The Forum

The second phase consisted of planning and hosting a national forum on design in master’s level library education. In addition to the organizers, the forum will included 15-20 invited participants comprised of educators from ALA-accredited programs, educators from design schools, library employers, and design professionals. Participants met for 2 days in Seattle to review and discuss the results of the field scan, identify aspects of design education relevant to MLIS education, share professional experiences, and brainstorm curricular approaches.

A number of themes arose from the forum itself. Participants raised a number of barriers to teaching design thinking and methods in MLIS programs, including a reiteration of the lack of coherence in defining “design”; bureaucratic and logistical hurdles; lack of qualified educators; resistance to shifts in organizational cultures; and students’ intimidation and fear of failure. Multiple curricular recommendations were suggested, including using the varied nature of design as strength rather than a weakness and developing “brave spaces” for students that support risk-taking without the pressure of perfection. Read more about the forum event in the white paper:

Clarke, R.I., Mills, J.E., and Potter, N. (2019). “Designing Future Library Leaders: Takeaways from the 2018 National Forum.” White paper. [PDF]