The Home Community & Library: Tacit Knowledge and New Ways of Seeing

Alison Prendiville

The Home Community and Library project was delivered under the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded Public Collaboration Lab – a one year strategic research collaboration between London Borough of Camden, its citizens and the University of the Arts London (UAL).

This seven-month design for service project, undertaken by MDes Service Design students, applied a human-centred and highly participatory approach to understand the challenges faced by the current Home Library users; a service that currently delivers books to people who are homebound, most often the frail and elderly and those people with mental health issues.

Through the design ethnographic fieldwork, the students revealed the tacit knowledge, the hidden values and the fragility of the existing service and proposed a service concept that would magnify the relational values of the current system whilst also transforming it into a long-term joined up wellbeing and early intervention new service development.

By profiling interests, on a new digital platform based on the users reading material, DVD choices and audio material, the new service proposed a more entangled and connected network for current home library users to link up neighbours, family and other council services around their interests, to provide a soft touch approach to offering information, activities and practical interventions to sustain independent living.