Research template for a digital library CONCEPT

Project details:

Organisation London Borough of Southwark
Department &T & Digital Services & Library Services
Collaboration Level Open To Conversation
Budget £50K > £100k
Key Contact Emma Brett
Phase start 03 December 2018
Phase Estimated end 29 March 2019


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  1. Summary of proposal for the common problem you want to solve The digital revolution has changed library user behaviour and nationally footfall loans are decreasing. The experience for users is inconsistent and councils aren’t keeping up with digital trends. We propose to conduct research into digital library services and produce a template for user research that all local authorities can benefit from. The Libraries Deliver Taskforce report tells us that libraries must adopt modern, digital platforms to: • Make libraries relevant again for a new digital generation • Act as a hub for information • Ensure everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential Croydon council is transforming their library services. Libraries will be hubs where residents access a wide range of locally tailored preventative services. Digital experiences and guided self-service will be a central part of the overall design. In all partner authorities, procurement strategies are underway to recommend moving to new library management systems (LMS). This presents a rare opportunity to modernise library services and transform the user experience. Canada Water Library was the most popular individual library in London for item loans last year. We want to exploit this success story to research and understand how use of the physical space can be translated to digital. The problem faced by libraries is one of lack of digital expertise to carry out user-centred design. Without specialist support and funding, application and hardware upgrades often result in a lift and shift transition.
  2. How you will approach the problem We intend to deliver a discovery phase for this problem in line with the GDS service manual in collaboration with the listed partners. While some in-house capability will be available from partner authorities, we will run a Digital Marketplace procurement to appoint a specialist company to lead the discovery. The company will be asked to conduct: • User research with prioritised users and stakeholders • Research into digital library exemplars • Research into how the user experience across all digital tools and services can be made seamless for library users - both physically and online By the end of discovery we will produce: • A template for user research when undertaking application procurement • A user research report, comprising: o How have different councils approached a digital user experience for libraries and how effective those methods have been o How libraries can link together various technology platforms to create a seamless customer experience o A series of end to end customer journeys describing the experience for library users and how it relates to the physical library experience • The benefits case for developing an alpha project to build a framework to empower library staff to make the most of the opportunity of application procurements without needing extensive specialist digital design skills We expect the project to last 3 months, with insights delivered and shared at the end of each sprint. In addition to regular blogs through the discovery phase, outputs will be published for the wider community to share the findings, stimulate debate and ensure that any progression to alpha will meet common needs across councils. • Projected project timeline: o Inception: Dec 10 - Feb 1 2019 o Research sprints: Feb 4 - Mar 15 2019 o Final report & documentation: Mar 18 - Mar 29 2019 o Outputs to be published by Mar 29 2019




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