Librarians and user journeys

I’ve been singing the praises of librarians managing DAMs, and I felt like I’d joined a choir when I watched Henry Stewart’s webinar, Lead with Librarians. Sponsored by Aldis and presented by Aldis Senior Librarian Phil Seibel and Digital Librarian Hannah Callahan, I found myself nodding and “mm-hmm”ing all the way through.

A point they circled back to again and again is that librarians’ whole reason for being is to connect people to what they are seeking, be it information, assets, solutions, etc. It is what we do; it is who we are. 

Librarians are excellent at teasing out what a person needs, whether it’s a book in a library or a more effective workflow. In a traditional library setting, librarians conduct reference interviews to discuss with patrons what they’re looking for. Sometimes this discussion actually helps the patron as well as the librarian understand what they’re really after! In a business setting, librarians shine a light by defining user journeys, examining the user’s day-to-day workflow, including how a user searches for and retrieves assets/information/etc. This helps inform the librarian as they manage the DAM, for example in creating metadata fields and controlled vocabularies. The users are always at the center. By listening to multiple users and meeting them where they are, librarians gain a bird’s eye view of the maze of workflows, making sense of it all, finding solutions and leveraging technology (such as DAMs!) that fit user needs.

The goal is to empower users. In a traditional library setting, that looks different for every patron – they could be a historian, a hobbyist, a teacher, etc., and each of their end goals will be different. In business, empowering users means helping them do their job more effectively and efficiently. In both cases, this is done by connecting people to the asset, information, solution, etc. that they need. This is the core of librarianship.

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