1.2 Design Thinking in the Youth Librarian Context

Design may already be a tacit component of your work with youth.1 For example, after planning and organizing a library event, you might reflect on the experience and make changes based on the feedback you receive.2 Additionally, designing with youth involves unique processes that must take into consideration who youth are (age ranges, developmental stages) and the environments in which they interact (schools, libraries, homes).3 Design can be seen in various aspects of librarianship spaces, references, and youth services.

As a youth librarian, you can use design thinking in a variety of ways. The design thinking framework may be used within programming activities as tool for learning.4 Or you can use design thinking methods for solving your own challenges or to create new initiatives for your library.4 Design thinking can be another skill set you can bring to the table with what you already do–being actively engaged with youth in your community.


1: Clarke, R. I. (2015). Beyond buildings: A design-based approach to future librarianship. In Eden,B. (ed.) Leading the 21st-Century Academic Library: Successful Strategies for Envisioning and Realizing Preferred Futures. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.

2: Mills, J. E., Campana, K., & Clarke, R. I. (2016). Learning by design: Creating knowledge through library storytime production. Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 53(1), 1-6.

3: “Scientizing with ‘ScienceKit’: Social Media and Storytelling Mobile Apps for Developing Playful Scientist Dispositions,” by T. Clegg, J. Ahn, J. C. Yip, E. Bonsignore, and D. Pauw. Educational Technology, 2016.

4: Using Design Thinking: Providing a framework for youth activities, by Linda W. Braun (American Libraries, May 2016).