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Next Chapter Design Challenges

September 24, 2011 in Blog, Challenge, Design


The participants of Next Chapter have been split into three cohorts. Over the next two days, each cohort will explore and create a prototype for one of the following challenges.


Design a successful ‘unquiet’ library.


What must K-12 libraries do to spur continual innovation, to make libraries the places and spaces our learners crave going forward?


Like a city provides a park the people can use in the myriad of ways, how can the library of the future be designed like a park of possibilities?

Next Chapter: Crowd Sourcing and Ethnography

September 18, 2011 in Blog, Ethnography, Summit

The first part of the design process is called “discovery.” During this phase at Next Chapter, we want to collect information that will inform our work in the days ahead. It is really important that we have student voices, as well as voices that expand beyond the summit participants. So, we are going out to “the crowd” for some data.

What are we looking for?

We are looking for information about how people learn, where they go to learn, what they are interested in learning about, and who helps them learn. We’re really curious about ideas, behaviors and places/spaces that engage people in learning…and wondering if the library already is, or perhaps could be, designed as a place to do that. Or is library not a physical place? What is a library and what happens, or might happen there?

Some specifics:

Who the crowd is: students, teachers, family members, people on the street

What the crowd can tell us: the conditions and behaviors/interactions that create a great learning experience inside and outside of school.

How you can participate: Gather interviews/responses and get them to us by Wednesday, 9/21 midnight EST

Help us by asking the following questions of people you know or don’t know in your school, home, city:

1. Where do you choose to go to learn something hard? At school? At work? At home? Why? Can you describe that place, what is it like?

2. How do you find out about things you are interested in?

3. Where do you feel connected? To ideas, to people

4. What kind of things and spaces do you need when you are working on a project with friends?

5. What tools do you use to learn about something?  [books, phone, ipad, Google, wiki, blog, online)

6. How do you share your ideas? (write, paint, video, construct, present, perform)

7. Where do you go to create something? What tools do you need?

8. Where do you go if you are stuck and can’t find what you’re looking for? Or, don’t know if the information you have is accurate?

9. If you could design a space for learning that is this place we currently call “library” what would it look like? Who would be there? What would be there? How would people interact there?

10. In your mind, is the future of a library a “place”?

Help us collect their responses in any of the following ways:

1. Video interview (.mov file posted to YouTube with the tag “next chapter” and/or emailed to

2. Audio interview/podcast (.mp3 file sent to

3. Blog comment on this post

4. Twitter updates with the hashtag #nxtchp2011

Guidelines for the interviews (should you go that route):

Don’t ask a question to which someone could answer “yes” or “no”. We want to find out what people are thinking. You’ll also want to dig further than a simple answer, giving the interviewee an opportunity to expand his/her thoughts. We want to hear the story from them. So what types of questions should you ask? Where, how, what, when, who, etc. See the list above.

If you want to work on this with your students, here are some suggestions to them:

Go out in groups of 3 or 4, or at least in pairs. Assign tasks. You should have an interviewer, a note taker and a videographer / photographer.  Choose by who is comfortable doing what. Don’t be a paparazzi. Don’t put camera in their face. Do take nice full head shots, and make sure you have solid audio. Simple is better.

Approach people/groups by politely introducing yourself and your team and say that you’re working on a special project and would like to get their opinion and experience about how they learn.

Questions? Email Laura Deisley ( and/or Jeff Sharpe ( of the Reimagine:Ed leadership team.

Image Credit


Next Chapter: Summit Design Challenges

September 17, 2011 in Blog, Summit

The event starts now.
Your voice and that of our broader community is critical to the success of Next Chapter. Therefore, we ask each of you to propose one or more design challenges or issues that impact your thinking about the future of your library or libraries in general. Think locally and globally.

We have established four categories to organize our thinking. We’ll assemble the challenges under each category and participants will vote on the challenges, narrowing them to three broad ideas that our cohorts will explore during the summit. We have provided some primers under each category to help frame them and guide your thinking, but remember your questions are not limited to these primers. The categories are:

Purpose: In what way will visitors benefit? Strategies for delivering the desired benefits? Strategies for the communication of the benefits? Sustainable organizations? Cultural transformations?
People: Consider internal and external constituents. What is the desired library experience? Skills required to provide desired experiences? How are the constituent relationships encouraged and nutured?
Things: The physical space? And the stuff in the space? Centralized? De-centralized? How does it transition from center of information to center of an ecosystem? What does it look like?
Behavior: How does the space act? What are the desired interactions within and around library? How does library support interactions?

For those of you who are attending, you may bring ideas with you as well!

Put Your Geek On!

May 22, 2011 in Blog, Library

As we close in on the final days of the May design challenge, taglines for the future of the library, I can’t help but grin at YALSA (Young Adult Library Association)’s TeenTech Week 2012 theme: Geek Out @ Your Library. As our June “maker” challenge looms, I wonder if  some students and schools might “put their geek on” and  get behind YALSA’s initiative?

Timing Is Indeed Everything

May 16, 2011 in Blog, Library

We need librarians more than we ever did. What we don’t need are mere clerks who guard dead paper. Librarians are too important to be a dwindling voice in our culture. For the right librarian, this is the chance of a lifetime.

Given that we just released our first monthly Design Challenge yesterday, this was mad-timing that Seth Godin published a post just today entitled, “The Future of the Library“.

Timing is indeed everything!

One More Reason to Love IDEO

April 27, 2011 in Blog, Design

Love that IDEO just released the “Design Thinking for Educators” site.

Oh, and they even highlight RE:ED’s / “Next Chapter”‘s very own David Bill, too.

02 Profession from Design Thinking for Educators on Vimeo.

“ big as it needs to be.”

April 26, 2011 in Blog, Library, Quotes

“What could be better than people who don’t have access to knowledge getting the ability to find out whatever it is that they want to find out?” she says. “And that’s what I think is so gorgeous about Wikipedia — it’s this limitless space; it can be as big as it needs to be. It can actually contain the sum of everything that we know, right?”

— Sue Gardner, Wikipedia director

Source: Fascinating article on the evolution of Wikipedia.

Perhaps a few nuggets to chew on as we daydream the future of K-12 libraries together.

Spaces for Living Inside Ideas

April 26, 2011 in Blog, Design

Imagine a space built for discovery. And rapid prototyping. And thinking design ‘out loud’.

Now: can you imagine a K-12 library version of the at Stanford?

Shaping Space: The’s Environments Collaborative from Stanford on Vimeo.

“This is the time – this is the place…”

April 26, 2011 in Blog, Library, Quotes

“I know that tomorrow you’ll be dealing with broken printers, and shelving backlogs, and the rising costs of subscriptions.

But you must look up. You must never make what you do replace why you do it. And if you can’t link broken printers and shelving to the grand challenges of our society, then you ought to ask why you are doing them.

We must stop reacting to the world around us and start inspiring it! For too long have we defined the core of our profession – service – as standing ready to serve. No one ever changed the world by standing ready. We do it through action.

This is the time – this is the place – we are the people.”

– R. David Lankes

Making a Game of It

April 26, 2011 in Blog, Library

Backstory: “Gaming guru and Reality is Broken author Jane McGonigal is organizing a game to commemorate the New York Public Library’s centennial celebration. On May 20th, 500 gamers will spend the night in the main branch of the library on 42nd Street to complete 100 “quests” designed by a McGonigal-directed team.”

More details here.

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