In the January 2010 Library Journal, Aaron Schmidt writes about the user experience. "Any time you choose how people will interact with your library, you're making a design decision." Take his example -- and how many of the rest of us have done something similar -- of the stapler in the drawer at his reference desk. They let patrons use it, and every time someone asks for it, a librarian opens the drawer and takes it out. Good design or bad? He started keeping it on the desk and improved the user experience. Naturally, someone who thinks like this must invoke Ranganathan: save the time of the user. He uses Ranganathan to remind us of our professional values and show how they apply to so much more than the collection.
"We need to consider [patrons'] lives and what they're trying to accomplish." This kind of thinking draws our attention to the many unnecessary barriers libraries build. We can control and make positive the user experience by considering how we plan -- or design -- our spaces and interactions. Of course, Schmidt won me over with an opening quote from Ray and Charles Eames: "The role of the designer is that of a good host anticipating the needs of their guest." This is exactly how I have perceived my roles when opening a weekend camping event, a summer camp, and this library each morning: "Is this space ready and welcoming? Is everything we need at hand?"