CILIP Conference Day 2 Digital Futures and Technology

Ken Chad
Library service innovation in a competitive world: focus on the user

It’s important to put resources in to innovation and ring fence them, even when, especially when businesses face trouble in their core business.

Libraries face competition, people have choices and can get library services from a number of places including Google (interesting to note this is a very different position from that of R. David Lankes in his keynote yesterday).

Covered a Wired article on how to access free academia: a number of alternatives for accessing papers for free that don’t involve going to the library.

Epic! is an electronic subscription library for children that also encourages reading through reading logs and gamification.

Lorcan Dempsey argues we need a shift from bureaucracy to enterprise.

Gartner argue that renovating the user experience is a digital priority.

Do you know what your users are really doing? Not their transactions but the task behind their transactions?


Jobs To Be Done (#JTBD) is a structured approach to understanding user needs: the job, the circumstances, the gains or outcomes and the challenges or barriers.

Start with the job, user and circumstance. It can be useful to get problems from customers but they are not necessarily great at solutions. They tend to not be able to see beyond current options for doing the job.

Value Proposition

For Epic! Their value proposition is:

in a world of unlimited screen time, Epic! is an alternative to games and videos

(As an aside this is slightly reinforcing the idea that books are good and games are a waste of time which misses out on the richness of games, play, project based learning and other forms of interactive narrative. Seems a shame to classify texts and pedagogues into guilty/guilt-free rather than exploring how they augment, merge and transform and all contribute learning.)

The question is what is a library’s value proposition?

St George's Hall, Liverpool, United Kingdom
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