Though there are folks who are dismissive of semantics, the words we employ to describe the people who use our libraries are important. Not only do different terms have certain implications, but these words persistently shape our understanding of who these individuals are and how we should be serving them. These words also impact what people think of our libraries and how people feel while in them. It’s not semantics—it’s a user experience issue.
Chances are your library shouldn’t hire a user experience (UX) librarian. Surprised? Don’t get me wrong, I think it would be fantastic if all libraries had a staff member dedicated to UX. But hiring a user experience librarian isn’t as simple as securing the funds, writing a job description, and conducting interviews. In fact, that’s probably the wrong approach.
Is it truly possible to create an experience for someone? “People’s perceptions are their own,” critics say, “and it is impossible to match their feelings up with how you’d like them to feel.” That may be strictly true. But people are similar enough that organizations like libraries can in fact design mutually beneficial interactions. Absolutely [...]
Our profession has known for a long time that the traditional reference model is flawed. Constance Mellon coined the term library anxiety in 1986, reporting that students literally felt shame when approaching librarians for help. Yikes. That’s a strong feeling, one we don’t want librarians to evoke. Nonetheless, the typical effort to improve the reference [...]