INF536 Blog Task #3 – Design brief – How might we?

Design brief

OBSERVATION & DISCOVERY: The entry into the Secondary library is through a large covered concrete area (and our students deserve inspiring spaces (Baudett cited in Elliott Burnes, 2005), and the doors are flanked by security gates and then opens into a large space broken into display areas, the circulation desk and the two teacher-librarians desks. The external area serves as a thoroughfare, social gathering place and bag drop. The internal space is the only way into and out of the library and is not used for anything other than pausing to watch the TV display or browsing the book displays.

Links to sketches, previous blog for background and photos of the spaces involved.

INF536 Blog3


Known unknowns:

  • Cost of enclosing the outer area may not be feasible for the next 1-2 years, given other building works currently under way and in the pipeline.


Known knowns:

  • The impending one-to-one program requires that students use their devices inside and the current library only has seating for around 100 boys (secondary numbers 1500)
  •  The school does not provide a social space for games, cards etc
  • The large external and reasonably large internal spaces are not utilised to maximise seating numbers, and some staff are concerned about the increased supervision that will accompany increased student numbers.

CHALLENGE: To redesign the entry into the secondary library in order to:

  • better utilise the space to accommodate more boys and their devices
  • welcome in boys who otherwise would be unlikely to make use of the library space
  • provide a service that is unique within the school (a welcoming social space)
  • ensure that access to, and the library itself, is user-friendly

POINT OF VIEW: With the view that imagination makes empathy possible (Green, 1995, cited in Bland, Hughes & Willis, 2013) the aim is to see the space, positives and negatives, from the point of view of all users, including students, teachers, TLs, library officers and visitors, to create a sense of belonging, be user-friendly and practical.

So, How Might We …?

Amp up the good so that these spaces provide students with one or more of the required social, collaborative, focused or shared spaces?

Remove the bad by providing adequate options for bags, so that both the boys and their bags are protected from the weather?

Explore the opposite so that the external and internal spaces can be repurposed in a variety of ways, as the need arises?

Question the assumption that the library is a ‘work’ space only and those who are not ‘working’ are not welcome? Change perspectives (Bont, 2013)

Go after adjectives such as welcoming, social, focussed, flexible, enticing?

Identify unexpected resources such as some of our library staff, who value social interaction or furniture that is available to support such an environment?

Create an analogy from need or context such as a coffee shop or cafe booth atmosphere in the external entry by enclosing the space, using furniture and plants or screening?

Play Point of View against the challenge of considering all stakeholders – students, teachers, TLs, library staff and visitors, such as tutors?

Change the status quo that the library is for ‘work’ only?

Break the Point of View into pieces of being welcoming; being social and being practical?


  1. Costly option – enclose the front external entry with a large (two storey) pane of glass, glass display cabinets and new wide glass sliding doors. Possibility of cafe or coffee shop style furnishings. Repositioning the current doors, security gates and circulation desk would also be worthwhile, if considering this option.
  2. The most costly option – enclose the northern front entry as above, creating a reading lounge entry with the social space to be created on a verandah/deck on the south side of the library, so that students have to pass through the library to reach the social space. (Rawstorne, 2014)
  3. Continue with the cafe style option, without enclosing the space, using outdoor furniture and plants, and investigating a mobile circulation desk.
  4. Any of the above prototypes would include the smaller changes brainstormed in the OneNote, including using staff as a valuable resource.


Bland, D., Hughes, H. and Willis, J. (2013). Reimagining Learning Spaces. Queensland University of Technology. Retrieved from

Bont, C. de, Ouden, P.H. den, Schifferstein, R., Smulders, F.E.H.M. & Voort, M. van der (Eds.). (2013). Advanced design methods for successful innovation. Den Haag: Design United. Retrieved from

Brown, T. (2009). Change by design: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. HarperBusiness.

Elliott Burns, R. (2005). Designing Spaces for Learning and Living in Schools: perspectives of a ‘flaneuse’. . In Proceedings 2005 Australian Curriculum Studies Association Biennial Conference ‘Blurring the Boundaries, Sharpening the Focus’, University of the Sunshine Coast [Queensland, Australia]. Retrieved from

IDEO. (2014). Design Thinking for Educators. Retrieved from

Kumar, V. (2012). 101 Design Methods: A structured approach for driving innovation in your organisation. Wiley. Retrieved from

Rawstorne, T. (2014). From floor tiles that slow your trolley down to beer next to the nappies: We show you the supermarket games that make you spend more. Daily Mail. Retrieved from


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