Now Published: Seth Porter's book

"Engaging Design" cover"Engaging Design: Creating Libraries for Modern Users," a new book written by Seth Porter, Head of Stokes Library, is now available from ABC-CLIO and is heralded as "innovative," "timely," and "a must read for [library] staff and campus constituents before embarking on a collaborative project to make the university library more responsive to faculty teaching, research, and student learning."

Co-authored by Emy Nelson Decker, NextGen Public Services Manager at the Georgia Institute of Technology Library, "Engaging Design" introduces readers to basic design techniques and frameworks, or engaging designs, that enhance library spaces, services, outreach, programs, and initiatives, as well as engage and appeal to all users. The book utilizes a three-prong approach – aesthetics, design thinking, and service design – to provide readers a guide for design choices. 

The guide, the core focus of the book, creates an experience of education which assists in information retention and transfer, i.e. learning. One approach to that is the adoption of design thinking and service design. A systematic process of thought, design thinking diverges from linear, analytical thinking to allow for the development of new, innovative solutions to the problem at hand. The book provides an overview on the convergent and divergent processes involved and the step-by-step process that makes up the agile methodology. Readers are be able to see how the innovative design-thinking methodology can be applied throughout the library. Service design refers to the designing of services, perhaps even independently of spaces, to best anticipate and serve the needs of the user.

Altogether, Porter and Nelson Decker worked on the project for nearly two years. The co-authors not only shared a passion for aesthetics and design principles, but they had previously worked together as project managers to redesign the services and space at the Georgia Institute of Technology Library. They witnessed the strength and weaknesses of several project management methodologies and design techniques, including the effects of those designs on staff and users in real time. 

“In the course of a lively and interesting narrative,” the publisher described, “’Engaging Design’ introduces basic concepts of aesthetics and good design thinking and explores examples of its successful uses in the academic, public, and special library. It provides simple steps for implementing subtle, but powerful, techniques to improve instruction, instructional design, [...] e-learning, public services spaces, [...] and all manner of library programs, events, and services. In addition, the authors recommend easy-to-implement best practices that will help librarians to enhance library-goers' experience. Library administrators will also look to this book for assistance in best addressing the needs of the modern library user.”

In particular, Porter brings to the book an academic and professional background in instructional design and the scholarship of teaching and learning (including e-learning), as well as experience as an instruction coordinator and project manager. He hopes readers will use the book “as a compass, not a roadmap. . . to embed in their work where appropriate. I think libraries should think about this as a strategy to move forward with the diffusion of ideas from outside the discipline. It is important to drive innovative ideas from interdisciplinary sources and to embed this in academic librarianship.

“A library is both space and services,” he added, “so librarians, designers, and administrators should try to create programs and design spaces that are a bridge between the two.” 

For more information about the book, visit ABC-CLIO’s website.

Written by Stephanie Ramírez, Library Communications Specialist & Staff Writer

Media contact: Barbara Valenza, Library Communications Manager