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Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Resource Guide Collection

Design Thinking: Ideation & Prototyping

for Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces


One way to get inside the head of your users is to develop personas. A persona is a representation of a major user group in your library or organization.

Here's an example: Henriettah, our quintessential New England librarian. A coworker and I developed this persona a couple of years ago to help us create a UX workshop for a state library conference.

First we got out the sticky notes and threw some ideas for characteristics on the wall. We voted with flags, and then generated a composite sketch.

Finally, we built the character sheet below with Xtensio, a free persona generator.

Note that we didn’t just look at library-related characteristics. You want to have a deep enough backstory to be able to predict how they will react to a given situation based on what you know about them. Think about all the different people who may participate in your active learning space. You will probably want to develop several personas to capture the majority of your users.


photo of post-its and sketch for Henriettah persona


Description of Henriettah, a typical library conference attendee