By Abby Annala
I have been a member of the Library UX Chicago steering committee since the group’s inception back in 2014. This role has provided me with several opportunities for personal growth, networking, and professional participation. I’ve been able to present projects I’ve worked on at my library, introduce big picture concepts I learned about in graduate school, and share ways that I’ve worked with my colleagues on various initiatives. It’s also given me a unique perspective about incorporating assessment, design, and user experience into my work.
What might surprise most people is that I am neither an assessment, design, nor UX Librarian. I am a reference and instruction librarian that specializes in research for Business Administration and Communication. While the mission of Library UX is not reflected in my job description, I’ve found ways to incorporate these philosophies into most of my daily activities. I approach instruction with an outcomes-based framework – knowing that I will have wasted both my and the students time by not starting with an identified set of learning outcomes. As someone without a formal background in anything other than instruction, LibUX has helped me grow my skill set. At my home institution I have since been able to participate in library-wide initiatives like space planning, survey design, and participatory design projects. And those big-picture concepts from graduate school I mentioned before? They were things I learned while earning my MBA at Loyola. The interdisciplinary nature of this type of professional development truly knows no bounds.
Library UX Chicago strives to provide low cost professional development programming for all library workers – from directors to part-time associates – not just those with assessment, design, and UX in their job titles. Our programming is diverse and inclusive of all library functions – and can help anybody in libraries develop a framework for approaching their work with a new perspective. Our programming allows library workers from all backgrounds to share how they are incorporating these three core principles into operational functions like instruction, LibGuides or library websites, and service design.
Consider all our events open to anyone – even if you don’t work in a library - and consider your experiences and projects a valuable contribution to our programs and our group. The steering committee always welcomes program suggestions – so please contact us with any ideas you have about incorporating a design, assessment, or UX framework into your library role!
I’d also like to thank every person that’s attended and presented at our events in the past. Your willingness to share your experiences makes for a diverse, dynamic, and engaging networking and professional development organization for employees of all job titles.