In April 2015, — a day after I gave a public lecture on library design at Smith College — I led a faculty design workshop to help them begin thinking about what they want in their new library building. I’ve participated in plenty of design workshops, but I’ve never organized one of my own. I set a few guidelines: no post-its, no play-doh, no infantilizing activities; more focus on values and epistemologies and how they relate to concrete design choices. If I were to do this again, I’d change a few things: e.g., leave more time for group reporting, and separate out — or collapse — the various conceptual “audits” that I asked the groups to do. But on the whole, I think it (not I, but the process itself) generated a really vibrant discussion, helped folks get excited for the forthcoming design process — and reminded them that librarians have unique insights, concerns, and sensibilities that must be heard in the design process.
I offer a little overview of our activities and share the “official” agenda here.