Discovering crossovers to stay relevant

How can libraries remain of value in society? Province of North Holland entered the design process!

Libraries are having a tough time. Budget cuts, declining membership numbers and digitization present challenges. Membership has been declining nationwide since 1990. A shame! Because people can read and learn, meet each other and learn about art and culture.

Every province in the Netherlands is responsible for its own library policy. This is then implemented by the provincial support institutions (POIs). Commissioned by the Province of North Holland, we conducted research at The Base on how libraries can stay relevant.

The Base is a business building at Schiphol Airport. Besides a nursery and a gym, it also houses a small library.

Between The Lines
Province North-Holland
Schiphol – Amsterdam

Design research

The ambition was to discover and validate new partnerships. To do this, you have to talk to people, show your face to your neighbours and enthuse them to think with you. You can learn about this, but even better is to do it yourself. We trained the team in design-driven research and together we experimented with different prototypes.

Prototypes as conversation starters

We spoke to several people in the library’s vicinity; the visitors, staff and tenants of The Base. From the experiments with different prototypes, we learned more about the (latent) needs of the target group. Among other things, we discovered that the library can become a partner of companies by serving their employees. However, this requires a proactive attitude, plus the ability to think beyond offering books. That further ‘thinking’ we did together. During sessions, we gave depth to the ideas. The result: rich service scenarios, describing the impact of each idea.

• Field Research • InterviewsWorkshopsPrototypingCo-creationService scenarios
Beyond the horizon

Call it a box, a bubble or comfort zone. Nothing wrong with that. But sometimes it can be smart to step out of your own world for a while. In search of inspiration or new collaborations. Finding it hard to get started? Then maybe we can help you take the first step, or leap.

Design in
the service
of people