Public libraries are in crisis-mode trying to figure out their future. One area they are struggling with is their role and relationship to the Internet. Their biggest concern seems to be that information freely available online competes with their collections – online and offline. However some, like David Lankes, have suggested that libraries shift their focus from collections to connections, i.e. helping their communities create, access and evaluate knowledge (Lankes, Silverstein & Nicholson, 2007).
To this end, my research explores the ways that library staff and members can be involved in envisioning and designing e-Services for a public library. This exploratory study brings together concerns, ideas and methodologies from the fields of librarianship, participatory practices, and human-computer interaction including:
- Envisioning the future of libraries, in particular e-Services i.e. those delivered via the Internet (Librarianship)
- Working with library staff and members to envision and design e-Services (Participatory Design and Librarianship)
- Collaborating with library staff and members to generate knowledge about issues of participation (Participatory Action Research)
Where will this research be conducted?
With the agreement of the Toronto Public Library (TPL), this research will be conducted in the context of the redesign of the “Your Account” section of the TPL website.
Who can contribute?
Anyone closely or loosely involved in the Your Account redesign project can contribute to this research including staff and members of the Toronto Public Library as well as staff of other companies engaged in the project.