Starting in September 2016, Futurelib embarked on an intensive period of research into the use of library spaces at the University of Cambridge, with the intention of finding out what might be needed to support current and future user needs and behaviours. This work supplemented the Protolib project (November 2015 to April 2016), which had taught us about different types of library space required by our users and how these could be designed effectively. During our more recent research there were two main goals: to find out what ratios and networks of these spaces might be needed in different areas of the University, and to investigate how to assist users once inside those spaces. Methods included an extensive digital diary study, in-depth interviews, observations conducted in library spaces and digital eyetracking research with users.

Analysis of the data gathered during this research led to fascinating insights about current library user behaviour in Cambridge. The observations and findings from the first Protolib project were an integral part of this and were considered and incorporated throughout the process.

On reflection it became clear that this work consisted of two distinct avenues of research and design, which is demonstrated by the project documentation. Two full reports can be found below; the Protolib II project document focuses on macro-level space design and site level planning, while the Tracker project document concentrates on micro-level issues, specifically the user-centred research and design of signage and other navigational tools.

Download the Protolib II project final report

Download the Tracker project final report

Download the Protolib II project executive summary

Download the Tracker project executive summary