• Library Planning Research

    Improve the Perception of Your Library “Brand”

    Today, a library “brand” is often supported by a website and an app, in addition to the space. When a library user fails to use the library’s website, the library brand takes a hit. When the library’s design does not provide its intended use, the library decreases in perceived value. Every library is thus invested in the performance of their brand.

    According to our research,  a library is only as effective as its design. For instance, a beautiful library with an atrium has an advantage over a small branch library with no room. On the other hand, if a beautiful library does not provide the right spaces and services, the perceived value declines. To develop an effective design, we study user needs and group interactions. Such behavior translates into what we call the five modes of learning: reflective, social, collaborative, flexible and touch point. For example, users may read quietly or work collaboratively; they need space for both.

    Our library programming work breaks down the library collections, seating and staff requirements. Our methods are built on Schein’s cultural model. Interactions are broken into three cultural modes:

    1. Artifacts and Creations
    2. Espoused Values
    3. Basic Assumptions

    Learn More about Schein’s methods for knowledge management

    To obtain the greatest value, create spaces that relate to user needs. For example, if there is an underused space on campus that is old and out of date it may be time to do a library planning study. When we undertake such a study, visit the campus, facilitate exchanges, and develop a master library plan that is based on interactions between users and their environment.

    Once you complete this type of study, you will be able to categorize user needs, and make your library accessible. This improves the perception of your library “brand.”


    Join us November 30, 2018 at Steelcase NYC for an exciting program to learn about library design, programming and planning.

  • 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,  work in progress

    Library Planning – Knowledge Mapping Using the 5 Modes

    A few days ago, one of our senior consultants got a call from a research library in need of a new vision. The library organization structure was outdated and staff/employees were focusing on tasks that were not a priority. The need for improvement was obvious to the administration. Services for the researchers needed to improve – there was a miss-match in the services and operations of the library.

    The objective of any knowledge organization is to improve the way users access the collection. What is the touch point? is it physical or digital? What kinds of activities would you like the library staff to focus on?

    By developing a services and operations program, you can start to define better ways to make an impact on your community. You can develop a knowledge map program to gain user insights, increase access to resources and enhance library services. The idea is to increase the resources your library has to offer in a managed, phased and structured approach.

    Our program model for a library uses five different modes for learning as a starting point.

    1. Reflective
    2. Collaborative
    3. Social
    4. Presentation
    5. Touch Point

    A successful library builds on these areas to ensure both the physical library and the digital one can exceed expectations.

  • 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)

  • Library Planning Research

    The Analog Library and Architecture that Heals

    The library building, once a fortress for knowledge, is ready to undertake a renaissance and change for the better. There’s no question that we’re living in a digital age, but in the “The Revenge of the Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter,” David Sax tells the stories of businesses that have found a market selling “vintage” items like paper notebooks, records and stationery. Recently, we found that libraries are having the same renewed interest. Especially, during their book sales and public events.

    The PBS recording between WNYC Leonard Lopate and Author David Sax. includes a conversation about the renewed interest analog items. We can validate this notion from our experiences in the library world. During the interview, the author discusses the limited appeal of the purely digital life and the need to have books. Interestingly, we find this opportunity at every library we visit. So, the margin of success is obvious – community libraries and sharing local analog content distinguishes itself from the digital experience.

    A better library building and service, flexible in a sense that the library has inspiring spaces, is perpetual. The need for more storage of books and materials is becoming reality with technology. Even in the small town we need to create jobs, get our services locally and create spaces that enhance our community.

    We can learn from lessons from around the world to help us. For example, Michael Murphy (architect) provides an inspiring TED talk about how we can create a better world through architecture. He says that low fab techniques such as sourcing locally and giving people the dignity and role to play in the development of a hospital will get better results. We can see many similarities between his talk and the work we do at Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD

    You may see the Michael Murphy TED Talk – Architecture that Heals

    Below is a graphic we developed to understand the difference between library space planning, technology and design. The world is not a binary thing – we need to be able to experience our libraries and learning environments as shared environments for growth.

    analytics_-diagram

  • Library Planning Research,  Space Planning

    Libraries – Measuring the Future

    At a functional level, the basic concept of library is not antiquated. The library space remains vital and important in the context of a learning model. We have a lot to learn about the use of the library and the behavior of the patrons. It is time to use simple technology to measure the library building; use this information to improve services.

    The language of library spaces and collections is traditionally tied to a paper, emphasizing physical qualities over functional characteristics. The challenge is to articulate the essential characteristics of the library space in terms that make sense for today’s user. We are developing library programs based on new data, measuring the learning environment in innovative ways.

    ACA has the capabilities to provide Google-Analytics-style dashboards for our library projects. We can help you analyze library building: movement of patons, number of visits, what patrons browsed, what parts of the library were busy during which parts of the day, and more.

    If you are a librarian that is on a limited budget, check out “Measure the Future” – they are developing crowd sourcing bots to support libraries that want to asses their space. They are creating simple and inexpensive sensors that can collect data about building usage that is now invisible. The pilot programs can be replicated at your library with students from the local scout club.

    Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD is striving to provide strategic design solutions. We help libraries and librarians make strategic decisions that create more efficient and effective experiences for their patrons. Contact ACA if you have a library service planning or space assessment project

    5 Modes of Learning

  • Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues,  Space Planning

    Library Space Planning: The Third Place

    What is the third place? It is a library or community center, learning commons or co-working space. In a community or campus building, the third place is the library. It provides social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home (“first place”) and the workplace (“second place”). In the library planning world, the third place concept helps the project team search of answers. It helps us develop the library space plan with spaces for students and co-workers – young and old.

    According to Nancy Murrey-Settle (YALSA) “When 3rd Place is Good. Empowering Students in the Library” the high school library is one of the few places where students are given decision-making power. ‘ Sure, it is the decision-making power over their own actions, but, that is where empowerment starts. ‘ When they walk through that library door, decisions await. ‘ Where to sit, computer or table? ‘ Do they need to work, or socialize a bit?

    We remember Boarders Books and its periodical / coffee bar / newspaper reading areas, than Starbucks with convenient Wi-Fi locations to support mobile work. Now, Staples and Workbar are developing their own ‘third place’, offing co-working membership areas and prescheduled meeting spaces.

    The environment for work in the 21st century is changing, requiring academic and public libraries to think about their space differently. The Staples and Workbar project is an example of a high-end workspaces, conference rooms and private phones rooms that is part of the ‘third place’ transformation of work. The retail spaces are programmed to be between 2,500 o 3,500 sq. ft. and offer collaboration spaces as well as wi-fi, printers and ‘bottomless’ coffee and tea to keep the connectivity and productivity flowing.

    We think of the library as part of a hub and spoke network of learning spaces on campuses or in a community. Co-working spaces link students to project-based learning activities; they are often convenient locations with extended hours to support study activities on campus. The Pubic Library’s efforts to be a ‘third place’ provides co-working space for small business customers, independent professionals, startups and the mobile workforce. Below is an example of an adaptable Library…

    2016-04-20 09.52.562016-04-20 12.17.07

  • Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues,  Space Planning

    Labyrinth in the Library

    According to the Orchestrator Model, the library’s service plan can be orchestrated with “think”, “feel” and “do” strategies. The development of a building program helps the library staff “think” about the architecture and service model. The strategic plan helps the library’s leadership “feel” or define the types of interactions needed in a 21st century learning environment.

    In Matt Cook and Janet Brennan Croft’s “Interactive Mindfulness Technology,” we learn that 40% to 80% of the students researched bring their own devises to the academic library. Students are using the library on their own terms; they find the space that best matches their needs. Usually, they sit close to power. It is obvious we need strategies to orchestrate the library’s services and operations better.

    Many older libraries are built like a labyrinth. They are confusing buildings with corridors that lead to dead-ends. This puts further strain on the library’s finances, because an old and out dated building doesn’t attract investment.

    Our interpretation of the Orchestrator model is that the building program or library space plan should be part of the library’s “do” strategy. Start by analyzing the labyrinth of pathways through the library. Try to use evidence based planning or leadership techniques that can be used with the Visual Scan. This is a facilitated tour of the library space with focus groups, asking them how to improve the library.

    Other “do” strategies include a services and operations analysis; a study that defines the library’s service priorities. This could include service strategies such as program/event development, volunteer efforts, improving the usability of circulation services, web and social media projects.

    We have been looking at the proportionality of spaces. For example, the golden ratio to help us understand how to open up libraries and remove the Maze-like affects. We believe the gold ratio provides some clues on how to provide the correct proportion for the service desk, collection areas, seating and staff / processing functions.

    Take a look at the model below and start to think about the new types of interactions possible. Do you have a plan to get the proportions of your library right? Get your staff together to “think” about the potential outcomes of programming the library of the future.

    golden-ratiogolden-ratioplan

  • Library Planning Research,  Space Planning,  work in progress

    A Beautiful Space, a Usable Space: The Balance of Library Design

    We are often asked “what are the best libraries in the world?” This is a difficult question to answer, because libraries must be both beautiful and functional. An attractive space is only part of the equation; a library must also offer essential services. Conversely, a library may have great services and still need to improve their physical environment. This is why library design is a challenge for any architectural team.

    We have been studying the dynamics of beautiful libraries for many years, with input from librarians and architects. For example, the library building awards by LLAMA is a good place to familiarize yourself with libraries that stand out. You may also inform LLAMA of projects that you think are worthwhile.

    There are many elements that need to be defined in order to develop a balanced and beautiful library environment. Below are links to some examples of library design; they are a source of inspiration for us, aiding the design process for our clients.

    LINKS TO BEAUTIFUL LIBRARIES

    Architectural Digest – The most spectacular libraries around the world

    Business Insider – The most beautiful new library buildings in America

    CHRON – Most beautiful libraries in Texas… and beyond

    Article – 62 of the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries

    STANFORD UNIVERSITY – GREEN LIBRARY

    Stanford University Green Library

    OLD TOWN LIBRARY – FORT COLLINS CO

    Old-Town-Library-Poudre-River-Library_Hero-1600x600Old-Town-Library-Poudre-River-Library-9-600x400Old-Town-Library-Poudre-River-Library-10-600x400

  • Library Planning Research,  library technology,  Social Library Issues

    Library Coding Classes / Crowdsourcing Fundraising Ideas

    Transformative learning environments can make a big impact on struggling youth. As technology continues to advance, libraries are now offering coding classes to support the next generation of education. They are creating their own well of knowledge by training the community in new skills. For example, the Hive at Hillsborough Public Libraries provides all the tools to develop new ideas. Louisville’s library system (LFPL) offers coding courses to community members, supporting the next wave of knowledge workers. The HPLC and LFPL are both examples of libraries that are responding to an industry that is chronically in need of young and energetic workers, i.e. software and hardware developers. The libraries are making a difference with both space, services and collections; something that is unique to all libraries.

    According to Coding ‘Boot Camp’ Opens High-Tech Doors, free software-building classes can put poor youth on a potentially lucrative career path. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that hiring of software developers will grow at a rate twice as fast as the average for all occupations through 2022. Keeping this in mind, libraries need to be investing in coding classes, staff and hackable spaces. They need to connect with companies like Jeff Macco’s Seedpaths; delivering software development education to entry-level and advanced-level students.

    Libraries that support the community with coding/software development and crowd-sourcing skills can make a real difference in the world. What if libraries could train their own software developers to help them build public funding campaigns? As the Guardian reported in”Crowdfunding saved Timbuktu’s manuscripts. What’s next?,” Thomas Gruner and T160K developed a crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo called Timbuktu Libraries in Exile. In 2014 it raised $67,000, illustrating that crowdfunding is a viable way to raise money for libraries: ancient and modern, large and small.

    Even though Timbuktu’s library had no funding, hackers from around the world rallied to support the wealth of knowledge it holds. This can be the same for any library. It starts by building new spaces that will enhance the technology capabilities in your community and connecting them with the world.

    library user