IDEO’s toolkit for libraries is live!

We are pleased to announce the release of the Design Thinking Toolkit for Libraries. The toolkit can be used by any front-line library staffer to adapt to library users’ changing needs and it is one of the things we want to talk to you about at the Next Library Festival 2015!

Design thinking for libraries

Chicago and Aarhus Public Libraries worked with design company IDEO to find out how design thinking methods might best be adapted and applied to a library context. The final result is a comprehensive new resource for any staff member hoping to advance their library by using human-centered design methods. The toolkit is created with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – The Global Libraries initiative. Learn more and download the toolkit here:


What can I use it for?

The toolkit guides you through Design Thinking so you can start coming up with solutions to everyday challenges within the library. Design thinking, or human-centered design, is all about starting with people — the users that visit your library. IDEO have been using similar methods to envision new products, services, spaces, and experiences in other business areas. IDEO created this toolkit specifically for the library setting in close cooperation with the project teams at Chicago and Aarhus Public Libraries.


More information

The toolkit comes in two parts: the toolkit guide, and the accompanying activities workbook. If you don’t have much time then download the ”At-a-Glance-Guide” which introduces how you might get started using design thinking over the course of one day.


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Comment by Sidsel Bech-Petersen on March 9, 2015 at 14:21

Thank you for sharing this case from Kenya! Great project and I will keep it in mind as an example! Are you thinking about using the toolkit for future projects? If yes stay in touch with us here: or in this community on

Comment by Mary Kinyanjui on March 7, 2015 at 7:59

Kenya National Library Service / Kibera Library’s e-learning tablet computers project for slum school children, supported by Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) Public Library Innovation Programme. The project uses ICT to equalize opportunities for children of poor families to interact with technology. By pre-loading tablet computers with educational content related to the school curriculum, the project also aims to support classroom teaching across all school subjects (language, science, mathematics, etc.) and to help children improve their marks. The implementation of the project had a number of challenges  which the librarian had to work hard to overcome them, including initial resistance from school heads and teachers, and the need to meet children’s other basic needs – for food, for quiet space to rest, and a safe place to play – for successful implementation. There was good impact of the project in the slum because it inspired a love of reading among children, increased the numbers of young library users and contributed to improved school results. Kibera community library’s experience offers a cost-effective, efficient and replicable model for bringing ICT to marginalized children.

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