• Library Planning Research

    Library Building ADA Functional Requirements

    When our firm (ACA) plans and programs a New Library Building we inform our clients that we will be applying ADA standards. We believe it is very important to adhere to ADA building standards set out to support access for people with disabilities.

  • Improved access to library spaces, equipment and materials should enable everyone to enjoy the freedom to seek information.
  • When we renovate a library building we do a visual assessment. We tour Library areas and/or zones to determine if it provides ADA access or if the building space restrict user flow. Usually, book shelves that haven’t been rearranged for 20 years require rethinking.

  • For example, 36″ aisle spacing between the book stacks was a standard for library design. The stacks were planned for efficiency and not for ADA compliance.
  • When planning you may consider 46″ aisles to ensure access is provided and flow is improved.
  • Other ADA compliance issues that need to be considered are the staff work areas.

  • Non-compliant circulation desks and/or workstation spaces that can not be adjusted need to be considered a priority.
  • The staff require work spaces to ensure their positive energy and professional effort is maximized.
  • Library Planning Research

    The Library and Smartphones

    In 2010, ACA did a planning workshop for Computers in Libraries. During the workshop, the group discussed the use of mobile technology and its impact on library space. What will the library of the future look like? A recent study by the PEW FOUNDATION starts to shine the light on new technology…

    According to the Pew Foundation, 32 percent of Americans had accessed the web using a mobile device by April 2009 compared to only 24 percent in December 2007, and 58 percent of 18-29 year olds have used the web on a mobile device. Worldwide demand for smartphones increased 30 percent last year and continues to grow.

    In “Universities and Libraries Move to the Mobile Web, Aldrich, Alan, Educause Quarterly, Vol. 33. #2, 2010,” states that University Websites and Library sites need to integrate mobile requirements and functionality. As library consultants, planners and designers we are focused on another functional aspect of Smart phones – what kinds of learning spaces do students need to support mobile technology. We are researching different educational and public information settings to understand mobile computing needs. As a result, we are developing new types of programmatic requirements for library spaces i.e. flexible furnishings, smart spaces and materials, stackable chairs and tables. We are looking for ways to improve the learning space.

  • Library Planning Research,  work in progress

    One Thousand Libraries and Still Counting

    At the age of eight, Aaron Cohen was discovered! He was in the local branch of the New York Public Library near the Educational Alliance – a famous settlement house on the Lower East Side of New York City — where he showed his sketches to a teacher and librarian. They showed them to the Director of the Educational Alliance, who immediately invited Aaron to attend a class in the Adult Drawing Studio. The Director gave Aaron advice: “Keep going to the library and read about famous artists. Then, in your sketch book, draw what you see.”

    Drawing has helped Aaron throughout his life. It has helped him, as an architect, to convey ideas to his clients. It has helped him relax: after hours; on weekends; on vacation; wherever he went, whether on business or holiday.

    Recently, Aaron’s approach to drawing is a take-off on one of his favorite artists, Surat. He uses dots to create images and then, when necessary, fill in the voids. Because it is difficult to take colored inks on to airplanes, he now sketch solely in black and white. When he gets home, he may color portions of a drawing – or, he may leave it alone.

    In Aaron’s early years as an architect, he worked for several architects, including a seven year stint for Edward Durell Stone.

    In his next iteration, he became a campus planner at CCNY. Finally, in his early thirties, he opened an office in New York and had commissions for a slew of houses on Fire Island and in the Hamptons and in Oyster Bay.

    Aaron designed a number of innovative retail shops and boutiques along New York’s Madison Avenue when Madison Avenue was “hot, hot, hot”. One of his beach house clients was a professor at a major university in its school of library science. He introduced Aaron and his wife Elaine to the problems that libraries were having at the time. Aaron was fascinated, and this fascination caused the creation of a forty-year long career planning and designing libraries.

    Aaron began this career with the help of his wife, Elaine, who, today, is President of the firm. Twenty-five years ago, his colleague, Natasha Palevski, joined our office as a chief planner and designer. Ten years ago, Aaron’s son, Alex, joined the library consulting firm. Today, he functions as a major library consultant. Seven years ago, Carol Ninkovich, became our editor and office manager.

    Over the past forty years, Aaron has worked on more than one thousand libraries. He has worked on just about every type of library that there is: academic, public, medical, law, archival, museum, theological, governmental, etc. He has worked on libraries in just about every major city in the U.S. and also on libraries in small and medium sized communities, some of which are in out of the way places. Along the way, the Cohen’s coined the term “Information Commons” which is used by computing facilities in and out of libraries almost everywhere.

    Libraries have taken the Cohen’s all over the world: Alexandria, Egypt; Athens, Greece; Bermuda; Singapore; Brussels, Belgium; Cairo, Egypt; Istanbul, Turkey; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Paris, France; Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. And everywhere Aaron went, he brought a sketch book and a pen and ink.

    Aaron is planning to do an exhibition in San Francisco in 2010-11 to mark his 75th Birthday. The exhibition will be a celebration. In his lifetime, he literally helped developed over 1,000 libraries. This enabled him to create a myriad of sketch books (more than 5,000 drawings). This is exhibition will be a celebration of Aaron’s sketch books and drawings – libraries and buildings, people and images.

  • Library Planning Research,  work in progress

    Peter Drucker and Strategic Library Planning

    When you want to develop a new library building or a new service Peter Drucker’s management philosophy might be a preliminary first step. Your research can start with “Management, Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices.” In the book, Drucker tells his readers to focus on clear and measurable goals.

    The Library’s strategic plan must include the staffs ambition to be better. The ways the library staff sets itself on achieving those goals is crucial. Peter Drucker urges us to engage in activities that help us work out what we are good at, what we should not do and what our values are going to be.

    ACA Recommends: Peter Drucker.

  • work in progress

    Jay Leno Library Joke


    Late Night TV is part of what’s best in America..there are jokes that are funny, mean and distasteful. The 5/11/10 Joke from the Leno show is linked here. It is part of a commentary on government spending and a misunderstanding of the Library’s value.

    We would like Jay Leno to make up for his poor taste and start advocating for libraries. I am sure he can give back more.

    It is our right to call him out!!..Our Letter to Jay.

    Jay your poor understanding of America’s libraries and their value needs to be corrected. You need to spend time visiting and understanding libraries. Jay we can provide a competitive environment for future generations – job seeking, skills building, learning and social networking. And Jay if you want make some fun of it too – we wont stop you!!