The 6th annual international User Experience in Libraries conference, or UXLibsVI, will take place at Northumbria University in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, in the North East of England, between Monday 8 June and Wednesday 10 June 2020.

If you are interested in uncovering and responding to the needs and behaviour of library users then the User Experience in Libraries conference is for you. You do not need to be an expert in user experience research and design – all library staff are welcome! It is also important to mention that 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 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 approximate cost of the 2020 conference will be £375-400 (+VAT) with an additional £75 to £100 for the optional pre-conference workshop. This year accommodation will not be included as part of the conference package. A list of recommended hotels will be provided when bookings open.


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 last year 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.

This year 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.


This year’s call for delegate papers is now open. These papers are given by delegates, usually speak to the conference theme (see directly above), last for 20 minutes, and are presented to around a quarter of our 200 delegates.

>> Full details of the Call for Papers, including submission requirements & advice, and our blind review scoring criteria.

Please feel free to contact conference chair Andy Priestner on andy@uxlib.org if you want to discuss any aspect of this year’s Call for Papers.


Bookings will open in mid-January 2020.


We are currently looking for sponsors for this year’s conference. If you are interested in supporting our event in this way then please email: andy@uxlib.org


We will once again be awarding three sponsored places, two to staff from public libraries and one to a BME delegate. More details on applying for these places will be available soon.


As last year there will be one, or possibly two pre-conference workshops. These will be held on the afternoon of Monday 8 June 2020.


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 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.


To be announced.


This year’s 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.

Last year after dinner we were entertained by protest singer Grace Petrie and comedian Sarah Mann. We look forward to welcoming more talent to UXLibs in 2020.


Once again we followed 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 before the end of this year.


Our 2019 Yearbook, effectively a conference proceedings, is in preparation and will be published in January.

See you at UXLibsVI!

Andy, Bryony, Helen
The UX in Libraries Committee