The partnership is composed of six partners from 5 different European countries: Italy (CSBNO, Lombardy Region and Bicocca University); Denmark with Aarhus City; Portugal with the city of Braga and Romania with the city of Ploiesti and the Progress Foundation.
Il CSBNO-Consorzio Bibliotecario (Libraries Consortium) of North Milan in the North West of Milano Metropolitan (an area with 34 municipalities, 52 libraries and more than 750.000 inhabitants), is the most important library organization in Italy, with 80.000 users and 1 million loans per year. It has always been dedicated to service innovation and cultural activities, with an increasing attention towards audience development topics and methodologies. The consortium, which is working on a new organizational model to innovate their services and enlarge their public/audience, has always considered confronting itself with other European level realities particularly strategic, in the perspective of own services relaunch.
The Design Thinking for Libraries Toolkit , created by IDEO, as a result of a project funded by the Global Libraries program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in cooperation with the Chicago Public Library in the U.S. and Aarhus Public Libraries in Denmark, is a tool proposed by the Consortium to experiment, at European level, a new way of co-projecting the library services together with its users.
This proposal has been immediately accepted by Aarhus City, that, being IDEO partner, has tested the methodology in numerous libraries in Denmark as well as in other European realities. Aarhus City took part in the partnership as a “sparring partner” (or “expert partner” ) in support of the project process implementation defined by Toolkit, however to be adapted and experimented in the realities of the project partners’ countries Besides Aarhus City, there are other institutions that will contribute to the project with their expertise, in the field of HCD- Human- Centred Design and service/process innovation: the Romanian Progress Foundation, which is in partnership with 1,800 Romanian libraries and has consolidated experience in UCD field, team building, the use of new technologies for communication and storytelling/narration and Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca (Bicocca University) . The latter will contribute with their competencies in terms of didactics and technology, thus guaranteeing the scientific and methodological quality of the project .
The testing, scientifically supported by Bicocca University of Milano and “expert” partners , will concern other two areas in addition to CSBNO: the city of Braga in Portugal and the city of Ploiesti in Romania, which will take part in the project with their own public libraries .
The cohesion of the Regional Government of Lombardy shows not only a renewed interest in library services (which are remarkably structured and efficient in this region with more than 1,300 libraries on the territory) by policy makers, but also the will to share the experiment and to disseminate the results further on.
Lombardy Region will contribute in various parts of the project, and by signing a Collaboration Agreement with Politecnico of Milano – Design Department, will guarantee a methodology exchange
among other expert partners as well as mentoring and tutoring activities in the phases where the young creative will be involved (in designer roles).
The partnership establishes premises for a wide diffusion of the project results and transnational network building on a European scale, thanks to its extended presence in European Union area and for the possibility to share and link North European reality (more advanced in terms of services innovation).