Archive for category Library Planning Research

Learning About How Libraries Are Changing

It is normal for the community to question whether a library needs to grow, move or be reduced in size.  Libraries are transforming from print spaces into learning spaces.  The challenge is to build on the strengths of the library as a tool for learning and research support.  There are two areas where librarians are making a big impact:

1.  Embedded Librarianship
2.  Information Literacy

Embedded Librarianship is the integration of knowledge resources (people and online services) within a research program.

Information Literacy is locating research (general and specific) and making it available to the library’s community.

Both strategic service areas enable the library community to thrive and grow.

We are researching how libraries are transforming their environments to support their communities.  We want to learn how to make libraries reflective spaces, collaborative and social gathering centers of knowledge.

Please take our Library Planning Outcomes Survey:

Have you completed a building renovation in the last 10 years? We would really like to hear about the outcomes.

Take the Public Library Outcomes Survey

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Making the Library a Destination

As part of our workshops and ongoing research process, we perform ethnographic analysis.  This kind of research is invaluable for developing site-specific strategies because it enables participants to share their views of the interior and exterior of a library. Please take our library outcomes survey on our web site.

During the course of formal (surveys, interviews) and informal (observation) assessment, we look at furnishings, computers, equipment and exterior entrance and flow in/out of the building. Throughout this process we generate quantitative and qualitative data that is used to isolate behavioral patterns that will ultimately enable us to formulate solutions for the library space.

A few years ago, we did a full day workshop at the University of Manchester for CILIP.  It was a wonderful event to share knowledge with 25 British Librarians, as we talked about library space planning and learned about best practices.  The participants were very interested in new ideas for libraries; they could see the complexity of change and needed some answers. It was a great opportunity to tour the library and learn about the library director’s plans to improve the building. It was obvious the library was a great institution; history seeped out of its pores.  However, it needed new tools to manage the complex world of libraries.  It needed a new plan.

The Manchester Library recently reopened after an ambitious 50M renovation.  The original building created a pleasing atmosphere, but was not a great place to work or study. Below is a picture of the entryway after the renovation.

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The issues that were addressed by the Manchester renovation came to mind again when I read about the Boston Public Library recently in the New York Times.  According to “Breaking out of the Library Mold, Boston and Beyond” the Boston Public Library is going through a transformation that is noteworthy.  The entryway will be re-imagined with an open lounge area, new books and casual seating and retail space.  According to Amy Ryan, the library will make physical changes to reflect the evolving nature of libraries.

Leaders need to focus on the library as a destination by developing plans for multiple activities and contexts.  They need to understand the characteristics of the library building and services.  They need to work on simple, complicated and complex challenges.  They need to develop new ideas to accelerate improvements.  Our workshops help open up discussions, set up a framework for improvements, stimulate attractors and encourage dissent and diversity of ideas. Our workshops help participants learn about the library, creating opportunities for new ideas to emerge.

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Libraries Make Cities Stronger

Public Library buildings are local destinations that act as catalysts for urban development.  They create opportunities to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods, augmenting both the visual and social value of main streets, markets and malls.  With economic development in mind, we engage with private developers (of malls, commercial corridors, mixed-use developments); because libraries can provide long term improvements to the tenancy, in turn complementing neighborhood retail.  Public libraries fit in a wide mix of public and private sector building projects; they make an impact on economic growth.

The Demand Institute: tale of 2000 cities developed a data set of economic indicators.  The web site allows the user to compare their community with other communities, offering a statistical database relating geographic location and home ownership.  We believe it reflects the kind of data that will help communities learn about their economic well-being and help build libraries to support healthy learning environments.

The web site started a discussion in the ACA Library Planning Studio.  We discussed the idea of the library as an incubator for economic development.  Does the Demand Institute give us a working model to help understand what gives value to a community?

Healthy communities can lower the barrier to market entry for small business by rethinking public library space.  The computers and Wi-Fi, meeting spaces and cafes provide natural environments for business in the 21st century.  The organic quality of cafes acting as business environments was truly exemplified last summer when we visited Milan.  When we were touring the Doma, we were told that the Starbucks’s model was made in Milan Italy.  It seems like coffee in the morning and in the afternoon are good times to do business.

According to the Howard Schultz, Coffee Bar Enthusiast, ”In 1983, while on a buying trip in Milan, Italy, Schultz had an epiphany at one of the many coffee bars. He was struck by the connection people had to coffee, and to the coffee bars which served as a meeting place for people in the community and wanted to replicate the coffee bar at Starbucks stores.”

We believe the public library has evolved to incorporate the Starbuck’s model of a meeting place.   Indeed, libraries make cities stronger because they are stable, strong and resilient.  They support local and international economies; spaces where communities of practice thrive.

Below is a photo of the National Library of Singapore – Esplanade Library with Cafe.

Library-at-Esplanade

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Planning the Academic Library

Our library consultants are focused on the development of the academic library. We believe the academic library is a place for peer and collaborative exchanges. We believe that hybrid and online learning platforms offer a space for embedded librarians to improve student learning outcomes and contribute to the overall instructional efficacy of teachers.  We believe that online discussion boards, a staple of assessment for online learning, require libraries and librarians to enhance support, for both students and instructors. We believe that the academic library can enhance graduation rates. Our strategies reflect the need to make libraries and librarians more effective in the struggle to improve student success.

The 2013 Ithaka S+R Library Survey outlines how academic libraries can develop new priorities for the 21st century.  For example, the survey states that libraries were more interested in discovery systems in 2010.  Today, most library directors are interested in information literacy and strategies to enhance academic support services.  The report stated that 2/3′s of library directors are moving toward digital resources; something not surprising. The report stated that funding is the largest problem for academic libraries, requiring justifications for investment(s).

Arne Duncan, U.S. secretary of Education, stated:  “Everyone deserves access to high-quality learning opportunities, from preschool to middle school and all the way through college. In order to achieve Pres. Obama’s goal to lead the world in college graduates by 2020, we must work to ensure that everyone has a chance to enroll and complete post secondary education.” As colleges, and community colleges in particular, are the cornerstone of this presidential goal, we  have identified the academic library as being an integral part of the process.  We believe the best strategy to accomplish these goals is to invest in collaborative spaces with professional and peer learning activities.  The library can play a role as a physical space and online by providing embedded librarians to support student success.

According to the American Institute for Research, graduation rates in the United States are not inspiring.  Less than one-third of entering community college students and less than one-half of entering four-year college students ever graduate. Dropouts from college impact the economy in terms of lost earnings and taxes to the tune of about $4.5 billion a year.

The NEW YORK DAILY NEWS headline dated November 26, 2011 declared: CUNY Dropout Rate Shows Public Schools Aren’t Preparing Kids.  The article went on to state: “Four out of five students attending CUNY community colleges need to remedial class work in math, reading and writing.” Within six years 51% have dropped out and, of the rest, only 28% graduate.

As for the graduation rate at CUNY’S four-year colleges, the following was obtained from their individual websites:

  • Brooklyn College – 27%
  • Baruch College – 34%
  • City College – 30%
  • Hunter College – 19%
  • Lehman College – 14%
  • Queens College – 26%
  • York College – 3%.

Granted, many of the students work or have other responsibilities and cannot graduate within four years.  For example, the six-year graduation rate at Brooklyn College rises to 48.2% and it is possible that the eight-year graduation rate may rise to over 50%.  The numbers are still problematic.

Of course, students’ learning cultures, family backgrounds and socioeconomic levels also affect graduation rates.  Remedial programs, tutoring and mentoring do work, however.  The data indicates that 27% of community college students utilizing CUNY’s intensive remedial programs graduate in two years while only 7% using their own resources graduate in two years.

We have an idea…and an action plan.  We want our academic libraries to become incubators that help to increase graduation rates.  Since most information perused by students in our two- and four-year colleges is now digital, space can be freed within these facilities for host of programs including digital tutors, peer support, staff counselors, etc.

To this end we are holding a library planning workshop on May 27, 2014 at the Steelcase Showroom in New York City at Columbus Circle.  Please come and join us.

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Thinking about libraries in new ways

The library of the future is going to be a collection of activities and books.  The book technology may change from being clay tablets to e-books.  However, learning activities are the core of any library.

When we design new libraries, we look at potential learning activities.  We examine the combinations of functions from technology to books to learning spaces. These learning activities may use print journals or computers.  The combination of access to intellectual stimulation and space, enabling us to have experiences that enrich our lives.

Charlie Bennett, an academic librarian at Georgia Tech, delivered a poetic Tedx talk.  He talked about what libraries offer and the value of thinking in new ways about technology and service.  He explored the history of libraries and the factors that lead to the development of learning spaces.  If you would like to be inspired, take 10 mins and listen here to the TED TALK LIBRARIAN.

Below is a picture of a GT library / learning space.  What does the next generation library look like?IMG_4457

 

 

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Kicking the Tires on MOOC’s and Library Planning

The MOOC’s offer unique opportunities to educators, librarians and leaders.  They offer a rapid deployment of educational resources, challenging the ways higher education will function in our times.  The MOOC’s are possible because of the availability of a networked world that is now mobile as well as connected.  They offer services to unmet and unsolved educational needs.

At ALA Midwinter, a panel discussed the advances in MOOC’s and higher education.  Bryan Alexander, Anya Kamenetz, Ray Schroeder, Cathy De Rosa, and Skip Prichard discussed the impact of the MOOC’s and libraries.  Cathy De Rosa, OCLC Vice President for the Americas and Global Vice President of Marketing, shared OCLC collective insight research.  Bryan Alexander author of the The New Digital Storytelling also provided insights.

In traditional education, MOOC’s mean giving over authority and control of the classroom.  However, according to Georgia Tech, Alumni Magazine “Kicking the Tires on Tech’s first MOOC“, 113,668 students enrolled in the Universities first computational investing MOOC class.  Over 70,000 students watched a video from the course.  The numbers are astounding; the size of the audience is very large.

The library world understands that local-ness is especially vital in times of rapid change. In other words, they are organizations that can achieve coordination, synergy between higher education offerings and the wider public.  The possibilities of higher education exist; now it is time to develop finders to help our local community improve educational conditions.

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Libraries are Inspiring Places

Libraries are unique cultural and educational places that offer collaborative learning opportunities.  The library is a set of service concept(s) that provides opportunities for activity, help and engagement.  According to Harvard Business Review “IDEO’s Culture of Helping,”the knowledge worker or users needs a culture where help is embedded.   They need libraries for brainstorming and collaborative / project based work.

According to the Pew Internet – “How Americans Value Public Libraries in Their Communities”, 67% percent of respondents would be personally impacted if their library closed. The patrons that use the library know its value in terms of the space.  There are computing, socializing and areas to check out books.

It is a challenge for librarians and educators to show how “collaborative generosity” can be the norm in your community.  The secret is to provide your community with a library that has enough seats for all potential learning activities.  The increase in the amount of space for each new learning activity (reflective, collaborative, social, etc.) will enable opportunities for collaborative support.

At ALA Midwinter (#ala2014mw), librarians and educators discussed how to assess the under-served population.  The dialog created some confusion over whether it was right to study non-user populations as well as user populations.  Libraries need to study their communities strengths first.  Collecting data about how the 29% of users who believe not having a library would make a big impact on their lives will deliver a wealth of data to help build future strategies.

WARM UP EXERCISE: Daniel Dalton in the Buzzfeed community developed a web page that captures some quotes as warm ups for planning and programming. The link includes 28 beautiful quotes about libraries.

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Library as an Incubator

The idea that a library can be an incubator space and a place for innovation is something many librarians and educators share. We believe libraries can be learning hubs. They can be developed with a solid understanding of learning space design and library planning measurements. For example, “U.S. Plans Global Network of Free Online Courses,” the US government is going to develop “learning hubs” or incubator libraries.

For Lila Ibrahim, the president of Coursera, “The learning hubs represent a new stage in the evolution of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, and address two issues: the lack of reliable Internet access in some countries, and the growing conviction that students do better if they can discuss course materials, and meet at least occasionally with a teacher or facilitator.”

Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD developed five different learning modes that will support the development of the Library as an Incubator or Learning Hubs

    1. Develop reflective spaces for focused work
    2. Create collaborative spaces that can be facilitated – teacher/tutor/mentor/geek squad/librarian
    3. Design social interactions with touch-points
    4. Develop program, classroom and presentation spaces to run programs.

In collaboration with Georgia Institute of Technology, we held a workshop on the Library as an Incubator on Oct. 26, 2013. The program explored our unique planning methodology. Our host Charlie Bennett provided examples of how to develop innovation spaces and maker spaces. He will be speaking for the TEDX Telfairstreet and Tinker, Teacher, Maker, Space: Two Co-working Experiments in the Academic Library @ LITA 2013.

Our workshop took us on a Visual Scan tour of the library’s collaboration spaces.

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E-book Readers, Streaming Media and the Library Plan

The growing demand for e-book readers is changing the way we access books, creating new opportunities for libraries to reach out and find new patrons. According to Pew Internet, the percent of U.S. adults with an e-book reader doubled from 6% to 12% between November 2010 and May 2011.

GROWING COMMUNITY OF E-BOOK USERS
In a national poll conducted from Aug 15-18, 2013 by the USA Today and Bookish, finds a growing community that both literary and digital. Forty percent, including 46% of those younger than 40 say they have an e-reader such as Amazon’s Kindle, or a tablet such as Apple’s Ipad.

- 24% of parents have an e-reader
- 32% of parents have a Tablet.
- E-Books now account for almost 20% of all book sales
- Sales of e-books increased 42% in 2012.
- Among patrons 16 years old and older, 40% visited libraries to borrow movies.

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TARGET AUDIENCE FOR E-BOOK READERS
Adults younger than age 65, college graduates and those living in households with incomes of at least $75,000 are most likely to own e-book readers. Parents are also more likely than non-parents to own these devices.

PART OF THE E-BOOK EXPERIENCE

The library’s space can be designed to enhance e-book, mobile browsing and media streaming experiences. Libraries can deliver ways to build e-book socials; experiences such as book clubs and story time with e-readers and tablets.

According to “Now at your library: Streaming movies, music,” Midwest Tape is moving forward with a streaming media program. As of early September, there are about 220,000 people using the Midwest Tape app, said Michael Manon, Hoopla‘s brand manager. The goal is to reach 100 library systems by year’s end.

It is time to create libraries that reflect changes in technology, enhancing learning strategies to develop social, collaborative, reflective and presentation spaces. Libraries have always been a source for different learning modes whether you are looking for a quiet space or a group to meet to study. The growing demand for e-book readers and streaming media are giving a big boost to learning, we should encourage it.

WANT TO LEARN ABOUT THE FOUR MODES OF LEARNING? – JOIN US ON OCT 26, 2013 AT CLOUGH COMMON @ THE GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

MAKE YOUR LIBRARY AN INCUBATOR FOR LEARNING

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The Library Incubator / The New Digital Canvas

We are developing a knowledge base on how to leverage virtual collections in the physical environment. There is a potential to create presentation spaces in the library for both information literacy and knowledge sharing. At Wentworth Institute of Technology, we developed a concept of the media tower. Was this a futuristic idea? Or has the time come for new ways to visualize information?

Library environments include collections, seating and staff spaces. The collections are placed on different types of print shelving from face out displays for periodicals to 7-shelf high stacks for books. Some of the questions we are researching:

Is it possible to create serendipity in the Library environment; as books on shelves do, with microtiles?

Could we develop interactive environments that support scholarly learning and information literacy programs? How would it be staffed?

Could we develop interactive environments for early learning, teens, adults and seniors? How would it be supported?

The media wall is a large screen environment that allows for touch screen as well as xbox connect interactions. It can be used for collaboration in a performance or presentation mode. At the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, they developed the Float4. It is a good example of how you can create a learning incubator.

Also, take a look at the work at Christie Microtiles. Below is a Photo from the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.

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