Protolib, literally prototyping libraries, set out to explore new models for library spaces at locations across the University of Cambridge. The project involved the creation and regular iteration of a range of prototype library environments over a period of several months. A large volume of data was collected from a variety of user experience research methods including ethnographic observation, behavioural mapping, short and in-depth interviews, and graffiti walls. During the project's analysis phase several key findings emerged: the discovery of a hierarchy of working activities; the importance of the provision of library spaces offering different degrees of intensity; and a set of specific design suggestions.
Although Protolib's findings specifically focus on libraries at the University of Cambridge they are likely to be relevant and applicable to other libraries in the Higher Education sector.
Andy Priestner, David Marshall and Modern Human – April 2016