Empathy in Libraries

EmpathyHow can libraries help meet the physical, emotional, and analytical needs of their users?

Steve at Designing Better Libraries has a great post about the three different aspects of Empathy: physical, emotional, and analytical and their relationship to libraries:

So how might a library experience meet the user’s needs on the analytical, physical and emotional levels? Meeting analytical needs is perfect for the library because it is all about the mind. Everything from a good book, a featured speaker, getting help with research and even getting involved in games can help to meet analytical needs and desires. The physical and emotional needs are a bit more challenging.

Read the whole post here.

So how about the physical and emotional needs of our library users?

As far as physical goes, libraries are exploring more and more into food in the library. So there is a sustanance need fulfilled. Cushy chairs and ergonomic-friendly computer stations can work out here also (is that a real need though?). Libraries can also offer services for acquiring physical needs like employment, housing, clothing, etc.

Emotional. Well, this has definite potential to get too philosophical very fast but libraries can be a social place as well as a place for solitude. Each of these aspects of the library fulfill a psychological need. Likewise, certainly the content in many of the resources libraries provide access to can bring emotional healing.

Libraries have the power to promote each of these (and many others) aspects of their value to their users through a variety of means. Who knows, this may just be what brings them back next time.

Image originally uploaded by [auro]


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