The 6th annual international User Experience in Libraries conference, or UXLibsVI, for library staff interested in exploring and responding to the needs and behaviours of their users, is now scheduled to take place at Northumbria University in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, in the North East of England, between Monday 6 June and Wednesday 8 June 2022 (Monday 6 – the pre-conference workshops and social evening, Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 – the main conference days).
Attendees do not need to be an expert in user experience (UX) research and design – neither does it matter what library job you currently have or your position in your organisation. The bottom line is that all library staff are welcome! Also, our definition of UX incorporates all spaces and services, not only digital (however there is always a digital track should that be your specialism).
You can read reviews of, and papers from, our previous conferences, including our last conference at Royal Holloway, on our past conferences page. If you still need more encouragement, you can find out more about Newcastle and the surrounding area below.
NEWCASTLE AND BEYOND…
Newcastle was a major shipbuilding and manufacturing hub during the Industrial Revolution and is now a centre of business, arts and sciences. Attractions include the historic Quayside, the Millenium Bridge, and the Baltic Centre of Contemporary Art. The stunning Angel of the North sculpture is also nearby.
A little further north is beautiful Northumberland famed for its many castles, including Alnwick Castle (Hogwarts in the first Harry Potter film, where you can practice your broomstick skillz) and Bamburgh Castle (Bebbanburg in The Last Kingdom TV series), and a wonderful coastline of unspoilt beaches. Then there’s the Roman-built Hadrian’s Wall (parts of which actually run through Newcastle), while Bonnie Scotland itself is only 2 hours away by train.
The cost of the 2022 conference will be around £395 (+VAT) which includes all conference sessions and lunches, and the Gala Dinner. There is an additional charge of £100 (+VAT) if you wish to attend one of the two optional pre-conference workshops. Note that accommodation is not included.
THEME: UX and ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE
User experience (UX) research techniques are wonderfully accessible and offer us unparalleled access to the worlds of our users. In turn, UX design offers us an established process to follow to take the resulting research insights gathered, transforming them into action through prototyping and iteration. BUT absolutely none of the above matters if your organisation is not ready for, or not interested in, UX.
As no less than 3 of our speakers – Carl Barrow, Kitte Dahrén and keynote Anneli Friberg – reminded us at UXLibsV in London, ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’. If you don’t have the support and understanding of your colleagues and senior management all your UX hopes and dreams will come to nought.
Some institutions are simply not interested in centring their services and activities around user needs and behaviours, while others just don’t realise yet that this is what UX research and design is all about. Doing UX is one thing, but getting it embedded and accepted, and the opportunities understood is quite another! If you don’t address the culture issue, like the Big Bad Wolf, it will come and gobble you up.
At UXLibsVI we want to offer talks and presentations that speak to this challenge, which explore how the threat of organisational culture and closed traditional mindsets and approaches can be tackled head on.
PLEASE NOTE: THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION ON PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS AND KEYNOTE/PLENARY SPEAKERS IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE AS DETAILS WERE AGREED BEFORE THE CONFERENCE WAS POSTPONED – SPEAKERS WILL BE CONFIRMED SOON.
PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS – TO BE CONFIRMED
We will be offering two optional pre-conference workshops on the afternoon of the day before and at the same venue as the main conference. There is an additional fee of £100 (+VAT) for each workshop. These workshops run concurrently so when you book your conference place you may only choose one workshop to attend. Places are limited so are allocated on a first-come first-served basis.
Description: Andy Priestner outlines how best to move on from conducting UX research techniques to implementing UX design: taking the insights and findings derived from research and translating them into ideas for services, spaces or products to prototype and test with your users. Using a previously prepared dataset, attendees will sort and affinity map the data, before interpreting it and generating ideas for possible prototype services. A very hands-on, practical and fun workshop that will help attendees to understand the different stages of the UX research and design process.
Description: After their hugely successful hour-long workshop at UXLibsV, Magalie and Maud invite you to attend an extended version. Sketches tell us stories and can speak more powerfully than words, and sometimes they express things that words can’t. They facilitate recording and understanding, increase memorisation, foster empathy, and help us and our audiences become more engaged: making them an ideal component of UX work. In this workshop you will learn how to use a variety of visual techniques to translate a user story into pictures. No drawing ability required!
We are thrilled to have secured two truly excellent keynote speakers who are going to challenge and inspire you in equal measure. They hail from the US and Sweden respectively…
Rebecca Blakiston is the UX strategist at the University of Arizona Libraries.
She’s been there a while, and having worked in public services, reference, instruction, and information technology, Rebecca has spent years establishing more user-centered practices library-wide.
In 2017, she advocated for centralizing UX strategy within administration, where she now manages a small yet mighty team that empowers staff with the tools to make informed, empathy-driven decisions. Her team facilitates workshops, provides consultation, and partners with staff on projects of all types.
In 2016, Rebecca was named a Library Journal Mover and Shaker. She wrote two practical guides for librarians: Usability Testing (2014) and Writing Effectively in Print and on the Web (2017). Since 2018, she’s been editor-in-chief of Weave: Journal of Library User Experience.
Born in London and raised in Phoenix, Rebecca is excited to have an excuse to visit the UK. She has admired UXLibs from afar and is thrilled to be part of it this year.
Daniel Forsman is the city librarian of Stockholm.
He started out as an academic subject librarian, turned into a systems librarian with script kiddie tendencies picking systems apart and then moved on to a manager position, before becoming the university librarian at Chalmers University of Technology and then moving on to the public library sector.
Daniel has continuously worked with the development of library services and facilities using agile methodologies, re-aligning staff and organisation with user needs. Now he focuses on agile management and change-management.
At Stockholm public library a UX development program is being deployed to activate and empower staff that also constitutes the foundation of an upcoming five-year strategic plan maintaining the library as Sweden’s most popular cultural institution with more than 11 million visitors (digital and physical).
He has presented at several international conferences and written stuff.
Kabelo Kgarosi holds the position of Assistant Director and Faculty Library Manager at the University of Pretoria, one of Africa’s top universities, and also one of the largest research universities in South Africa.
Her role contributes to reaching the strategic goals of the library, which is ultimately to become a 21st Century Library. Kabelo is an emerging leader in the field of User Experience in Libraries, charting a path towards developing and growing UX at the University of Pretoria’s Library, as well as Academic Libraries in South Africa. In addition to this, she is a champion and a co-driver of User Experience, which is one of the Library’s strategic focus areas.
With passions including user engagement and creating user-centred libraries, she has lead and participated in UX projects across different areas in the library. Kabelo is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Information Science on the aforementioned topic. At the moment, she is focused on embedding UX research and design in every part of the library as an emerging area in South African libraries.
Shelley Gullikson is a librarian at Carleton University in Ottawa with the rather lengthy title of Systems Librarian – Web, Communications, and Interface Design. She’s been incredibly lucky to have had a sabbatical year to research and read and think and write about UX.
In her librarian career before Carleton, Shelley was a website administrator at the Privy Council, head of reference at the Translation Bureau, Information Literacy Coordinator for a small liberal arts university, reference librarian at an art school, library intern at a large research university, webmaster at a small arts advocacy group, and she catalogued news tape at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. A bit of a circuitous career path, but users have always been at the centre.
Shelley can’t quite believe that she has been able to attend all six UXLibs conferences. This is a lovely community and she’s so happy to be a part of it.
We have recruited workshop leaders from around the globe who are going to help us to explore how we might respond to the challenges of the organisational cultures in which we operate and other important topics.
CALL FOR PAPERS
The UXLibsVI Call for Papers had already concluded before the conference was postponed due to the pandemic. Most of those who had previously been awarded a presenter spot are still able to attend and present so we will not therefore be opening a new call for papers.
We are once again awarding three sponsored places, two to staff from public libraries (or further education) and one to a BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) delegate. Applications were previously submitted before the conference was postponed due to coronavirus, but due to changing circumstances we may reopen applications in early 2022.
GALA DINNER & ENTERTAINMENT
Our Gala Dinner will take place at The Biscuit Factory: the UK’s largest independent commercial art, craft & design gallery set in the heart of Newcastle’s cultural quarter.
After dinner in 2019 we were entertained by protest singer Grace Petrie and comedian Sarah Mann. We look forward to welcoming more talent to UXLibs in 2022.
VENUES, ACCOMMODATION, TRAVEL
All of the information about the venues, suggested accommodation and travel options are collected on our Useful Information page.
We will once again seek to ensure that our speakers reflect our profession and therefore aim to deliver a programme of which no more than a third of our speakers identify as male. We are also very keen to amplify speakers of colour and minority voices.
CODE OF CONDUCT
Once again we will be following a conference code of conduct to ensure that everyone attending UXLibs feels welcome, accepted and entirely safe throughout. This is very important to us and we are due to revisit its content ahead of this year’s conference.
If you have any questions about UXLibsVI please email Marisa.
See you at UXLibsVI!
Andy, Helen, Bryony
The UX in Libraries Committee