Systems Thinking

Too often, decisions are focused on surface-level problems. Without a root cause analysis—or a systems thinking perspective—changes made to services or environments can cause underlying problems to linger and influence the overall performance of a service. Systems thinking provides tools to see the interconnectedness of our world and how various services and environments are tightly coupled. 

This webinar is an introduction to the world of systems thinking (ST) and how attendees can apply systems thinking in their own work. While geared towards individuals in leadership positions at all levels, the program is relevant to anyone interested in systems thinking and applying a holistic approach to their work. Participants will get an introduction to the principles of systems thinking, including a brief look at its history, an explanation of key ST terminology, and case studies from various industries. The instructors will demonstrate how ST can be applied to a library environment for various occupations.

Registration for this event is also included in the User Experience for Libraries (UX4L) series.

Through participation in this session, users will gain:

  • A better understanding of systems thinking
  • Knowledge of how systems thinking differs from traditional management mindsets
  • An understanding of some practical ways to improve your organization through systems thinking

Joe J. Marquez was an academic librarian for 10 years at Reed College and Sonoma State University. He has presented and written on topics related to service design, UX tools, and library space assessment. While not currently a librarian, he remains active in the library community through teaching and outreach and never hesitates to evangelize about service design when asked. He is the co-author of the books Library Service Design: A LITA Guide to Holistic Assessment, Insight, and Improvement (2016) and Getting Started in Service Design (2017). He was awarded the first Future of Librarian Fellowship in 2017 from the ALA Center for the Future of Libraries and was named a 2018 Mover and Shaker by Library Journal. He has an MLIS from the University of Washington iSchool and an MBA from Portland State University.

Tim Peters is currently the Associate Dean of University Libraries at Central Michigan University. Before arriving at CMU, he spent 17 years working in community college libraries in Michigan and Minnesota. A long-time library administrator, he has written and presented on a variety of topics. He is currently working on another article on systems thinking. Tim has an MLIS from Louisiana State University and a Masters in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education from Michigan State University.

This event will be hosted in Zoom. Automatic captions will be enabled for this event. This event will be recorded, and registrants will receive access to the recording within a day after the event ends.

If you have questions or requests regarding accessibility, contact us at or at 312-280-5100.