Steven Bell
Reversing the Technology Ratchet: Using Design Thinking to Align Hi-Tech and Hi-Touch
picture of Steven Bell

Technology innovation in academic libraries is essential to resource and service enhancement, but technology alone fails to deliver a satisfying library experience to the user community. Service with a personal touch is a hallmark of what a librarian does best. But as the technology ratchet tightens its grip, librarians are feeling more pressure to acquire and implement new gadgets, gizmos, and 2.0 tools. The drive to maximize the hi-tech library often minimizes the attention paid to hi-touch service. This presentation offers some new possibilities for gaining the upper hand on the technology ratchet. It offers up design thinking as a way to implement technology in a more thoughtful and creative process.

Steven Bell will share ideas for regaining control over library technology with an exploration of how we might better identify and adopt the technologies that are right for our libraries, and do so in a way that respects our profession's core value of humanistic service delivery and workplace environments. The goal is achieving a balance between hi-tech and hi-touch.


Steven J. Bell is Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services at the Temple University Libraries. Previously he was Director of the Paul J. Gutman Library at Philadelphia University from 1997 to 2006. He obtained his Doctorate in Education in 1997 from the University of Pennsylvania, and his Master of Science in Library Science from Drexel University in 1977. He writes and speaks frequently on topics such as information retrieval, library and learning technologies, and academic librarianship.

As an Adjunct Professor at the Drexel University College of Information Science and Technology, he teaches courses in online searching and academic librarianship. He maintains a Web site and Weblog, "Steven Bell's Keeping Up Web Site" and "The Kept-Up Academic Librarian", that promote current awareness skills and resources. He is also a member of the ACRLog blogging team. Steven is a co-founder of the Blended Librarian's Online Learning Community on the Learning Times Network and has participated in numerous virtual presentations. For additional information about the author or to find links to the various Web sites he publishes and maintains, point your browser to and

Recommended Reading (PDF)

presentation (PowerPoint)