A guide for school library visits

If your school is contemplating a new or refurbished library, as part of the planning process it’s useful to visit other school libraries to gather ideas and suggestions. The attached guide describes using a journey mapping approach to record your experience.

Find out what works and what does not work. Both aspects are important and have implications for the planning of your library.

Journey mapping can also be used to record how staff and students experience your current library space.


Journey mapping the school library – from entry to exit
Using the journey mapping template
Using information obtained through journey mapping
Further information on journey mapping
Download guide to library visits

Journey mapping the school library – from entry to exit

Journey mapping (or experience mapping) is a method used to record someone’s experience of a service, product, or process from start to finish. This method captures a holistic view of the user’s step by step experience, by recording highlights, difficulties, and barriers.

Journey mapping works best when there is a specific user goal as the focus, eg using the library for inquiry based group work, finding a book to read, curating digital content.

For the purposes of designing school library services and spaces, journey maps can provide useful information and perspectives. The maps can identify requirements that inform and guide design decisions to create rewarding user experiences for students and staff.

As a starting point, journey mapping could be carried out with both library users and non-users of your current library space and services.

Using the journey mapping template

The attached guide provides a template you can use as a guide for what to include in each map. The value of mapping is in capturing the user’s voice to identify each touchpoint and any barriers along the way.

Staff and students can each create journey maps to capture different individual experiences across year levels, learning styles, teaching styles, and needs.

You can create the journey map itself using different formats eg sketched, written, or in video diary format. Be flexible in your approach and find a style which suits your staff and students.

This information will help you identify specific areas requiring improvement and elements to observe when visiting other libraries for ideas. You can also create a journey map for any library you visit from your perspective as a visitor entering the library for the first time. 

Using information obtained through journey mapping

The journey maps you create, for both your current library and the libraries you visit, will give you lots of research data to consider. This information can inform design decisions and directions as you create plans for your new library.

Journey mapping is a method that can be used at any stage in the development of school library services and spaces. The important thing is to focus on the goals of your students and staff. It’s all about designing a library that creates successful, happy, and engaging journeys for students when they visit.

Further information on journey mapping

Designing with customer journey mapping: a 2-minute 43-sec animated Vimeo

How to figure out your customer’s purchase behaviour (using customer journey map)

Download guide to school visits

Image by Matt Lucht