the basics. Then, I turned to eBooks—and the ‘search this book’ feature—to find all the information I needed. My Windows 8-related anxiety just melted away.

Search This Book  Using Windows 8

Before you ask, I did also search Google and YouTube, both of which are great resources when you have tech questions. I found I prefer Safari because it provides trusted content that’s thorough, well-organized, up to date, and easy-to-understand.

Safari is now a hidden gem that I cannot live without!

While Windows 8 will soon be a thing of the past—Windows 10 is here, and rumor has it that upgrading is FREE—there’s always new technology, as well as skills that need refreshing, and questions that stump us.

 Safari Tech & Business Books Online

As of today, Safari Tech & Business Books Online contains "over 36,755 technology, digital media, and business books and videos." Access is unlimited and available anytime, anywhere, with a valid library card.

To access Safari, you need to navigate to the eBooks & Downloads section of the TPL website (where OverDrive, Zinio, Hoopla, the lesser known OneClick Digital, and eBooks for Kids are housed).

Safari is the place to go if you need a tech book ‘now’ and: the book was published yesterday and hasn’t yet made its way to the library shelves; it’s 2am and you really can’t wait until morning; the only library that has the books you need is halfway across the city; or all the copies of a particular book are checked out. 

Safari has lots of eBooks to help you with basic computer skills, from Microsoft Word and Excel, to Facebook, and using Email.

Learning Microsoft Word 2013 Excel 2013 all-in-one for dummies My Facebook for seniors Communicating Effectively with Email

You can also use Safari to become a Digital Innovation Hub pro and learn all about: the Arduino or Raspberry Pi; 3D printing; Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe InDesign or GIMP; and Adobe Dreamweaver, HTML and CSS.

Learn Raspberry Pi Programming with Python Mastering 3D Printing LiveLessons Real World Adobe InDesign CC Adobe Dreamweaver CC Learn by Video

Moreover, if you’re a visual learner and prefer videos over books, Safari could very well become your favourite tech learning resource.

It’s also great for very specialized tech book, especially ones which, in my humble opinion, sound like they’re in a foreign language. “Cisco CCENT/CCNA ICND1 100-101," “Apache Hadoop YARN,” and “Node.js, MongoDB, and AngularJS Web Development," are just a few examples. Yes, these are all real tech topics that you can learn about on Safari.

Cisco CCENT/CCNA ICND1 100-101  Apache Hadoop YARN Node.js, MongoDB, and AngularJS Web Development

While I’ve mostly focused on Safari's tech book and video content, I want to point out that it has other subjects as well:


Here are some examples of the type of content you can find on Safari:

No Excuses! The Power of Self-Discipline The Manga Guide to Physics Discrete Mathematics with Ducks Your Photos Stink!

I highly recommend you give Safari Tech & Business Books Online a try!

Take some time and explore all the great titles that are available. It is a wonderful resource if you're looking for non-fiction eBooks.

MOOCs for Professional Development

September 15, 2014 | Susan | Comments (1)

Today, I’d like to share something amazing that has the potential to change the course of your career: Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs for short. 

MOOCs are courses, often offered by top universities, that are available online for anyone with Internet access to take free of charge. This means no hefty tuition fees and unlimited access to courses anytime, anywhere. Many MOOCs are very relevant to libraries and TPL, but before I share a few of my favourites, I thought I'd tell you a little bit more about them. 

An unlimited number of participants can register for a MOOC simultaneously and, in fact, very large numbers of people are often enrolled in any given MOOC. Lectures are pre-recorded and videos are made available, along with additional readings, homework, and quizzes. MOOCs even come with their very own virtual classrooms, interactive discussion forums where students, professors and teaching assistants can discuss course content, ask questions, and provide feedback and support. MOOCs have a start date, weekly deadlines, and an end date. Participants who complete all coursework on time and receive a passing grade earn a certificate, signed by the instructorhowever, many MOOCs are also archived so that those who missed a session can go back and learn at their own pace. 

There are many websites that provide access to MOOCs. A few good ones are: Coursera, EdX, and Stanford Online.

MOOC Word Cloud

If you took a look at the links above, you might have noticed that there are thousands of different courses being offered by hundreds of universities and professionals, in dozens of fields. Added up, that's a lot to choose from! If you're as excited about MOOCs as I am, or would just like to give one a try, remember to pay attention to the following factors before you get started:

  • course description
  • credentials of the instructor
  • affiliated institution,
  • prerequisite knowledge required to enroll
  • course syllabus
  • course duration
  • require workload (often listedas hours of work / week)

To get you started, I've selected a few MOOCs that I thought you might find interesting and subdivided them into four categories: Librarianship, Cataloguing, Management and Makerspaces. 


  • Changing the Global Course of Learning Open Knowledge, Stanford University. Topics covered include open source, open science, open data, open access, open education, and open learning. They are discussed from various perspectives, including librarianship, publishing, education, economics, politics and more. September 02, 2014 - December 12, 2014
  • Library Advocacy Unshushed Wendy Newman, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto. Learn how to advocate for libraries so that they continue to thrive for generations to come. Archived.
  • New Librarianship Master Class R. David Lankes, Jill Hurst-Wahl, Megan Oakleaf and Jian Qin, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University. Wondering what the future holds for libraries? R. David Lankes thinks libraries should move away from books, catalogues and buildings and instead adopt the mission statement: “to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities". Archived.


  • Metadata: Organizing and Discovering Information Jeffrey Pomerantz, School of Information and Library Science, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Take an in-depth look at how information is organized for retrieval in libraries, databases and on the Web. July 14, 2014 – September 10, 2014. Archived.


  • An Introduction to Operations Management Christian Terwiesch, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The management skills that you need to run any operation, whether a restaurant, hospital, or library, are essentially the same. After this course, you'll look at the workplace with different eyes, detecting bottlenecks, identifying productivity wastes, and coming up with ideas to improve various processes. September 29, 2014 – November 24, 2014 


  • Introduction to Computational Arts Margaret Anne Schedel, Faculty of Music, State University of New York. Are you excited about the maker programs at TPL? Why not join the fun and learn some basic image and audio editing, including how to use Processing, Photoshop or Gimp, and Logic or Soundation. August 25, 2014 – December 19, 2014.
  • An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python Joe Warren, Scott Rixner, John Greiner, & Stephen Wong, Rice University. Learning to program in Python can be fun and easy with this group of hilarious and talented professors who know just how to make you fall in love with coding. September 15, 2014 to November 16, 2014.

So What Happened at the Information Services Team June Event?

July 10, 2014 | Mary-Beth | Comments (0)


P6260034Staff gathered at the June 26th IST event to hear what TPL’s Alan Harnum had to say about “Computational Thinking” -- how we effectively use computers and other technology to assist us in our work.  While we may sometimes feel the ability to use technology is most critical, Alan reminded us that it’s just as important to be able to think critically about the powers and limits of the technologies we use, and to conceive our goals in ways that computers can assist us in solving them.  Alan discussed the four stages of computational thinking: decomposition, pattern recognition, pattern generalization and algorithms design, and drew analogies to functions in the library, one of which was the reference interview.  To view his slides check

We also heard from Jennifer Peters, Teaching and Learning Technologies Librarian, & Ewan Gibson, New Media Services Technician, both from Seneca College Libraries.  They spoke about “Supporting Digital Literacies in the Library” and provided an overview of Seneca’s “Sandbox”.  The Sandbox offers instructional programs and physical spaces to support digital skill development.  It is a place where one can create things like animated and live action videos, digital stories, infographics, websites and podcasts.  Maker tools like Raspberry Pis, Arduinos, and MakeyMakey kits are also available. Librarians have worked with faculty and students to create an online learning environment.  Go to and explore the resources from their workshops and access video instructions, infographics and more.

For more by Jennifer see Check out her projects, videos, publications and more!

Pictured above: Jennifer Peters & Ewan Gibson

Have You Visited the Pew Research Center Lately?

April 26, 2014 | Richard | Comments (0)


The Pew Research Internet Project includes the kind of information that we like to cite in library reports and documents, notwithstanding its focus on the United States.

According to the website, "The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project aims to be an authoritative source on the evolution of the internet through surveys that examine how Americans use the internet and how their activities affect their lives."

Much of this information is applicable across the boarder here in Canada.

The website was listed as an Outstanding Choice Title in 2006.

While there have been some formatting changes in recent times, it is worth quoting the review in full:

"Outstanding Title! 44-0384 Internet Resource

Pew/Internet: Pew Internet & American Life Project.

[Visited Jun'06] Anyone searching for information on the digital divide, generational differences in Internet use, or how people use the Internet in everyday life will find this site essential. One of six projects from the nonpartisan think tank Pew Research Center, Pew/Internet hosts reports and data that "explore the impact of the Internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life." Content dates from 2000 to the present with frequent updates. Searching for reports is easy and may be accomplished through a pull-down menu listing broad categories (e.g. demographics, health, education, online activities and pursuits, and family, friends, and community) or a search box. The site is organized into seven sections that include Reports, Presentations, Data, Press, and Latest Trends. Each section offers summaries and access to full-text documents. The Reports section summarizes recent reports, e.g., "Finding Answers Online in Sickness and in Health" and "Internet's Growing Role in Life's Major Moments," and provides links to the full text in PDF file format. The Data section provides links to the survey datasets for the reports; Latest Trends provides links to charts and Excel files for "Who's Online" and "Internet Activities." The site offers a wealth of Internet usage information and analysis that differs from the plethora of marketing research sites online, and it provides vital data not covered by other entities such as the General Social Survey or the various public opinion polling agencies. Visitors may use the RSS feed or sign up for a newsletter. Content is also searchable through the main Pew Research Center site Summing Up: Highly recommended. All collections.

--S. Clerc, Southern Connecticut State University - Copyright 2006 American Library Association"
Looking at the website in 2014, we see a continuation of the same preoccupations, as many new and interesting reports, presentations, and data sets address issues pertinant to Pew's mission:

Summing Up: I would recommend bookmarking The Pew Research Internet Project website, and check it from time to time for developments important to our work.

Our uncommon shared future

December 19, 2013 | Richard | Comments (0)


And what's brought down . . . deposited books caught by a passing maelstrom

IMG_0413The move to the electronic forms of publication, and sometimes to the exclusion of print versions, is something many of us have understood to be coming. In May of 2012, I reported in Government Publication to go paperless by 2014, that the Canadian Government will stop producing print publications.

How will this new environment change the way we conduct research? Naturally we will be more dependent on computers, but we will also be more reliant on the institutions, public and private, that preserve and make accessible e-content, content that was once only available in print.

The preservation and access to electronic publications sounds straightforward, but it is not. Required are stable links to authoritative information available on various devices through a variety of platforms and applications using agreed upon standards over the varying life spans of various documents or publications.

Many of us are familiar with the experience of locating information on the internet in an idiosyncractic way. Google can be great, and so can much more specialized search engines like "MADGIC ", or even "Government of Canada Publications Search", but why can it still be difficult to find what you expect to be obvious? Such difficulties are larger than issues related to simple indexing. It could be that aggregation will eclipse indexing as the single largest challenge facing our new information ecology. In fact, it may be time to begin re-defining the very term publication.


For an expert summary and detailed discussion of the evolving digital landscape, I can highly recommend, Facing Change: A Perspective on Government Publications Services in Canadian Academic Libraries in the Internet Age, prepared by Sherry Smugler for the American Library Association. Ms Smugler began her career at the Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library and subsequently became a Government Publications and Reference Librarian at the University of Toronto's Robart's Library. Facing Change should be of interest to anyone who deals with the production, use, and administration of government information, not just to those in academe.

The report emphasises the need for co-ordinated approaches to addressing the complex issues surrounding the provision of government documents online in an era of diminishing resources. The following example illustrates 'why'.  Library and Archives Canada (LAC), charged with preserving our history and making it available, announced last year the elimination of 210 positions, including government documents specialists, and cuts to digitization staff by 50%.

The future looks daunting. Currently, less than 1% of LAC holding's appear to be digitized. By one account, provided by the Canadian Associaton of University Teachers (CAUT) "it will take LAC 300-700 years to digitize its pre-2004 holdings". Computers will advance, but most of the material still appears on pages of printed type. Here we are only talking about the historical record. Not mentioned are subsequent post-2004 holdings.


One Facing Change conclusion: the "best way forward may include a range of governmental and non-governmental organizations and insitutions with a stake in the creation, preservation, organization and dissemination of government information". Some of the many current stakeholders in this collective effort are listed in Smugler's report:

CIC-Google Government Documents Project
Depository Services Program (Canada)
Digital National Security Archive (ProQuest)
Digitization Projects Registry (US)
Early Canadiana Online
Government of Canada Web Archive
HathiTrust Digital Library
Internet Archive
Library and Archives Canada
Library of Congress Web Archiving
National Security Archive
Parliament of Canada
Save Library and Archives Canada (CAUT)
Statistics Canada
University of Toronto Academic Librarians

To this list, we may also want to include, the TPL Digital Archive and Our Digital World.

And what of future stakeholders? Who will they be? And how will they organize? Challenges of changing enivironments make collaboration difficult but even more essential. As Smugler writes, a "healthy democracy thrives on open, free, easy access to information produced by its government". 




Here is an historical question for decade's end: will 2014, the year that Canadian publications transitioned from paper to bytes, and stopped producing hard copy in print, be viewed as a 'signpost' of progress in our democracy?

Given print's illustrious 500+ year history, who would have predicted, even a decade ago, the swift fulfillment of the antitypes?

Let's hope we can navigate in this new environment, and move more confidently toward the common goal of preserving and providing access to shared government publications, in whatever form they take, for the generations of current and future researchers.

Below is a picture of the Toronto Reference Library's extensive collection of The Canada Year Book, a work that has been published for over 140 years, and considered by many as the government's flagship publication (2). It contains statistical information that documents the economic, demographic, and social life of Canada. According to an announcement posted in the Daily, Statistics Canada "will continue through other means to keep Canadians informed about their social and economic life". The 2012 issue is the first item on the far right pictured below, and the last to be published for the foreseeable future.



(1)  Discussions about types and Set4antitypes are normally part of biblical exegesis, but For Frye, the field of typology* can also have more secular applications. Typology leads to a theory of historical process, he says, pointing to "future events that are often thought of as transcending time, so that they contain a vertical lift as well as a horizontal move forward', much like waking up from certain types of dreams, "when we wake up from sleep, one world is simply abolished and replaced by another".  This sounds familiar enough.

*Typology should not be confused with typography, the art of letterpress printing, Wink.

 (2) For electronic versions of past issues of The Canada Year Book, click here.


If you have read to this point, you may also be interested in this earlier post.

Help! I've been asked to recommend some Childrens' Picture Books! Argggh!

October 20, 2013 | Bhowatson | Comments (0)

Books photo clip artHere you are at the Reference Desk happily ready to serve the public when you are asked to recommend a story about firefighters for a child in grade 2.

The Children's Librarian has gone for lunch.  Crazy Librarian clip artYou...are Alone!

This is when I turn to the latest edition of "A to Zoo: Subject Access to Children's Picture Books".  This reference title is one I've been using for many years and still is the best source for finding that special picture book.  It's divided up into various sections:  Subject Headings, Subject Guide, Bibiliographic Guide, Title Index and Illustrator Index.  I sailed directly to the Subject Guide and easily found that "Firefighters" has a 'see reference to "Careers- firefighters".  So I headed over there to find a long list of 60 picture books that contain something to do with firefighters.  

The 8th Edition of "A to Zoo..." contains 13,755 titles that are catalogued under 1,215 subjects. 

When I search on-line, I find a list of 34 titles on but this list includes fire safety non-fiction titles that I don't want.

At Barnes and Noble, they have a very long list of 118 titles but include items published by Lego and Little Golden Books.  The last time I saw a Golden Book title, it was in a yard sale, so I'm not convinced about the quality of the items listed and also this publisher won't usually be found in a public library collection.

There are lots of entries when I Google, " Picture Books about Firefighters", but still the listings and information in "A to Zoo..." appear to be of the best quality and you know the source - a reference title in publication for the last 30 years.  A real Book!  Wow!





Maker Faire

September 24, 2013 | Niki | Comments (1)


“I smell something burning.”

“Don’t worry it’s just my hair” I say as I reach for the wrong end of the soldering iron...



Well, that was awesome was the title of Maker Faire post on Monday and it really was!  Over 4000 people packed Wychwood Barns Sept 21 & 22 for Toronto Mini Maker Faire 2013.  The Faire is “where people show what they are making, share what they are learning, and come play with robots, 3D printing, laser cutting and more,” reads the Toronto event’s website

Icecream1It was great fun just to wander around. I learned how to solder a circuit and made my official soldering badge despite a minor mishap with the iron.  In order to soothe my pain (and pride) I dashed to the Ice Volcano ice cream makers and bought a delicious, cold, steamy cup of coffee ice cream  to wrap my hand around.   Wandering through the 3D printers I pondered the plethora of Yoda busts that were on display.  Are all 3D printer owners required to make Yoda in lime green? 


Angellamackey_SS12_swift_lights_grande-200x300One of my favorite stops was the Vega X Bike Lights.   Social Body Lab has come up with  chic, wearable bicycle lights for the fashionista in us.  The Social Body Lab is an OCAD research group that incorporates technology into clothing on a meaningful level and are at the centre of the wearables movement in Toronto.


Fashion at the low-tech end was evident in the number of T-shirts available.  I particularly adored the Kitchen Library T-shirt.   The Tool Library crowd-sourced funding for a second spot aNew_logond makerspace on the Danforth combined with a new Kitchen Library.  The Tool Library loans tools for your personal use like a book library. They do Holds but they charge $5.00 if the tools  are not picked up! Both are projects of the Institute for a Resource Based-Economy IFRE that promotes the  Sharing Economy, also known as Collaborative Consumption.  They aim to reduce consumption by sharing resources (examples include sharing cars (Zipcar / Car2Go), holiday accommodation (Air BnB / Couchsurfing) and office spaces such as the Centre for Social Innovation.) 


Many big and small projects were on display:  the Twitter Typewriter, MakerKids toy hacking booth, lock-picking methods, etc.  Ray Feraday, a teacher of autistic children, wanted to give functionally non-verbal children a voice.  He was inspired by a Makey Makey video of a man playing music on his dogs to develop a programmable taking board.




_Finally the talks.   Making and 3D  printing is often  called the New Industrial RevolutionHod Lipson,  the Director of Cornell's Creative Machines Lab, talked convincingly on the new directions 3D printing will take us.  Hod has worked  on self-aware and self-replicating robots, food printing, and bio-printing.  His new book  Fabricated : the new world of 3D printing is available at the library. 


For a slightly more techy view of the Maker Faire check out Greg Astill's blog at the Digital Design Studio.


And my soldering badge:

I want you to be honest.  Isn't mine (left side) better than Greg's (right side)? 










When Everything is Online, Why Come to the Library At All?

August 22, 2013 | Susan | Comments (0)

I recently came across a short TEDx Talk by Chrystie Hill, Community Services Director for OCLC's WebJunction, and author of Inside, Outside, and Online: Building Your Library Community. In it, she asks the audience to think about that all-too familiar question, "When everything is online, why come to the library at all?"

Her talk is just under 13 minutes long, but touches on a wide range of libraries and their services all over the world, including:

  • YOUmedia Lab in Chicago, a learning space that helps teens build their skills and create digital projects, froms songs to videos to photography to podcasts
  • Veracruz, Mexico, where buses deliver technology and education to remote rural communities 
  • Aarhus, Denmark, in which the practice of participatory democracy (aka community input) generates a new model for a public "mediascape" library that focuses on networked, open spaces, and collaboration. 

Ultimately, she says, the library of the future is not about storing books. What is it, then? Well, she says, "we get to decide, we get to do what we want, and everything is allowed."

Although her talk is over a year old now, it was new to me, and I found it informative and inspiring. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out below:


Life on MaRS - Home Grown Tech: Start It Up

March 3, 2013 | Niki | Comments (0)


DoodleHyun-Duck Chung (MISt, Information Specialist) and Helen Kula (MISt, Data Product Manager) of MaRS Discovery District put together a showcase of startups for the OLA Super Conference 2013.  They handpicked them to appeal to and reflect the library interests and needs and succeeded in providing a wonderfully  varied and relevant group of products from Canadian companies. 

Have you a group of writers that crave to be published?  Wattpad is a great platform for discovering and sharing stories.   You can write one chapter at a time, or share a full novel.  Whether you love romance, humorous short fiction, futuristic sci-fi or paranormal mysteries, Wattpad is for you.  Authors range from Cory Doctorow to Shawn from Lethbridge. Margaret Atwood is the judge of the Atty's, the Wattpad Poetry Awards.  Wattpad offers a truly  social, and entirely mobile reading experience in over 20 languages.




Water_cycleSpongelab's mission: we believe that cutting-edge technology and stunning interactive media should be available to everyone, regardless of fiscal constraints.  

If you register with them you have free access to a huge range of science resources from the ubiquitous water cycle diagram, to  a video of what happens when lava is poured on ice to a dragon breeding genetics game.  Often you will be given a link to the Canadian  textbook this is alligned with.



SoapBox is a customer feedback mechanism that integrates into your webpage.  It automatically tags and categorizes the  ideas.  It also finds similar ideas and prompts you to merge your idea before submitting it.  On top of its voting and comments, SoapBox is fully integrated into Facebook with more social networks coming.   For a look at this program in operation check out Indigo, scroll to the bottom of the page and select Indigo Ideas. This would be a nice addition to the TPL website. 


Sciencescape  is a tech startup providing an end-to-end research discovery and management platform for the Life Sciences .  Sam Molyneux, PhD Student at the Ontario Cancer Institute, found there  are  2,000 to 4,000 research papers coming out every day.That's one and a half million peer reviewed papers every year.  The goal of this project is to organize all of the literature that comes in a way that makes sense. They look at labs, journals, places, and authors to have breaking research and community activity pushed directly to your newsfeed based on your profile.  There is no need for repetitive searching and you can quickly scan new publications, read abstracts, and download the full article text

06_39_01_833_fileThis year's Global Startup Battle took place across 137 events in 60 countries with 10,000 entrepreneurs participating. The winner was Ontario-based Groupnotes.  It is a collaboration tool for groups who do research. As users browse the web, they can annotate pages, take notes, and leave comments—and when other members of their group browse, they can see these and add their own.

Tabillo  offers a web-based business collaboration tool that enables small to medium-sized companies to go beyond online file sharing. . Businesses can collaborate on internal processes, tailor apps to meet specific needs and easily access/share multiple types of files internally and externally.










2012 IST Fall Conference: UX and You

December 3, 2012 | Diana S. | Comments (1)

The 2012 Information Services Team Fall Conference theme is all about evolving reference services, highlighting the strategic plan initiative of supporting a city of innovators.

One of the keynote speakers was Amanda Etches, Head of Discovery & Access at the University of Guelph Library, where she spends her time guiding teams and projects that are all about making the overall library experience better for users, both in-person and online. The user comes first and understanding user behaviour and using that understanding to guide the way services, spaces, systems, and interfaces are designed go a long way in providing good customer service. Her presentation was a conceptual introduction to the principles of user experience (UX) design as well as some ideas into ways library staff can incorporate them in their provision of (reference) services.

Amanda Etches

Design is everywhere in the library (furniture, signage, service desks, etc.) and design decisions should be made with the user in mind, giving what the user wants and not what you want. Userability is a quality attribute, designing and building things that work the way our users work as opposed to expecting users to adapt to them. Amanda Etches outlines 10 specific principles to user experience design decisions.  

You are not your user/know thy user
For the most part, design decisions made are convenient for us, representing insider opinions rather than users’.  We should give people what they want, not what you want.

User is not broken
How something is consciously designed affects how another experiences it. Any issues can be fixed by modifying the design, not the user.

Empathy required 
Stepping in a user’s shoes is a good way to find out what a user needs.

Can’t build great experiences without research   
Researching is required to get to the heart of user’s opinions and what they are thinking or what they want to accomplish. There are two types of research: attitudinal, the user’s views that are obtained through surveys, focus groups, and interviews; and behavioural, the user’s behaviours observed through usability testing.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs, a useful paradigm for design specifics
In order for a design to be successful, it must meet the basic 'hierarchy of needs' before it can move ahead to satisfy the higher-level needs. The design must work as it is intended.


Good/best user experience (UX) design is to have as little design as possible
People need functionality and less design that gets in the way.

Good design is universal 
Using universal design techniques (i.e. equitable, flexible, simple & intuitive, perceptible, tolerant of error, low physical effort, etc.) to guide design decisions will result in a successful design project that will serve users with a variety of learning styles, abilities, experiences, and cultural backgrounds.

Balance user needs with library needs
User needs and library needs are illustrated as a triangle joined by the context. Depending on what is being designed, they can be a shifting and balancing between the three components.

TriangleNeeds01     TriangleNeeds02


Good user experience is more than good customer service
People will barely take note of the time, effort and hard work it takes to make their user experience a great one. This is as it should be. It's a measure of the success of UX professionals when the focus is on user's satisfaction.

Good user experience is holistic 
Every element of a design has to work – what the building looks like, the smell, furniture, lightning, customer service, website, programs & services, policies (how user friendly), staffing and how empowered they are, rules, hours of service, signage at all the appropriate places, website, social media presence, etc.


User experience is basically all about the people. It’s all about the users and what they really want and need to accomplish and how we can enable that. Every decision you make affects how people experience the library.

Welcome to the Information Services Blog! Visit often to learn about useful tools, collections and other resources to help answer reference questions. Get the scoop on new and innovative trends and services. Join us and send us your feedback!