UXLibs7 – 2023

In the sunniest week we’ve ever had for the conference, 175 delegates from 21 different countries descended on the seaside resort of Brighton for 3 fun-packed days of talks, workshops and challenges on the theme of ‘Connections & Collaborations’.

We learned that we can make more of our user experience endeavours if we collaborate with others both inside and outside the library. We also explored the topics of intersectionality and inclusion, the value of right-brained UX research methods, and how to align with and communicate within our organisations while engaged in UX work. Speakers included: Andy Priestner, Marie Østergård, Emma Thompson, Dr Arun Verma, Dr Victoria Olaniyan, Shelley Gullikson and Dr Clodagh Reid.

Workshops focused: on communicating UX (Ned Potter); taking UX beyond the library (Pete Hanna and Sarah Halliday); working with senior management (Jane Burns); art and the user journey (Sebastian May); storytelling (Larissa Tijsterman), and UX and virtual reality (Victor Alfson).

The team challenge entitled ‘Coming Together’ saw teams (named after marine life in keeping with our nearby seaside surroundings) tackling a problem splitting into library staff and users, crafting scale models of their space-based solutions and pitching their ideas to senior library management. Teams Starfish, Whale and Seal were victorious. Team Whale also won a preliminary challenge in which they built the largest newspaper tower in the lecture theatre on which they could perch an inflatable seagull!

Alison Sharman won the Best Paper for her talk on building a community of practice (Academic Libraries North UX). Close behind her were Josh Herter with a talk on printer problems (with lots of Taylor Swift references), and Hannah Jones who spoke on toilet provision for trans and gender nonconforming users.

The social programme included a night on Brighton’s Palace Pier, with fish and chips and a quiz, and a special Gala Dinner in the Old Ship Hotel’s Paganini ballroom where we were entertained by the band Major Major.

View the UXLibs7 presentations and photographs.


After a 3-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UXLibs returned in glory in 2022 with over 150 delegates from 18 different countries worldwide, including for the first time attendees from Italy, Mexico and Croatia. The conference was held at Northumbria University in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

The conference theme was ‘UX and Organisational Culture’ and delegates were treated to keynotes from Daniel Forsman (Sweden) and Rebecca Blakiston (USA), and plenary presentations from Kabelo Kgarosi (South Africa), and Anneli Friberg and Anna Kagedal (Sweden).

Workshops covered diverse topics such as Data Visualisation, Culture Mapping, Intersectionality and Race and Agile UX methodology. The Team Challenge focused on promoting UX within the organisation as teams were tasked to devise a slogan, a prototype, and a mascot to represent the value and purpose of User Experience work.

The best delegate paper was won by Julie Willems, with Nick Russell in 2nd place, and Ned Potter and Paul Harding in 3rd.

Our gala dinner was at the Biscuit Factory with entertainment from vocalist Hattie Briggs.

View the 2022 conference presentations

UXLibsV – 2019

Our fifth annual conference was held near London at Royal Holloway University. Our theme was ‘from research to design’ – moving from gathering research data to ideation, prototyping and iterating/testing new services with users.

We welcomed 180 delegates from 18 different countries worldwide with more Danish, French, Finnish, South African, and Australian delegates than ever before.

Our keynotes were Anneli Friberg and Suzanne Chapman who presented on leadership and UX and the challenge of UX design respectively . Our plenary speakers were Penny Andrews, who helped us to think about the issues facing neuro-diverse users and Victor Alfson who explored the potential value of virtual reality to UX research. The best delegate paper was won by Nathalie Clot of the University of Angers, France.

Our workshops explored: empathy; sketch noting; appreciative enquiry; digital prototyping; interviewing; and information literacy and UX.

Our gala dinner held in the Founder’s Dining Hall featured awesome entertainment from established folk/protest singer Grace Petrie and up-and-coming comedian Sarah Mann.

All of the conference proceedings will be published in our 2019 yearbook later this year but for now you can check out the presentations here.

You can read blogposts reviewing UXLibsV below:

UXLibsIV – 2018
Our fourth annual conference took place in Sheffield on 6 and 7 June 2018. Our theme was inclusivity and we explored the value of designing services for all as well as specific aspects such as BAME and trans-experience of libraries.

Our keynotes were library director Christian Lauersen and designer Sara Leren. Our plenary speakers were Dr Kit Heyam and Dr Janine Bradbury. The best delegate paper award was won by Claire Browne.

All of the presentations (case studies, practical guidance, stories) from this conference are available in the 2018 UX in Libraries Yearbook.

The above picture by David Scott was taken before our gala dinner at Sheffield’s Cutlers’ Hall. Many more of David’s photos will appear in the 2018 Yearbook.

Blogposts and presentations from UXLibsIV:

It is important to note that this was Matt Borg’s final conference serving on the UXLibs committee. We wish him well in his new career.

Screen Shot 2017-07-03 at 14.08.23UXLibsIII – 2017
Our successful third conference was held in Glasgow at the Studio on 6-7th June and focused on ethical dimensions and impact of UX techniques.

Our keynotes were Dr Meredith Evans and Matthew Reidsma.
The best delegate paper award was won by Emma Wisher.

All of the presentations (case studies, practical guidance, stories) from this conference are included in the 2017 UX in Libraries Yearbook which can be purchased in print and electronically.

Bryony Ramsden joined the committee in place of Ned Potter.

Blogposts reflecting on UXLibsIII:
– UXLibsIII – in 50 Photos by Andy Priestner
– UXLibsIII – impressions of a novice by Vanya Gallimore
UXLibsIII – reflections from a regular by Martin Philip
– UXLibsIII – conference notes by Shelley Gullikson
– UXLibsIII – conference thoughts by Shelley Gullikson
– UXLibsIII – UX your desk by Carl Barrow
– UXLibsIII – five conference reports by Ingela Wahlgren

Also here is Matthew Reidsma’s keynote on ‘Ethical UX’ in transcript and video form and Andy Priestner’s post on his New Model of UX Adoption which formed a key part of his UXLibsIII opening address.

Photo by David Scott.

thumb_IMG_8416_1024UXLibsII – 2016

Our second conference which took place as the UK voted to leave the European Union was held in Manchester at the Studio on 23rd-24th June 2016. The theme was sharing results of UX research.

The night before the conference we had a photocall (left) to celebrate the publication of the UX in Libraries book by Routledge (l-r: Helen Murphy, Matt Borg, Matthew Reisdma, Donna Lanclos, Andy Priestner, Andrew Asher).

Our keynotes were Dr Donna Lanclos and Lawrie Phipps. The best delegate paper award was won by Ingela Wahlgren.

– UXLibsII: the darkest day by Andy Priestner
– UXLibsII: in 50 photos by Andy Priestner
UXLibsII: this time its political by Ned Potter
The immediacy of context, initial reflections on UXLibsII by Donna Lanclos
Three stories: UXLibsII keynote by Donna Lanclos
– Reflecting on UXLibsII by Lawrie Phipps
UXLibsII Reflections by Martin Philip
– Reflections – UXLibsII by Carl Barrow
– UXLibsII: getting back on the rails by Carl Barrow (not really a conference review blogpost but you MUST read it)
– #UXLIBS, Brexit… happy face sad face by Rachel Nelligan
– UXLibsII: conference thoughts by Shelley Gullikson
– UXLibsII: Dag 1 by Ingela Wahlgren (in Swedish)
UXLibsII: Dag 2 by Ingela Wahlgren (in Swedish)
UXLibsII: Keynote 1: Donna Lanclos by Ingela Wahlgren (in Swedish)
UXLibsII: Keynote 2: Lawrie Phipps by Ingela Wahlgren (in Swedish)


UXLibsI – 2015
Our first conference intended to bring together library staff from all over the world who were interested in, using, or passionate about UX, ethnography and design thinking. A global community was born.

Our keynotes were Dr Donna Lanclos, Matthew Reidsma and Paul-Jervis Heath.

All teams competed in an Apprentice-like competition to research and pitch a new innovation based on UX research efforts. The winning team was ‘Purple Haze’.

The feedback to our first event was phenomenal and UXLibs dominated social media for weeks after the event. Many delegates were moved to write reflective reviews of the event which they felt had been quite unlike any other conference they had attended. Below is a comprehensive list of these blogposts and articles:

UXLibs: a new breed of conference by Andy Priestner (CILIP Update – May 2015)
Summary: The first international UX in Libraries conference took place at Cambridge University in March, trending on Twitter on its first day. Conference originator and chair Andy Priestnereflects on whether UXLibs fulfilled its goals and looks at the growing interest in ethnographic research techniques in the academic library sector.

Andy also wrote more informally about the conference in this blogpost: Hit by the UXLibs Freight Train

Keynote speaker and anthropologist Donna Lanclos penned: UXLibs in Cambridge–Keynoting, Dining and Punting, Oh My, while anthropologist and workshop leader Andrew Asher reflected that: Cambridge is Strange

Attendee Ned Potter penned no less than 5 blogposts as follows:
1: Georgina, The Wall!
2: The Art of the Keynote: Matthew Reidsma
3: The Art of the Keynote: Donna Lanclos and Paul-Jervis Heath
4: Ethnography You Can Try at Home 
5: Ideation, Pitching, and Responsive Study Space

Other posts from delegates included:
UX Libs: a very messy blog post by Helen Murphy
A New UXLib Community by Krista Godfrey
UXLibs Skills & Tools by Krista Godfrey
UXLib Conference Notes by Shelley Gullikson
UXLib Conference Thoughts by Shelley Gullikson
UXLibs: Part One: A Personal Reflection by Jenny Foster
UXLibs: Part Two: Chop Down the Door by Jenny Foster
UXLib – User Experience in Libraries by Carl Barrow
The UX Libs Experience by Karine Larose
It’s a conference, Jim, but not as we know it. UXLibs, Cambridge 2015 by Jessica Stephens

The conference keynotes are available here:
A story about ethnography and possibility in libraries – Donna Lanclos (scroll down for a summary)
Transforming insights into services – Paul-Jervis Heath
More than Usable – Matthew Reidsma, also as a video

Ned Potter also collated all the delegates tweets which recorded the three keynotes using Storify:
Donna Lanclos
Paul-Jervis Heath
Matthew Reidsma