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Journey Mapping in Brazilian Libraries

Para ler isto em portugues, clique aqui.

At Next Library (2017) in Aarhus, Denmark we met Ricky from Caravan Studios, a division of TechSoup, in San Francisco. Caravan Studios, alongside Brazilian NGO Recode, work with libraries in Brazil through the Conecta Biblioteca program, and told us that the journey mapping exercise in the toolkit was a very useful resource for them. While it is a great activity, we realized it is tucked away in the Activities Workbook (and is called Create a Concept Map). We thought it deserved to be highlighted. We also learned a bit more about how Ricky and his colleagues are using this tool.

One of Conecta Biblioteca’s goals for using Design Thinking principles in Brazilian libraries in 26 states plus the Federal District (Brasília), is to help librarians get closer to local communities. In general, libraries tend to be used by students who are studying for exams, or senior citizens reading the daily newspaper. Ricky said, “When you go to local libraries you see a lot of students wearing headphones and we have been asking what else could the libraries be used for. How do we become more of a vital community center?”

Using design thinking and other community-based design and research methods was a way to bring librarians out from behind the counter, and to better understand community needs. They developed a landscape analysis tool called “Pesquisa da Comunidade,” or “Community Research,” (inspired by a method used by Caravan) to survey the community and consider the community assets. Through this, they were able to better understand why people aren’t using the library and to figure out their wants and needs. The librarians thought about where the gaps were and explored what the community actually wanted.

After the community research, they used the journey mapping exercise (also called storyboarding or concept mapping) from the Activities Workbook. Journey mapping was important for two reasons. First, A central goal of the Conecta Biblioteca project is to help library staff identify existing community assets and resources, and create new partnerships for the benefit of existing and potential users. In this spirit, the team chose the journey mapping exercise, as it’s a high-quality, free, and widely-available resource that any library worldwide can access. By focusing on using existing assets, the project hopes to amplify their reach and avoid the duplication of resources, to save time, effort, and financial resources can be reinvested in library services.

Second, it was a way to ground their thinking and move from ideas into a design phase. It offers a simple method to select an intervention or a specific project they think is needed based on what they learned in the process. As a part of journey mapping, they role played and created mockups of different scenarios. They had to answer the questions: Who is the user? What is the context they are in? What happens next? Ricky told us, “At first we thought it would be too detailed or abstract, but the librarians love it.” They found it to be a fun activity while being both imaginative and concrete.

The images provided here are from a Community Survey process with the 27 Brazilian State Library Coordinators.

If you’d like to try journey mapping, download it here.

The Design thinking toolkit was translated into Portuguese by FEBAB, download it here

Also, check to see if the Design Thinking for Libraries Toolkit is available in your language.