University of the Arts London
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Home Community & Library

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posted on 2024-05-15, 08:53 authored by Adam Thorpe, Alison Prendiville

The Camden Home Library Service (HLS) delivers books to people who are housebound due to a range of health related issues. The service is currently under review due to the central government cuts to local government funding.

The Home Library Service project paired MDes Service Design Innovation students from London College of Communication with HLS frontline officers to explore the future of the HLS through service design thinking methods and tools, engaging different stakeholders, including community groups and the public. They co-designed how the HLS may be reconfigured in the future through new relationships and technology, exploring opportunities for the service to be utilised to address other societal problems such as loneliness and related social care issues. Within this process they also looked at the reconfiguration of organisational practice within the Home Libraries Team.

Journey and methodology

— Design ethnographic work on the Home Library Service and its users

— Presentation to Camden officers from across departments on the value of the HLS and feedback on the fieldwork

— Workshop at Age UK with non-HLS users

— Workshop at the Ideas Lab in a neighbouring London borough with elderly users

— Interviews with a wide range of stakeholders involved in Adult Social Care

— Exploration of possible service opportunities through technology, volunteers and a form of Adult Social Care through a workshop with Council officers and HLS team members

Outputs and outcomes

Through analysing the findings from their observation, interviews and co-design workshops, the students identified three areas of design opportunity:

  1. Expanding the HLS into Adult Social Care
  2. Employing volunteers
  3. Introducing digital technology to streamline processes

As the project progressed within the three areas, it became apparent that to support the individual service concepts and their interlinkage, a transparent and interactive user profiling system would need to be developed. Thus, a Common Platform to support the individual service concepts was proposed. The Home Libraries project findings fed into a consultation document on the future of the HLS that was subsequently delivered to the Cabinet office.


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