• Library Planning Research,  Space Planning

    Appreciative Inquiry and Library Planning

    Appreciative Inquiry has been described as an affirmative approach to change management. It is a cooperative search for the best parts of the library building, service and organization. It involves a systematic discovery of what gives a library or library system life.

    Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD applies this concept on both small- and large-scale library projects. We follow the following steps to determine the existing conditions of a library and its future needs:

    1. Discover: We provide workshops on library planning, engaging stakeholders in a series of workshops. We study the potential for positive change and seek to understand the culture and character of the library. Our questions help reveal the present state and the future potential.
    2. Dream: Our plans start as a bubble diagram suggesting proximity and relative sizes of areas. What gives life to this area? What functions need to be adjacent? How much space should be allowed for different services?
    3. Design: Library plans will show the footprint: the area that the library occupies on the site. Some architects will show book stacks, tables, chairs and staff work equipment at this stage. We call these program tests.
    4. Deliver: A Library Service Planis a vital planning tool. Ideally, each piece of furniture and equipment is drawn on the plan in an early phase, since shapes of functional areas are often set at this stage. Capacities for books and seating in each functional area is calculated and approved by the library director, staff, administration, etc.

    Here are some sample questions to ask when reviewing a plan:

    • When users enter the library, can they understand the layout?
    • What are the strengths of the space?
    • Are books visible and arranged in a clear and simple order?
    • What are the existing conditions? What works?
    • Are functions arranged so that you walk through the noisy area to the quiet area?
    • What is the best part of the library?

    CONTACT US

    library consultant planning process

  • Library Planning Research,  Space Planning

    Use of Color in Library Planning

    Color can be a way to define and complement the learning spaces in a library. We can consider the combination of colors and tone of the space, allowing us to overlay our learning modes (social, collaborative, presentation, touch point, reflective) and improve the learning environment.

    According to Aaron Cohen Associates, ltd, there are four basic color schemes: colorless, monochromatic, related, and contrasting.

    • In the colorless scheme, only black and white are used. In this scheme, only the natural colors of the building elements are use.
    • In the monochromatic scheme, only one color is used – alone or alongside black and white.
    • In the related color scheme we use the colorwheel to define the space. For example, we might suggest earth tones – rust, orange, brown and yellow.
    • In the contrasting color scheme, the designer positions opposite colors in different zones. If the colors are too vibrant, a little bit of white or a neutral color can be used as a bridge to create a contrasting effect.
    • Considering a library redesign? Consult with experienced library programmers and designers. CONTACT AARON COHEN LIBRARY CONSULTANT

    Libraries can be difficult to design. Start to understand the color scheme for your library space. Is it cold? are there hard surfaces? do the colors enhance the behavior in the space?

    library design

  • Library Planning Research,  library technology,  Space Planning

    Wandering Patrons? Signage is the Solution

    One of the most frustrating experiences for any library patron is being unsure where to go, be it for services, collections, checkout, or programs. Signage is the solution.

    A “walkthrough,” or what we call a Visual Scan, is a vital part of developing sign locations in the library. Whether in an actual facility or via floor plans, assume the role of a visitor. Every point along the patron’s path that requires a decision must be satisfied by one of the five sign types:

    1. Orientation and Information
    2. Directions
    3. Identification
    4. Prohibitory and Warning
    5. Official Notices

    The most effective way to do this (and communicate it to a vendor/architect/contractor/builder) is to mark the sign locations on a set of AutoCAD files of the exterior and interior of the building using circled numbers. The circled numbers become a series of consecutive sign numbers for use in the bid document. Start at the parking and/or entrance, then proceed from floor to floor.

    Signs are indicated at right angles to direction of traffic and are identified by a single line for one-sided signs and a double line for double-faced signs.

    At this point in the process be concerned only with the typesof sign needed at the location, not with actual content.

    library signage
    Improving signage is a simple but effective way to increase patron satisfaction. It will help identify areas for improvement and library staff / operational efficiency. Contact our LIBRARY CONSULTANTS for more ways to improve  your library space!

    library consultant
    Library Consultant – Contact US

    Suggestions for your strategic planning analysis includes:

  • Determining the sign locations
  • Analyze flooring to define the pathway
  • Define the location of the library information point and self service hubs
  • Develop a brand architecture with images to support library signage assessments
  • Library Planning Research,  Space Planning

    The Library’s Newest Role: Remote Office

    Libraries serve an important role in today’s digital world: they offer a work space for those without a traditional office. Collaboration is a key service used by today’s patrons. Shared work space, such as WeWork, provides startups and small businesses with the tools for success; libraries can offer the same service in their communities. Library consultants help you determine the potential of your information services.

    According to Medium.com,  Library Visits Have Gone Way Up Over the Last Two Decades.Many people do not have a traditional office, but need the amenities and tools of the modern world: computers, wi-fi, printers, scanners and meeting space. Corporations and governments are rethinking the working environment; libraries should respond by developing a responsive library service program.

    Library consultants help you understand the requirements for different users and outline the strategies to increase the value of services. Most importantly, such a program can help meet the needs of the groups and individuals in the community. We always look to future needs, because change is constant in our world. A lot of people want to know how to do library programming; besides service point / touch point (circulation/reference desk) services, library consultants help define digital components, web sites, branding, research services, ILL, makespaces, STEM and much more.

    Certainly, the impact of sustainable collection strategies and the use of data to create more responsive library services is a trend in library science. Indeed, we strive to incorporate new library service standards into our work. This includes new strategies that leverage information provided by  GreenGlass and Hathitrust. More detailed data means we can program responsive spaces, adding new ideas like STEM programs and accessible work space.

    FOR MORE INFO ABOUT OUR SERVICES – Contact Us

     

  • Library Planning Research,  Space Planning,  work in progress

    Navigate the Master Planning Landscape with an Experienced Guide

    Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD can help you create a master plan so compelling that it will persuade the public to support it. When you consider library improvements through a collaborative program exercise, then you begin to see how the future can be shaped. Unfortunately, collaboration can be complex, and hiring an inexperienced team can have unfortunate consequences.

    According to Harvard Business Review’s “The Collaboration Blind Spot,”cross-group/cross-organization user analysis can go very wrong. There can be politics at play, and territorial behavior. During master planning work, there can be power plays as well as blocking behavior from all staff, including IT and facilities. Sometimes, longtime librarians find that leadership has covert plans to manipulate space boundaries. We understand there are all types of motivations, which is why our methodology of appreciative inquiry helps us create a balanced playing field.

    LIBRARY MASTER PLAN

    We know that library master planning has simple steps that will help you take control of your future. We follow a simple plan:

    1. Data gathering
    2. Testing a Vision
    3. Library Service Planning and Programming
    4. Scenario Planning and Phasing
    5. 10-year Plan/Presentation/Feedback/Update

    Before we start data gathering, we assemble a team and develop a communication plan. First, we cover the big picture issues, communicate the opportunities and need for more information. With answers to the big questions out of the way, we break down the issues to develop a program. This program is used in a variety of ways: space analysis, user behavior, budget planning, digital assets, marketing SEO, staff and operations requirements and collection storage. Following a methodology with an experienced library consultant will help your community gain user input and analyze user behavior.

    GET STARTED ON YOUR LIBRARY MASTER PLAN

    Before you start your next library master plan, review your strategic plan and ask members of your team to join a library planning committee. This committee will tour other institutions and ask lots of questions. They will visit furniture showrooms and demo digital asset management software. The team will learn:

    • Where your library user is today and where they want to go tomorrow
    • That a library is both a physical service and a digital place
    • Best practices and trends, proven space planning options and experience in planning.

    We will create a plan, budget and schedule that helps take the guesswork out of creating a library master plan. Contact Us: we can help you successfully navigate a library master plan.

    BELOW ARE AREAS THAT CAN BE PART OF A MASTER PLAN SYSTEM STUDY OR SINGLE LIBRARY PLAN

     

    Contact Us: we can help you successfully navigate a library master plan.

  • Library Planning Research,  library technology,  Space Planning

    Planning a Redesign? Let Human Behavior be Your Guide

    For an effective library redesign, let human behavior be your guide. In our work, we have found that people engage in five types of behavior: reflective, social, presentation, collaboration and touchpoint (contact with staff). This concept relates to furniture as well: Steelcase’s  Library Transforms to Learning Commons defined private/alone, private/together, and public/together spaces as part of their strategies to integrate new contemporary furniture into the learning environment.

    Want to learn more about how human behavior can guide design? Join us on November 30, 2018 at Steelcase Worklife in New York. During this one-day workshop, we will share the Five Modes of Learning model and how it can inform your design choices. Aaron Cohen, AIA, will review the ways people use the library and share examples of successful design. Through group discussions and tours of the Steelcase showroom, we will help you determine the goals and objectives of your next library improvement project.

    During this workshop, we will share our programming methods. Creating a library program is a way to outline your space planning requirements. The program is simply a spreadsheet with each space and the square footage required. The list is used to develop an architectural plan that can be used to fund a building project or start an improvement project. Model programs also allow your community members, students and faculty to give early feedback on their potential needs in the new environment.

    Ultimately, this workshop will help you modify design concepts and make the best architecture and interior design choices. When users see their needs met in the new building, they will embrace the library as a community center and a space for innovation.


    JOIN US – NOVEMBER 3, 2018 AT STEELCASE NYC ONE DAY WORKSHOP


    JOIN US – NOVEMBER 3, 2018 AT STEELCASE NYC ONE DAY WORKSHOP

  • Library Planning Research,  Space Planning,  work in progress

    Integrating Library and Learning Center? Careful Planning is Vital

    Conventional wisdom says that academic libraries need to provide quiet study space. But our research shows that students benefit from both quiet and collaborative modes of learning. Many academic libraries are now integrating tutoring, writing, math and science centers into their space, making the library both accessible and flexible. The library can also benefit from the activities generated by these functions.

    Integrating these distinct but related service areas requires careful planning. When making decisions,  focusing on unknowns can reduce overconfidence , according to DJ Walters. Carefully considering what is unknown can lead to better decision making. Walters studied areas ranging from military campaigns to medical treatments to corporate investments—when the outcome was poor, the organizations often focused on the known factors, not the unknowns. Over the last five years, we have utilized this strategy while integrating academic libraries and university services. Focusing on unknowns enabled our clients to make strategic choices.

    Our academic library conceptual design experience coupled with our academic programming experience will help your university, college or school explore new concepts in customer service, technical service, and strategic thinking. We are always building on our research; we analyze different learning spaces and explore the unknowns with educators, administrators and academic librarians. Contact our team: academic library consultant.

    LeMoyne Academic Library: Successful Integration of Library and Learning Space

    This learning space includes tutoring, writing, math, science services within the library.
  • Library Planning Research,  Space Planning,  work in progress

    Save Space and Add More Seats to Your Library

    Does your library need to re-balance its print collections?

    Do you need a small repository to increase the library’s seating count?

    How can libraries increase space utilization and improve service?  In our early days, Aaron Cohen Associates programmed library buildings to hold a lot of books. To meet ACRL storage standards, a library consultant was normally hired to determine the number of linear feet of shelving required for the library. Simply put, we helped determine the amount of books a new or existing library building could hold.

    At that time, improving service meant increasing circulation. But in the 2000s a paradigm shift occurred: the Internet, smart phones and cafes emerged. As a result, the libraries’ service declined: the amount of active space was restricted, and passive print shelving and circulation flat-lined. In the modern library, shelving is giving way to an increase in space: for collaboration, for study, for programs.

    But what to do with the books patrons still need? Automated print storage could be the answer: units can be built for small and large budgets, either horizontal or vertical. Solutions can be designed to take advantage of the cubic feet available. Storage is also essential for Fighting Format Rot, according to David Pogue. With the right system, libraries can save old formats, scan them and store them before they are discarded and lost.

    The trend toward active learning should extend to the collections: libraries have added writing centers, learning centers and math centers, and more open space. However, collections remain passive: housed on open shelving, taking up valuable learning spaces.

    Below is an example of a product that can be used for vertical storage. This is just an example to help you to start to learn how you can save space and add more seats to your library. Contact us to determine your library’s options.

  • Library Planning Research,  Space Planning

    Modern Library Design Can Spark Innovation

    In our evolving digital world, change to library spaces is inevitable—and necessary.  Many times, programming and planning can seem like challenge with lots of risks: familiar spaces change as bookshelves, staff offices and seating is replaced, technology is updated, and daily library functions are disrupted. But it is a good time to embrace change:Library spaces that are reorganized to encourage collaboration can spark innovation.

    Library programming provides many benefits, whether the space is an academic, public or school library.  Our programming clarifies the functions to support libraries: we provide a list of the services and square footage needed to develop every type of space from a modern 3D visualization area to a traditional quiet research space.

    Each new library/learning space that we program is informed by user behavior. We make sure the layout and services are flexible, and that users are offered more collaborative encounters, group work and creative experiences. Contact us to find out more.

    • We develop programs for all types of users: academic researchers, public library patrons, students, families and more
    • Our analysis allows for new ways of working in the digital age
    • We have a vast portfolio of programs and plans that reflect today’s modern design

    samsung environment

    Contact Library Consultant

  • Library Planning Research,  Space Planning,  work in progress

    Library Planning Workshop November 3, 2017 – NYC

    Join Us Friday, November 3rd from 9am – 4pm – Learn More About Library Planning, Serivces and Design

    A One Day Workshop to Program Your Library, Develop New Digital Services, Create Learning Spaces & Support Facility Planning Efforts.

    The development of a 1Place libraries for higher education, health science, K-12, research and museum space is a challenging task. Our clients regularly ask us to share our knowledge about learning spaces, flexibility, and planning for the integration of technology and design.


    Our workshop attendees are normally people who have projects that are either in pre-planning or at the implementation stage.

    During the morning session, participants will learn our library planning metrics. They will do exercises and learn from case studies developed over our 40 year history including academic, public, government, medical, law and special libraries. Workshops include examples of: library program measurements, project management, service point design, data analytics, logistics and budget / capital management

    During the afternoon session, we will tour Steelcase to learn about different types of learning environments. If you would like more info about the NYC Experience download the brochure below.

    NYC Space Planning and Design Experience – Guide for Steelcase Worklife (1)