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Using Persona Descriptions to Inform Library Space Design

The Future of Library Space

ISBN: 978-1-78635-270-5, eISBN: 978-1-78635-269-9

ISSN: 0732-0671

Publication date: 15 December 2016



Library space and services should center on library patrons and what they need. Trying to match the needs of each patron can become a daunting task. A new approach needs to be taken – one that describes patrons and their needs in a useful way. Using an approach from marketing and product design, personas or user groups offer a unique approach to thinking and describing patron needs to assist in the identification and design of library space and services.


The identification, development, and validation of personas employs an iterative process using both qualitative and quantitative methods to first identify user patterns, then develop the patterns into meaningful descriptions, and finally to validate the personas. Once validated, additional data is collected, and, as librarians become persona-minded, the persona descriptions continue to be enriched.


The chapter provides a description of personas found in one academic library and how those personas were developed before being used to assist in library space identification and development. One unique feature of our personas was the fluid nature where patrons would shift personas depending on personal needs.

Practical implications

Personas are a practical and meaningful tool for thinking about library space and service design in the development stage. Several examples of library spaces that focus on the needs of specific personas are provided.



Zaugg, H. (2016), "Using Persona Descriptions to Inform Library Space Design", The Future of Library Space (Advances in Library Administration and Organization, Vol. 36), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 335-358.



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