Secret library stuff, aka the absence of pain is not the same as pleasure.

Recently, Anne-Marie posted about secret library books:  books that aren’t visibly or nominally about libraries, but that a library-minded person can read as being about exactly the issues that are most important to us.  I know I’ve read (and seen, heard, talked about) things like this, but of course I couldn’t think of any right off the bat.  Here’s one that caught my eye today:

Why Apple is great at interfaces when others are not.

Basically, because they take fun and pleasure into account when they design.  Instead of designing to a common denominator of test group approval ratings, they go with solutions that make people smile, amuse people, surprise people in good ways.  They’re whimsical as well as practical.  They’re not dull.

What if we took this same mentality and applied it to our library catalogs, websites, building, and services?  Better yet, what if we employed graphic designers, digital artists, interior designers, and other folks with training in visual communication and space design to help us with this?  Maybe we’d have a sleeker, simpler, brighter, more human profile.

Chronicle article on the future of “The Library Building”

From the article:

Tech Therapy: The Library Building (Chronicle of Higher Education podcast)

“As you are planning library spaces, you need to find ways to bring nuance and agility into the conversation about what the library will become,” Scott says. “You need to stay away from saying the library will be all one thing or the other, or we’re going all electronic or going all paper, or whatever.”

Hear, hear!  I’ve just finished working with architecture students to do two charrettes to design our classroom/group study room to include both mobile chairs and tables and some soft “living-room” style seating…as well as tackable surfaces for pin-ups, possibly some equipment for photographing models, and the standard array of classroom technology.  We’re still throwing ideas on the walls (I have giant post-its stuck to my office all around my desk) and we’ll see what sticks, but it’s pretty exciting to have the opportunity to design a space and its services more or less from scratch.