UXLibs8 – 2024

Bookings are now open for the 8th annual international User Experience in Libraries (UX in Libraries or ‘UXLibs’ for short) conference, which will take place from Tuesday 11 June to Thursday 13 June 2024 in Cambridge, UK, at Anglia Ruskin University (see programme). The theme of the event will be ‘Curiosity and Empathy’. User Experience work is arguably centred in both and we look forward to exploring these interlinked themes together in Cambridge.

>>> BOOK YOUR PLACE (click here!)

The conference will incorporate keynotes and plenary talks from speakers from inside and outside libraries. There’s also the legendary team challenge, our interactive workshops presented by UX practitioners and, of course, social events allowing delegates to make connections and, just as importantly, to relax and have fun. Read on for more information about all aspects of the conference. We can’t wait to see you there! 

OUR KEYNOTE & PLENARY SPEAKERS
We are thrilled to announce this year’s speakers (full biographies to follow):

Keynotes:

  • Elif Tinaztepe, Principal/Partner, Schmidt Hammer Lassen architects, Denmark: ‘Cultural Resonance: Embracing Generosity, Empathy and Curiosity in Design’
  • Cassini Nazir, Assistant Professor, College of Visual Arts & Design, University of North Texas, USA: ‘The Power Couple in Design: Curiosity and Empathy’

Plenaries:

  • Loyce B. Witherspoon, User Researcher, Rightmove, UK: ‘UX, Empathy and Intersectionality’
  • Clodagh Reid, Assistant Lecturer in Technology Education, TUS, Ireland: ‘Problem Solving from a Spatial Visualisation Perspective’
  • Imran Afzal, Principal Designer, Co-op, UK: ‘Let’s Choose Empathy’

FEES
The cost of the 2024 conference is £495 (+VAT) which includes all the conference sessions, the Tuesday evening social event, lunches on Wednesday and Thursday, and the Wednesday evening Gala Dinner.  Accommodation is not included. There is an additional charge of £130 (+VAT) if you wish to attend the optional Tuesday morning pre-conference workshop which includes a buffet lunch. Please see our Cancellation Policy.

PROGRAMME
The event will begin with the bookable pre-conference workshop on the morning of Tuesday 11 June, while the conference officially opens at 1:30pm on the same day and runs for two-and-a-half days 
>> Provisional Programme.

VENUES, ACCOMMODATION, TRAVEL
Information about the venues, suggested accommodation and travel options can be found on our Useful Information page.

WHAT IS THIS YEAR’S THEME?
The 2024 theme is ‘Curiosity and Empathy’. Conference content will seek to explore and respond to the following questions:

  • How might we engender more empathy for our users when conducting User Experience Research & Design techniques?
  • How might we become more curious about both our users, and the data we gather from them, with a view to increased understanding of their needs and behaviours, now and in the future?
  • How might we have more self-empathy, protecting ourselves from the emotional labour of researching and designing user experiences?
  • How might we decide when our research curiosity is too curious? Where are the ethical lines and boundaries?
  • How might we show more empathy for staff and colleagues when we/they are conducting UX work?
  • How might we select and conduct more empathic and curious UX techniques?

In addition to this specific focus, the conference will more generally offer advice and expertise on the work of UX Research & Design in a library context, that will be valuable to novices and experts alike.

WHY SHOULD I ATTEND?
The aim of our conference is to bring library staff together from academic, public and corporate libraries worldwide to share their stories and expertise in the field of User Experience (UX) Research and Design: researching and responding to the needs and behaviours of library users and testing and developing improved services in response. Whether you’re new to UX work or an experienced practitioner, we are confident that you will be inspired and energised by attending UX in Libraries.

And… also because we think UXLibs is different to most other library conferences. Specifically it is:

  • truly international: in 2023 delegates attended from 21 different countries as far afield as Canada, Qatar, Australia & New Zealand, so you will truly broaden your library horizons;
  • highly interactive: you will meet and work with many other delegates through individual, team and workshop activities;
  • intentionally friendly and informal: we believe attendees will learn and share more if they feel welcome and relaxed.

PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOP
This year we are offering an optional pre-conference workshop entitled ‘The UX Toolkit: an Introduction to UX Research & Design’ at the same venue as the main conference on the morning of Tuesday 11 June (9.00am-12.00pm).

‘The UX Toolkit’: An interactive workshop in which Andy Priestner outlines a range of key UX research techniques that he has employed in libraries around the world in order to understand and improve user experience.  A hands-on, practical and fun session that will help attendees to understand the value of each method, together with examples of their use in real library settings.

Andy Priestner is a freelance consultant and trainer who previously worked in senior library roles at both Oxford and Cambridge University. He created and chairs UX in Libraries and is the author of ‘A Handbook of User Experience Research & Design in Libraries’.

There is an additional fee of £130 (+VAT) for this workshop for which a buffet lunch is included. Places are limited so are allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

WORKSHOPS
There will also be a range of practical, interactive workshops led by an impressive array of experts from inside and outside of libraries:

Bob Liu, USA (below left) >> Anyone can design: bringing teams together with a design studio: participants will learn about the ‘design studio’ method, a lightweight session that can happen anytime and anywhere.

Anita Benko, UK (below centre) >> Using games to enhance the UX process: participants will take part in a ‘Code Names’ game for the purpose of user data analysis, prompting deeper thinking about research findings and helping mitigate confirmation bias.

Carl Barrow, UK (below right) >>  Lessons from a librarian turned paramedic: participants will consider supporting distressed students or ‘students in crisis’ and how to build easily navigable pathways to external services or how to incorporate support services as part of the library offering.

Danielle Daugherty & Heather Cribbs, USA (below left) >> Enhancing organizational empathy through continuous UX modelling: participants will learn how to create a customized UX Methods Matrix aligned with their organization’s UX Maturity Model to reinforce UX methodologies and gain a deeper understanding of how users interact with both physical and virtual library environments.

Joshua J. Herter, Canada (below right) >> More than footprints: empathy-rich behavioural mapping techniques: participants will scope, design and administer a mapping study – a group table-top simulation – calibrated to build empathy rather than solely report behaviour.

Marjanne Goossens, The Netherlands (below far right) >>  Body language as part of your UX toolkit to (positively) influence participants and quality of data: participants will explore how nonverbal cues can enhance curiosity and empathy and also yield more comprehensive, nuanced and actionable UX insights.

DELEGATE PAPERS
Every year we reach out to the UXLibs community to submit papers on UX-related topics. Those selected through a blind review process are presented at the conference. Our Call for Papers has now closed and successful applicants have now been notified.

TEAM CHALLENGE
Aside from our numerous speakers and workshops, our conference incorporates a challenge intended to inspire attendees to consider their work and knowledge from new angles by working with other delegates in teams.

SOCIAL EVENING AND GALA DINNER
A social programme will connect delegates and also offer the opportunity for some much-needed downtime, relaxation and entertainment. There will be a social event on the first night of the conference (Tuesday 11 June) at The Tivoli beside the river and Jesus Green, while the UXLibs Gala Dinner (Wednesday 12 June) will take place in the historic ballroom of the University Arms, Cambridge’s oldest hotel.

SPONSORED PLACES
We will once again be awarding three sponsored places, two to staff from public libraries (or further education) and one to a BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) delegate. All the information is on our Sponsored Places page.

SPEAKER QUOTA
We are committed to ensuring that our speakers reflect our profession and therefore aim to deliver a programme of which no more than a third of our presenters (speakers, workshop leaders and delegate presenters) identify as male. We are also keen to amplify speakers of colour and minority voices.

CODE OF CONDUCT
We will be following a conference code of conduct to ensure that everyone attending UXLibs feels welcome, accepted and entirely safe throughout.

ANY QUESTIONS
If you have any questions about the 2024 conference please email Marisa.

We’d love to see you at UXLibs8 in Cambridge!

Andy
(on behalf of The UX in Libraries Committee: Andy Priestner, Bryony Ramsden, Andrew Alexander, Julie Willems)