Document Type

Book Chapter




design, design thinking, library education, design philosophy




Art and Design | Curriculum and Instruction | Higher Education | Library and Information Science



As change creates more uncertainty for library practitioners, graduate library education needs to explore how to best prepare students to manage ambiguity through new approaches to identifying and solving challenging problems. We advocate for incorporating design into graduate library education.


First, we discuss the need for a design approach to librarianship. We then introduce the nature of design thinking and philosophy, and discuss the ways in which it is already present in librarianship. We review past developments and recent trends with a special focus on the ways in which design thinking, methods, and philosophies are (or are not) incorporated into LIS education.


We synthesize these findings to propose recommendations and suggestions for an alternative degree program to the traditional MLS: the MLD (Master of Library Design). This includes the presentation of a new model of library education that blends design philosophy with traditional library science content.


This is the first article in the library literature to propose the development of a new type of library degree that we refer to as the Master of Library Design, hence it has a high level of originality. While the library literature has examples of practitioners applying design thinking to improve library services, this article’s value is that it promotes the integration of design thinking and philosophy more broadly in order to better equip future library professionals for a rapidly changing information landscape.

Additional Information

Chapter appears in Re-envisioning the MLS: Perspectives on the Future of Library and Information Science Education 2018 Johnna Percell , Lindsay C. Sarin , Paul T. Jaeger , John Carlo Bertot (ed.) (Advances in Librarianship, Volume 44A) Emerald Publishing Limited, pp.195 - 214



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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License