Design thinking and methods in library practice and graduate library education

Rachel Ivy Clarke, Satyen Amonkar, Ann Rosenblad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Despite interest in the application of design thinking and methods in librarianship, there seems to be a disconnect between application and education to support it. This study used an online questionnaire to elicit feedback from library workers in the United States about interest in and use of design thinking and methods in library practice, and the need for design skills and abilities in library education. We found that practicing librarians perceive design thinking and methods have relevance to library work, but opinions vary based on library type and nature of the work. Design thinking and methods were used mostly for space planning and program development, with applications emphasizing empathy and user/community understanding aspects—despite myriad other possibilities. Most respondents were in favor of including design thinking and methods in MLIS programs, which can support more robust applications through inclusion of the theoretical, philosophical, and epistemological underpinnings from which design thinking and methods emerge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)749-763
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Librarianship and Information Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Design thinking
  • United States
  • graduate library education
  • librarianship
  • questionnaire surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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