chapter  8
9 Pages

Illuminating study spaces at Cambridge University with spacefi nder: a case study


It is not often that you attend a meeting in which different people with different agendas reach complete consensus on a way forward, but on a cold January day in Cambridge University Library’s Milstein Room this is precisely what happened. The topic on the table was the relative merit of the concepts presented to us by design consultancy Modern Human, which we planned to test out in libraries across Cambridge as part of the ongoing FutureLib programme funded by the University Library (see The programme, which I have been managing since July 2015, is seeking to pilot new and innovative library services and products which respond to the real needs, wants and behaviours of our users, and have been derived from an ethnographic research phase. The ethnographic techniques employed during this 18-month-long phase were:

• ‘guerrilla’ walk-up interviews with students; • in-depth but unstructured interviews; • shadowing academics as they went about their daily lives; • diary studies with undergraduates so we could better understand their activi-

ties, preferences and study routines.