Blog Post 3 – Design Brief

August 15, 2014


The Family Resource Center is a library located within Golisano Children’s Hospital. The library was created four years ago with the intent of being a place for patients and families to go to learn about new conditions that had been diagnosed. They would have access to recent and reputable medical information under the guidance of a reference librarian. Since its creation, it has morphed into a library mainly for the children, providing services to keep the children entertained and at ease during their stay at the hospital. The small space contains movies, popular books for all ages, playstation games, board games, and other activities for families to partake in.


The space has confused purposes since its original inception. It is no longer simply a “Family Resource Center”- a place where families have access to medical resources. In addition to that, it has become a home away from home for patients and families, providing an escape primarily for the young patients to get out of the room and spend time in an enjoyable way. The setup of the room and its furniture have not adapted with its new purpose. Lots of tables and hard chairs provide enough space for board games, but the space does not encourage reading, watching movies, or playing video games in the space, all of which are the main services that the library provides.


  • make the Family Resource Center a comfortable place for families to relax in beyond the patient’s room
  • encourage extended stays in the library and participating in activities there
  • make the services known to families as soon as they are in the hospital and settled
  • the opportunity for a child to enter the space and make it his/her own; a home away from home
  • make the services easily available to patients that cannot leave the room


  • being such a small space, having large and comfortable furniture is limited, since the space must allow room for wheelchair access
  • not enough staffing (this means deliveries to rooms wouldn’t always be an available option- only when 2 people were staffed at the desk)
    • paid staff employed by library cannot make deliveries to rooms, but can make them to nurses’ stations
    • volunteers through the hospital can access patients’ rooms


  • cannot expand the space, for the time being
  • the library can get crowded during peak times (opening and closing hour), especially when children come in wheelchairs or wagons
  • for the space to be successful, the primary stakeholders — the patients who are anywhere from newborns to 18 years old — must be able to mold the space to fit whatever their desired purpose; it is a co-creative process (This is Service Design Thinking)


  • unclear budget
  • potential donations occur all the time that include a variety of items, or fiscal donations which can add to the budget
    • this especially occurs around Christmas time; the library creates a wishlist and makes it public, and charities or services seek to provide the library with the items from its wishlist
  • whether the restrictions on library staff moving to patient rooms will remain; discussions of allowing staff to make deliveries have been under development
  • the patients who use the library change all the time, and so do their needs; it is best to continually make observations (Brown & Katz, 2011) and adjustments to the space to adapt to the children in the hospital at the time

Ideas for Redesign

  • name change of the space to more appropriately reflect its new purpose
  • more comfortable seating near bookshelves to encourage browsing and reading
    • both comfortable chairs for adults to sit with young children, and bean bags for children to lounge in
  • “mini mobile library” – a cart containing a variety of media for children to check out that a staff member can bring around to the rooms
    • good for children who cannot leave rooms
    • good for raising awareness of space
    • can pass out a master list of objects on these trips to encourage families to come back to library if they want something else
  • more small comfortable furniture for the really young
    • right now there are small pillows that are a huge hit; young ones will throw them around and create a space for themselves, even though sometimes parents discourage them from making a mess!



Brown, T., & Katz, B. (2011). Change by Design. Journal Of Product Innovation Management, 28(3), 381-383. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5885.2011.00806.x

This is Service Design Thinking [Video file]. Retrieved from





Entry Filed under: INF536. Posted in  INF536 .

1 Comment Add your own

  •    Liz Eckert  |  August 18th, 2014 at 10:12 am     Reply

    quite a number of constraints there. The unknowns around funding & donations possibly are the biggest ones. I like the mobile cart idea to allow access to some materials with the possibility of accessing other materials, particularly after finding out that there is a library that patients and their families can visit and access more materials (of whatever format).

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