Primer on design thinking is newest book from the Center for the Future of Libraries

For Immediate Release
Fri, 01/03/2020


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing

American Library Association


CHICAGO — "Design Thinking,” by Rachel Ivy Clarke, is the newest volume in a series from ALA’s Center for the Future of Libraries. The Library Futures Series is edited by Miguel A. Figueroa, Director of the Center for the Future of Libraries, and produced in collaboration with ALA Neal-Schuman. It focuses on emerging trends in the profession, provoking discussion on how to shape the future by sharing ideas and exploring joint solutions to the challenges facing libraries and society.

Broadly defined, design thinking is an approach to problem solving which prioritizes empathy with and deeper understandings of users to define a problem; actively engages in prototyping to develop solutions; and iterates solutions through implementation and resulting modification. Clarke, a researcher whose work has systematically examined the capacity of design thinking to revolutionize LIS education and the exploration of diverse library reading materials, guides readers through this trend. After introducing the concept, she outlines the steps of the design thinking process model. She then shares various examples of design projects in libraries, illustrating how design thinking extends beyond just space planning or website design and is applicable to all library products and services. She also demonstrates the ways in which design can either enable or stifle such foundational library values as intellectual freedom, diversity, and access. Concluding with a rousing call to action for all librarians to recognize their positions as designers, this book will encourage readers to recognize how design thinking can empower libraries.

Clarke is currently an assistant professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies. Current projects include the IMLS-funded Designing Future Library Leaders project (RE-98-17-0032-17), investigating the integration of design methods and principles in graduate level library education, and the OCLC/ALISE funded project The Critical Catalog, which draws on critical design methodology to provoke the exploration of diverse library reading materials. She holds a BA in creative writing from California State University, Long Beach, an MLIS from San Jose State University, and a PhD from the University of Washington. Her dissertation, which argues that the field of librarianship is more appropriately viewed as a design field rather than a scientific one, received the 2017 iSchools dissertation award and the 2018 ALISE Eugene Garfield dissertation award.

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