The Library Assistant: a lesson in developing great audience-led apps

Oxford's complex library system can be confusing for new students, who may have to get to grips with up to five libraries per subject area. While inductions in week 0 are popular, students are often so overwhelmed with information already that they quickly forget what they have learned.

'The Library Assistant' is an interactive online information tool developed by Oliver Bridle, Angela Carritt and other members of Oxford libraries staff that students can use to complement the existing face-to-face induction, in their own time and at their own pace. Its story is a brilliant example of the rewards that thorough end-to-end, audience-led development of digital tools - from content, design and functionality to marketing - can bring.

For this project to be successful, it was also necessary for librarians across Oxford to make changes to their face-to-face inductions so that we could improve the student experience.

Oliver Bridle, Bodleian Radcliffe Science Library

Student in a wheelchair, with a tablet computer, looks at library shelves

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