personas, user groups, library design, library space, patron needs


Purpose: Library space and services should center on library patrons and what they need. Trying to match the needs of each patron can become a daunting task. A new approach needs to be taken. One that describes patrons and their needs in a useful way. Using an approach from marketing and product design, personas or user groups, offer a unique approach to thinking and describing patron needs to assist in the identification and design of library space and services.

Design & Methodology: The identification, development, and validation of personas employs an iterative process using both qualitative and quantitative methods to first identify user patterns, then develop the patterns into meaningful descriptions, and finally to validate the personas. Once validated, additional data is collected, and, as librarians become persona-minded, the persona descriptions continue to be enriched.

Findings: The chapter provides a descriptions of personas found in one academic library and how those personas were developed before being used to assist in library space identification and development. One unique feature of our personas was the fluid nature where patrons would shift personas depending on personal needs.

Practical implications: Personas are a practical and meaningful tool for thinking about library space and service design in the development stage. Several examples of library spaces that focus on the needs of specific personas are provided.

Original Publication Citation

Holt Zaugg (2017), Using Persona Descriptions to Inform Library Space Design, in Samantha Schmehl Hines, Kathryn Moore Crowe (ed.) The Future of Library Space (Advances in Library Administration and Organization, Volume 36) Bingley, UK - Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 335–358.

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Permanent URL


UK - Emerald Group Publishing Limited




Harold B. Lee Library

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor