Library Planning Research

It’s all about the library user experience…

It’s never been easier for libraries to improve services – or so it seems. Open, adaptable, activity-based library spaces make people feel like they are part of the community. On the other hand, a recent Harvard Review Study by Ethan S. Bernstein (the truth about open offices) suggests that open offices reduce collaboration. We understand this problem. We analyze library use and find that people are doing more online learning, making zoom or gotomeeting calls requiring new types of libraries to support their needs.

When did messaging displace phone calls? I don’t remember, but today’s work environment is filled with people texting and communicating. Sometimes person to person conversations are being replaced by a simple text. And Google, Slack and Microsoft now offer collaboration services displacing in-person meetings. How will the libraries respond to this new type of communication? How will the environment be affected?

We are all living in real time and our physical and technology structures have changed our ability to experience our environments. We now communicate with multi-channel collaboration tools. In the future, we will be activating our space using AI, robots, NFC applications, blockchain systems and smart phones to seamlessly share our activities, relationships and experiences.

Library Architecture is easy to observe if you understand the context and content of the user experience. There are reasons why library programming is needed. We understand how to define the behavior and help program the services/spaces for the desired interactions. Organically thinking, these individual behaviors together make up an anatomy of service responses – learning support, literacy, digital knowledge and cultural awareness.

When designing the future try to understand how your library supports the face-to-face meeting, video conferencing, cell phone calls, social media, email, and messaging needs of the user. Are there places for people to do these things? Do you need to analyze our collections, seating and staff spaces? Is it time to make a plan?