• Library Planning Research,  Space Planning

    Which Vision of the Future will best describe your library?

    There are good reasons to do a library plan at the end of the year (Join us Dec 13, 2019 @ Steelcase). It is a good time to get plans started and prepare for the future. The key performance indicators for any library service and/or library staffing project should be defined before the boss asks how much money do you need next year. Our approach is straightforward and easy to understand – Join Us & Get Ahead of the Curve.

    We developed our library planning workshop at Steelcase Worklife almost 20 years ago. Each year, we would hold discussions about the future of the library and participants share stories about their recent projects and the things they wanted to do.

    Over the years, the workshop addressed the need for Quiet and Collaborative, Makerspaces and Flexible Environments. We discussed the information commons, learning commons and the need for books in the library. We shared examples about the changes we witnessed in the library environment – new computer workstations, self check out technology, RFID, and tablets, Ipads and the Andriod revolution in Smartphones. If things were changing, we were discussing it at our Annual Library Planning Workshop.

    Today the lack of planning can distort how the user experience is delivered and whether your library is focusing on the right things. Join Us on December 13, 2019 at Steelcase Worklife – share your vision of the library of the future…

    Share your ideas how the library can be a dynamic learning space, community and cultural space.

  • 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

    The Library Program: a Vital First Step in Design

    Aaron Cohen Associates’  library programs have improved the design of libraries worldwide, integrating architecture, IT and service. A program is the first step in the conceptual design process; it is vital to give it time and attention. As part of our program work, we build connections between people, facilitate workshops and offer solutions for space and service challenges. 

    A library program outlines where seating, computers, lounge seats and group study area are placed. They also show where the library provides circulation and reference services. The seating spaces can be social, collaborative, or quiet and have adaptable furniture.

    The library program can have a profound influence on the quality of your library environment. It is important that a program is adaptable, able to respond to the changing needs of patrons. In addition, careful choices of furniture and lighting can enhance and modernize your space. Here are some factors to consider when developing a program:

    • Make sure your program and planning documents are easy to read and free from complex solutions.
    • If you are considering new seating, test the library space. We recommend self-sustaining scenarios/solutions and interventions. Demo the furniture, ask users what they think, run a library planning workshop, etc.
    • Ensure your library design accentuates natural light and fresh air.
    • Try to incorporate flexible, stackable furniture and moveable walls to maximize flexibility. Spaces should serve multiple purposes when possible.
    • Avoid fabrics, soft furnishings and broad-loom carpets; these materials make it harder to keep the library clean.
    • Use a variety of lighting: spotlights, up-lighters and diffused lighting controlled with dimmer switches can provide flexibility for different functions.
    • Provide book walls with plenty of new books to add more energy to your library.
    • Organize sufficient storage space to keep all equipment, last copy and special collections, so that work surfaces are clear and free.
    • Ask lots of questions, listen to your users and explore their vision.
  • Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues,  work in progress

    Resolve to Update Your Library in 2019

    As time and technology advance, a library must keep pace with community needs. It may be time to develop a strategic or master plan, or to undertake a review and redesign to modernize a space. ACA can leverage our decades of experience to guide stakeholders through the process and ensure a good outcome.

    The first step is to look at existing space and services.  What services are offered—or not offered? What needs to be added? What needs to be left behind?

    To make these decisions, we focus on future needs, such as social collaboration, reference and technology access. Then, we develop a program and design that will meet these needs, following a timeline and phases with specific milestones.

    ACA will work with you to:

    • Review existing conditions: space, service and staff.
    • Consider future needs and ways to fill in the gaps: more collaborative space? Fewer print titles? More programming rooms?
    • Develop a program and design to meet the needs and modernize the space.

    Want more information? Contact Us!

  • 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

    Assembling Your Knowledge Management Team

    It is good practice to periodically examine the “roster” of your digital or physical library team, to seek ways to improve it. When developing or evaluating a team, each member will have certain characteristics that make them well-suited for a certain role. We run organizational development workshops to help libraries and digital asset teams maximize their human resources.

    According to ACA’s 45 years of building program research, successful library organizations are made up of a diverse mix of job titles, which require diverse human characteristics. Librarians and Knowledge Workers can be specialists, reference people or technical services pros.  Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD work with library staff and knowledge management teams to identify and shape the teams and increase effectiveness.

    Below are characteristics of each team member; we developed these based on the Belbin team building framework.

    Resource Investigator

    • Their inquisitive nature helps them find ideas to bring back to the team.
    • Strengths: Outgoing, enthusiastic. A natural networker – the go-to person to test a new opportunity.
    • Challenges: Over-optimistic; can lose interest once the initial enthusiasm has passed.
    • A good person to follow up and build on research and delivery partnerships.

    Team Worker

    • The glue that keeps the team moving, using their versatility to identify the work required. The person that will complete the work on behalf of the team.
    • Strengths: Co-operative, perceptive and diplomatic. A great listener who can avert friction between team members.
    • Challenges: Indecisive in crunch situations; avoids confrontation between strong willed team members.
    • Will be hesitant to make unpopular decisions.

    Coordinator

    • Helps the team focus the library service objectives. A person who can draw out other team members and delegate work.
    • Strengths: Mature, confident, identifies talent and builds on it. Goals setter.
    • Challenges: Leaders can be manipulative; they can offload work to other members reducing team effectiveness.
    • Can delegate work others, leaving themselves with limied tasks or challenges.

    Management Consultant

    • A highly creative person that is good at solving problems in unconventional ways.
    • Strengths: Creative, imaginative, dynamic-thinking, concept / ideas generator and problem solver.
    • Challenges: Might not be able to focus; may be too preoccupied to communicate effectively.
    • Can forget the good ideas and try to develop additional ones when none is necessary.

    Assessment Evaluator

    • Assessment professional; a good person to make impartial judgement when required. A good person to weighs up the team’s options in a dispassionate way.
    • Strengths: Sober, strategic and discerning. A person that can see the options and recommend next steps accurately.
    • Challenges: Can be critical, lacks the drive and ability to inspire others.
    • Not all can make a quick decision. This staff member can be slow to come to decisions.

    Specialist

    • The project specialist has in-depth knowledge in a key delivery area.
    • Strengths: Dedicated, a self-starter and always moving forward with work. They will research and apply their knowledge management skills.
    • Challenges: May stick to the technicalities and not address the goals and objectives.
    • Can research a topic and overload if you don’t support their drive to find solutions to information resource needs/integration.

    Management Shaper

    • The staff member that will drive the team. This staff member will ensure that the team keeps moving and does not lose focus or momentum.
    • Strengths: Can handle the pressure and deliver. A dynamic staff member that has the drive and courage to overcome any knowledge management obstacles.
    • Challenges: A person who isn’t afraid to get in your face; Can offend people’s feelings.
    • Sometimes  need to get things done and they get aggressive, which can be harnessed to efficiencies when recognized.

    Implementer

    • A knowledge manager that can develop a workable strategy and carry it out as efficiently as possible.
    • Strengths: Efficient and Practical, reliable and driving. This staff member turns ideas into actions and organizes work that needs to be done.
    • Challenges: Inflexible nature can be slow to respond to new possibilities.
    • Can slow down positive change if they are too inflexible.

    Completer/Finisher

    • Every project needs a person who will polish and scrutinize knowledge management work for errors; Research requires the highest standards of quality control.
    • Strengths: Searching out errors is natural to a conscientious knowledge worker. It is important to finish the project with defined outcomes including key performance indicators.
    • Challenges: Knowledge workers can be reluctant to delegate tasks which slows down progress.
    • Perfection is a strength until it impedes the delivery of knowledge resources.
  • 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