State Library of Victoria Professional Development Program
- State Library of Victoria
ThinkPlace developed and delivered a series of bespoke design-thinking workshops for more than 100 public librarians across metropolitan and regional Victoria, aimed at establishing a community of practice across the state. It included a practical toolkit with accompanying collateral containing re-usable templates, theory, and step-by-step techniques to apply in the day-to-day role of a public librarian.
Both the workshops and booklet followed a structure of Inspire, Educate, Work, and Reflect. For Library staff, this meant understanding what design thinking is, the benefits it provides, and the relevance of design thinking in enabling Victoria’s public libraries to positively changes lives.
Libraries are evolving. Victorian public libraries deliver essential services to all Victorians, offering safe and inclusive public spaces with free and equal, life-changing access to art, ideas, education and social engagement. The State Library of Victoria and Public Libraries Victoria (PLV) identified the need for public librarians to develop skills to manage future service transformation.
ThinkPlace Design Thinking training empowered public librarians to embrace this transformation. It focused on guiding participants to immediately apply their learnings to opportunities and challenges in their day-to-day roles. Supported by a toolkit, participants were able to support their colleagues to apply these new techniques.
ThinkPlace Design Thinking training for public librarians was immediately impactful across Victoria and feedback was strongly positive. 80 percent of participants reported they found the training immediately or very useful in their workplaces, and 80 percent reported a significant increase in their confidence in understanding design thinking. Everyone in the training room benefitted. One participant applied the methodology to a project commencing four days after training; a staff member from the catering team applied it to gain top marks in his final university graduating assignment and individual public libraries have since engaged ThinkPlace to provide further targeted training and mentoring.
ThinkPlace developed and produced a bespoke, take-home \’Design Thinking for Libraries’ toolkit which included step-by-step instructions for carrying out design thinking activities; case studies; resource lists; and templates for design thinking activities.
It was visually designed to be shared or applied in new projects, with supporting content aimed at empowering training participants to guide their colleagues in the application of design thinking. The toolkit has become the default project creation and delivery lens for libraries and librarians across the network. Individual projects and strategic plans are being created all over Victorioa using the tools, templates and mindsets learned during this program. Victoria\’s libnraries have transformed their capacity to innovate, create and deliver for library users.
ThinkPlace leveraged its unique mix of in-house expertise, blending in-depth experience provided by cultural sector specialist Alli Burness with a tailored ThinkPlace design thinking practice led by Melbourne Studio Lead, Laura Kostanski and project lead, Dayna Hayman.
Applying a strengths based approach to coaching, the ThinkPlace team identified the skills, capabilities and contexts in which public librarians work as an especially fertile environment for applying design thinking. By reflecting on and highlighting the overlap between the two in the initial stage of training, participants quickly identified their relevant skills and then built on these throughout.
Feedback from participants:
“I feel confident to go out and approach program planning with a different focus – really drilling down to the needs of the customer, not just what we think they need.” – Fitzroy participant
“It has given me the confidence to further explore different aspects to Design Thinking, and I feel comfortable knowing I have a solid base now to go further.” – Melbourne participant
“I will make sure I use Design Thinking as we tackle our redesign/refurbishment. The presenters were absolutely fantastic – brilliant trainers in all ways. Thank you!” – Shepparton participant