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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?

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.

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.

Online Community

April 25, 2011 in Blog, community, Design

There are many online communities. You are probably a member of several yourself.

We recognize that many of you are hitting a breaking point. “No more logins”! You don’t have enough time or energy to visit ONE more online community.


We hear you and don’t blame you.

In an era of online overload, we have created an experience rather than a network. We have created an opportunity for you to help transform your library while in the process connecting and working with like minded people.

So how does this happen?

Design Challenges

From the start we wanted to an online component that emulated what the participants would experience in September when attending the Next Chapter summit. The online community had to not simply connect but rather, it had to represent the aspect of design and “doing” that will be embedded into our real time event later this year.

How could we do this?

By using design challenges. Starting May 15th, we will offer one design challenge each month leading up to and after our event in September. Each challenge will directly connect to how we can reimagine the future of the library. The challenges will be split into (4) week long sections like so:

  • Week 1 -> problem announced + podcast
  • Week 2 -> imagine phase + webinar
  • Week 3 -> make phase
  • Week 4 -> jury phase + webinar

Each of these weeks will be centered around providing you the chance to shape the solutions. The challenges themselves will focus on issues that can be addressed by any K-12 library or school. Our emphasis will be on building community through action and collaboration that is manageable and rewarding.

How Does it Work?

Week 1
During the first week, we will announce the challenge and provide a podcast and resources based upon a topic or issue that is meaningful to the community as a whole. Throughout the week, you will have the chance to discuss the topic and create a sense of understanding around the challenge. The goal is to create a sense of empathy, to understand that while we all may struggle with this challenge, we all have different perspectives and view points on how it affects our libraries.

Week 2
The second week will be dedicated to envisioning potential solutions to the challenge. We will ask you to post your wildest ideas. There will be no judgement. Rather, if we are to truly reimagine a solution to the challenge, we must use ideas that are mashups of ideas from across the map. In addition, we will have a webinar with an expert who will provide insight into the particular challenge and the kinds of ideas that have been proposed before.

Week 3
The focus of week 3 centers around the idea of making. Members of the community will be given the opportunity to contribute their ideas on how to create a prototype of the solution. Due to the nature of our challenges, the ideal is to have an idea that can be created by any library around the world. These solutions or prototypes that are being built could be range from simple products to experiences that help transform the library.

Week 4
This final week will be dedicated to testing and iterating. We will ask that the idea that is developed and build be tested. We will have a webinar with a design expert who will provide feedback on the prototype so that changes can be made to ensure the design reaches the intended audience.

So How is This Different?

When we look at an online community it is about attempting to connect people of like minds.

In an age of digital gluttony, we are trying to ride the fine line of providing one more network while separating ourselves from the pack. The challenges will give you an opportunity to not simply connect but “do something”.

In addition, we will provide you access to experts and the resources necessary to understand how design can making a meaningful difference in your library. We’ll also help you organize in person events so that you can take your challenges offline and work with your peers who may live near you.

Ultimately, we want to empower you to reimagine your library and give you the design-centered tools to do so. It is about you and your vision. We’re just giving you the chance to get a little help from new friends + RE:ED / “Next Chapter” community members.

Photo credit: codemastersnake (#1) + Christian Long (#2, #3)

Three Challenges

April 25, 2011 in Blog, Design, Events, Library

During our initial Next Chapter meeting in Atlanta on April 1-2, leaders from around the country came together to explore the future of the library. On a beautiful spring day, we worked to tackle this issue by exploring three different challenges:

  • Embracing a rapid-fire introduction to design thinking.
  • Answering the question: What is the future of learning?
  • Answering the question: What is the future of the library?

The three scenarios opened eyes to the power of design, challenged our preconceptions, all while creating a connection between peers.

Design Challenge

Jeff Sharpe, Trung Le, and Sarah Malin started the morning by introducing the power of design. As a group we went through a “Guerilla Design Challenge”

We were introduced to the rules of design and asked to provide verbs that describe the library:

From there, we developed a list of nouns and from those nouns split into groups and developed ideas around one of the nouns that spoke to us. From that list of nouns, each group decided upon a theme and built an experience or improved a place based upon that theme.

Our three groups came up with ideas that ranged from a dining club, to a mobile studio, to improving the sense of community in an airport.

The Future of Learning

Lucy Grey, David Jakes, and Andrea Andrea Saveri then led us through a chance to explore the future of learning.

Similar to our design experience, we defined terms and ideas around what some futures we see:

Future of the Library

We ended the day with a session led by Joyce Valenza, Buffy Hamilton, and Helene Blowers.

Thee three visionary librarians helped us focus on what was missing in the library and some of the attributes that we believed to be vital to the library’s success in the future.

The conversation was a powerful one that led to a great debate around the degree to which we should reimagine the library and if there were certain “sacred cows” that we embraced and were reluctant to release.

While there was debate, that is the beauty of the design process.

If we all agreed upon what should be created we would not push the boundaries and truly envision something unique and transformative.

In the end, the three challenges pushed us to rethink how we worked with one another and created ideas and approaches that would not have come by thinking within our comfort zones. If we are to truly reimagine the next chapter of the library, it will take a willingness to let go of our sacred cows, let go of our biases, and embrace ideas and approaches that may seems completely foreign.

If we are able to do that, we have the chance to create some powerful visions of what the library can be in the future.

Photo credit: Laura Deisley, Christian Long, and David Bill

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