Designing Collections for Collisions

Wednesday, 9/16/2015

Nearly every librarian has a story to share about a community member who makes a fantastic serendipitous discovery. Sometimes these discoveries change lives. Unfortunately, we may be hearing fewer and fewer of these stories. Why? Because in a digital world the opportunities for great accidental discoveries are being engineered out of the library experience. In this presentation Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian at Temple University, will share insights into why we need to start talking about designing our libraries, both physical and virtual, with engineered serendipity in mind. If the whole point of collections is to facilitate interactions with discovery, research and learning, then we have to come up with better ways to design it into the library experience. Serendipitous library discoveries are too valuable to lose. We need to figure out how to preserve them in a digital world.

This webinar was presented on September 16, 2015. Access the recording and materials now:

Learning Outcomes

  • Be able to identify factors leading to the decrease in serendipitous discovery in libraries.
  • Gain a better understanding of how engineered serendipity works and to appreciate the importance of accidental discovery.
  • Learn about strategies libraries can use to design for better serendipity in an increasingly digital environment.

Who Should Attend

Librarians in both public and technical services and from all sectors, any librarian who wants to preserve serendipitous discovery in libraries.


Steven J. Bell is associate university librarian for research and instructional services at Temple University. He writes and speaks about academic librarianship, learning technologies, library management, higher education, design thinking and user experience. Steven is a co-founder of the Blended Librarian's Online Learning Community. He blogs at Designing Better Libraries, authors columns, and is co-author of the book "Academic Librarianship by Design". For additional information about Steven J. Bell and his projects:



All webinars are recorded and the one-time fee includes unlimited access to the webinar recording. All registered attendees will receive the link to the recorded session so if you are unable to attend the webinar at the time it is presented, you will have the opportunity to listen to the recording at your convenience.

This webinar was presented on September 16, 2015. Access the recording and materials now:

How to Register

No registration is necessary.

Tech Requirements

Computer with Internet access (high-speed connection is best) and media player software. Headphones recommended.

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