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We created the Design Thinking for Libraries toolkit to introduce a way of working that will help you understand the needs of your patrons and engage your communities like never before.

The toolkit is the result of a project funded by the Global Libraries program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. IDEO led the creation of the toolkit, which was shaped largely from experiences working side by side with librarians in their contexts over the course of 2013-2014. We partnered with Chicago Public Library in the United States and Aarhus Public Libraries in Denmark, observed over 40 librarians across 10 countries, and synthesized learnings from their initial design experiments into this toolkit.

We would like to thank the following organizations for their tireless
support in the making of this toolkit:

  • Bucharest Metropolitan Library
  • READ Nepal
  • Jamaica Library Service
  • Vinnytsia Regional Universal Research Library, Ukraine
  • Beyond Access, IREX

Now a new team is expanding the resources for Design Thinking in Libraries. Team members from Chicago Public Library and Aarhus Public Libraries include Andrea Saenz, Ane Schjødt Koch, Diane Marshbank, Helene Bruhn Schvartzman, Julka Almquist, Lisbeth Merkdahl, Michelle Frisque and Sidsel Bech-Petersen. We are using human-centered design methods in our libraries, and we want to share what we’ve learned and connect with you to share your stories. 

With a new round of funding from the Gates Foundation, secured by the Chicago Public Library Foundation, we have the opportunity to share what we’ve learned so you’ll be inspired to try these methods in your library, and find support when you’re already using them. 

This is an ongoing prototype. We invite your feedback and your stories at hello@designthinkingforlibraries.com . Your stories will inspire others to change libraries for the better. Let’s keep iterating, sharing and learning together.