Libraries can be a critical part of a child's world. Yet few researchers have investigated the concerns of children and what they can contribute to understanding and designing future new libraries. This paper presents a case study of 12 children who live in one of four countries: Germany, Honduras, New Zealand, and the U.S. By conducting interviews with children, their parents, teachers, librarians, and principals, as well as collecting drawings from children, this case study describes the role of books, libraries, technology and culture in these children's lives. Findings from this study include: these young people see informal reading as important; are keenly aware of the physical limitations of library spaces; appreciate and continually go to their school libraries; use technology (e.g., Internet applications or local software) for entertainment, social experiences, schoolwork, and personal empowerment; and, if living in the U.S, have a strong appreciation of public libraries.
The HCIL has a long, rich history of transforming the experience people have with new technologies. From understanding user needs, to developing and evaluating these technologies, the lab's faculty, staff, and students have been leading the way in HCI research and teaching.