• Library Planning Research

    Value of Academic and Research Libraries

    What is the value of the library?

    Learning spaces need to be positioned to provide access, skill development and the right context for learning to grow. Come join us on Thursday, November 3, 2016 at Steelcase NYC to learn how to develop highly integrated learning spaces.

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    Modern research libraries perform a number of critical functions: they provide space and tools for learning. The library’s capacity to drive opportunity and success in today’s knowledge-based economy requires proven methods for programming library services and operations. Whether it is change across all facets of the research organization; academic libraries have the potential to greatly impact education and learning. The library’s fundamental people, place and platforms are core to its mission.


    Reasons for Libraries
    1. Libraries offer a buffer between work space and home space
    2. They create social capital through group and collaborative learning
    3. They provide access to research materials
    4. They provide spaces that support all content formats

  • Library Planning Research

    E-book Readers, Streaming Media and the Library Plan

    The growing demand for e-book readers is changing the way we access books, creating new opportunities for libraries to reach out and find new patrons. According to Pew Internet, the percent of U.S. adults with an e-book reader doubled from 6% to 12% between November 2010 and May 2011.

    In a national poll conducted from Aug 15-18, 2013 by the USA Today and Bookish, finds a growing community that both literary and digital. Forty percent, including 46% of those younger than 40 say they have an e-reader such as Amazon’s Kindle, or a tablet such as Apple’s Ipad.

    – 24% of parents have an e-reader
    – 32% of parents have a Tablet.
    – E-Books now account for almost 20% of all book sales
    – Sales of e-books increased 42% in 2012.
    – Among patrons 16 years old and older, 40% visited libraries to borrow movies.


    Adults younger than age 65, college graduates and those living in households with incomes of at least $75,000 are most likely to own e-book readers. Parents are also more likely than non-parents to own these devices.


    The library’s space can be designed to enhance e-book, mobile browsing and media streaming experiences. Libraries can deliver ways to build e-book socials; experiences such as book clubs and story time with e-readers and tablets.

    According to “Now at your library: Streaming movies, music,” Midwest Tape is moving forward with a streaming media program. As of early September, there are about 220,000 people using the Midwest Tape app, said Michael Manon, Hoopla‘s brand manager. The goal is to reach 100 library systems by year’s end.

    It is time to create libraries that reflect changes in technology, enhancing learning strategies to develop social, collaborative, reflective and presentation spaces. Libraries have always been a source for different learning modes whether you are looking for a quiet space or a group to meet to study. The growing demand for e-book readers and streaming media are giving a big boost to learning, we should encourage it.




  • Library Planning Research,  Space Planning

    The Library Incubator / The New Digital Canvas

    We are developing a knowledge base on how to leverage virtual collections in the physical environment. There is a potential to create presentation spaces in the library for both information literacy and knowledge sharing. At Wentworth Institute of Technology, we developed a concept of the media tower. Was this a futuristic idea? Or has the time come for new ways to visualize information?

    Library environments include collections, seating and staff spaces. The collections are placed on different types of print shelving from face out displays for periodicals to 7-shelf high stacks for books. Some of the questions we are researching:

    Is it possible to create serendipity in the Library environment; as books on shelves do, with microtiles?

    Could we develop interactive environments that support scholarly learning and information literacy programs? How would it be staffed?

    Could we develop interactive environments for early learning, teens, adults and seniors? How would it be supported?

    The media wall is a large screen environment that allows for touch screen as well as xbox connect interactions. It can be used for collaboration in a performance or presentation mode. At the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, they developed the Float4. It is a good example of how you can create a learning incubator.

    Also, take a look at the work at Christie Microtiles. Below is a Photo from the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.


  • Library Planning Research

    The Library Incubator / Start a Self Study

    It is certain that experience helps a person prepare for change. Our workshops give librarians and academics an opportunity to learn from our planning methodologies. The development of a library is continual, evolving after each update to the physical and virtual environment.

    Almost everyone has had occasion to look back upon renovation projects and wonder what has become of the knowledge gained. Indeed, we are lucky to retain a series of ‘building programs” that outline library space planning models.

    To get started on your own library space planning project visit: Learning Space Toolkit – It is a great web site to learn about planning and the types of activities needed to start your own self study. When the question is asked, then, what is the plan? You will have a starting point to begin discussions about either doing it yourself or hiring a Library Consultant.

    We are excited about our workshop at the Georgia Institute of Technology on Oct 26th, please go to: Library Workshop at the Georgia Institute of Technology – Oct 26, 2013

    Below is an image of the Visual Scan – Behavioral Bubble Concept…

    Visual Scan

  • Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues,  work in progress

    Developing a Library Incubator

    Are there better places to learn on campus or in a community? The library can better serve their community by providing new services and re-vamping existing delivery strategies. According to “where do we go from here? Informing Academic Library Staffing through Reference Transaction Analysis,” mobility, power and technology are changing the way students use the reference desk. In 2010, over 62% percent of undergraduate students owned Internet capable handheld devices.

    According to PewInternet, 91% of American adults own a cell phone and many use the devices for much more than phone calls. With the rapid adoption of mobile technologies and advances in all digital resources, libraries need to provide answers to questions wherever we are.

    Resource rich environments can be enhanced with touch points that help you navigate to what you need. The library can offer tools that enhances the users ability to operate in the digital cloud. For example, a plan to define the path of travel through the library can be both physical and virtual. There is technology that can react to our needs wherever we are.

    Academic libraries are starting to use location based QR codes to support real-time learning activities. Plans that allow users to walk into an area with books or periodicals and connect to the libraries e-resources are being considered. Librarians are developing real-time opportunities for physical and virtual collaboration, providing a platform to support Laphams Quarterly’s art of learning.

    Laroi Lawton at Cuny Bronx Community College developed a good starting point for reasons why libraries are important. The list provides some of the reasons that students know and indicate that their library is still relevant, in order of importance:

    1. convenient hub
    2. socialization
    3. motivation
    4. collaboration
    5. resource rich
    6. safe
    7. relevant collections
    8. distraction free
    9. service
    10. ambiance

    We see the need for libraries continuing into the future. They provide a unique medium based on a long history of programmable space that encourages individuals to succeed. Libraries are places to learn and promote civilized activities. This personal approach towards helping the library user along with their research is the basis of our culture.

    There are a wide variety of new mobile technologies and apps that are changing the way people use information. It is time to accept the handheld librarian as the norm and add them to the art of knowing….Join Us at our workshop on Oct 26th at the Georgia Institute of Technology


  • Library Planning Research

    The Library Incubator

    For libraries, the digital revolution is upending standard methods of service. Increasingly, digital formats are replacing paper formats. Books are still in demand and growing in some sectors; textbooks, fiction and non-fiction, periodicals, etc. are being perused on Ipads, Kindles, Nooks and Iphones too. Because online learning is gaining hold, libraries need new strategies to create value. Once the realm of colleges, today, cultural institutions such as public libraries are beginning to see that direct support for the individual and/or creating a small business incubator is a potential area for success.

    Kristin Mcdonough is developing strategies to fund, enhance and serve the NYPL community in the 21st century. The NYPL is awarding libraries with local funding to create new programs such as career support and guidance counselors. For example, the Brooklyn library offers a career coach. Robyn Saunders, a career coach at the Career and Education Information Service at the Bronx Library Center, understands the challenges people have on a job search. She is using the library as an incubator to move from a customary and traditional library service model into on that provides direct community support. Listen to the The Brian Lehrer Show to learn more about their programs to create the library as an incubator.


    A library incubator is a space designed to provide the community with guidance, tutoring and mentoring whenever they need help. Using a library incubator, users can gain assistance from library staff, or local tutors, academic faculty, or, for that matter, other community members. The incubator, in its feature as a physical touch-point for support, provides areas within the library in which to collaborate and work together, ask questions, share notes and information, and perform research.

    A library incubator can function as a linchpin for a series of cultural co-op programs. A blended job support model utilizing co-op and groups programs, can help individuals find a job or create a business. They can use the library to work their way through high school or college, reducing the cost to graduate.

    We are conducting a workshop entitled “The Library as an Incubator for Online Learning” at Georgia Tech on October 26th. In light of this, we have created a research challenge to determine the space, functions, technology and activities in the library incubator program. Please feel free to provide feedback on our web site – FEEDBACK FORM

  • Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues

    ConnectED – Build Physical and Virtual Library Space

    President Obama unveiled a new initiative called ConnectED to connect 99 percent of America’s students to the internet through high-speed broadband and high-speed wireless within 5 years, calling on the FCC to modernize and leverage its existing E-Rate program to meet that goal.

    The E-rate program allows US libraries to connect to the internet, but is it limited in scope and funding. By expanding the investment in the E-Rate funding program, it will help pay for investments in school and library networks. According to EdTech Magazine, “One of the creators of the E-Rate program, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), said it was time for E-Rate 2.0.”

    The ConnectED program, as outlined by Arne Duncan Secretary of Education, should include the development of a network of educational (library) spaces to facilitate the efficient use of the E-rate program. For ConnectED (#ConnectED) to be successful, it should expand beyond a mere connection and examine public access; strategies that enable and empower people to visit, use and do research with the Internet.

    Andrew Carnegie believed that the library building should have steps, inspiring people to rise up and enter to learn. He stated, “There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library.”

    The Schools and Libraries program, also known as the E-rate program, makes telecommunications and information services more affordable for schools and libraries in America. Congress mandated in 1996 that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) use the federal Universal Service Fund (USF) to provide discounted eligible telecommunications, Internet access, and internal connections to eligible schools and libraries.

    Below is a outline of why the library is an important part of our community. It was developed by the California Library Association – PRToolkit

    They provide a dynamic array of resources, services and programming that help make their communities attractive, vital places for businesses and their employees.

    They help people of all ages and backgrounds to lead better, more satisfying lives. Many libraries offer English classes, foreign language collections and other services to help newcomers adjust to life in a new country.

    They protect our right to know by providing access to a full spectrum of ideas, resources and services. Admission is free. No questions are asked.

    Libraries connect us with books and other materials that help us to learn from the past and prepare for the future. Not just books, but photographs, artifacts, historical documents and other pieces of our heritage that the Internet will never offer.

    From cradle to grave, libraries provide books, classes and other resources to help us keep learning. “Tuition” is free. All it takes is a library card.

    Check out a couple of novels and audio books, some picture books for the kids, some CDs and DVDs and the savings quickly add up. Libraries are paid for with less than 2 percent of all public tax dollars and used by almost two-thirds of the population.

    Libraries provide resources and services that help people of all incomes learn to read, use computers and develop other skills they need to succeed. A report titled “Toward Equality of Access” from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation says “.. .if you can reach a public library, you can reach the Internet.”

    Starting with picture books and story-hour and continuing with summer reading and other programs, the library opens the door to learning, imagination and wonder. Kids learn both the thrill and responsibility of owning their own “charge card”¬ one that lets them borrow books, movies, music, games and more.

    Libraries promote a lifelong reading habit starting with story-times for preschoolers and continuing
    with special collections and programs for teens. Many libraries offer book discussion groups, presentations by authors and other book-themed programming for children and adults, also literacy classes for adults.

  • Library Planning Research

    Public Library – Top 10 Libraries for Children

    Libraries are exciting places for children to grow and learn. They are great attractions for local culture, tutoring and making friends. In the US, there are many public libraries that fit the description as a great place for children to learn. According to Livability – “Top 10 Libraries for Children“, the children’s library is a vital starting point for intellectual, academic and social inspiration for all generations.

    While styles and materials may vary in different parts of the world, the children’s library is an important space concern. Is it designed for noise? Is it designed for quiet reading? How large is the story-time room? What types of programming will occur is the children’s library? How close is it to the doorway or entrance?

    According to Stephen Abram, there have been many ROI studies in the past. Each tried to outline the hard and soft costs of the public library and compare them to the advantages the library provides to the community. For example, the library provides the community with:

    • Public libraries are cost-effective information providers
    • Public libraries support the local economy
    • Public libraries support the cultural industry sector
    • Public libraries support American culture
    • Public libraries support a democratic society
    • Public libraries support and promote literacy
    • Public libraries support children and students
    • Public libraries support lifelong learning
    • Public libraries help bridge the digital divide

    We have been researching public libraries for many years. Along the way, we found a form to help public libraries show their value. The children’s library is a great value in terms of cost savings per family. We believe the children’s library is vital to the growth of the public library.
    Below is a one page valuation page. It was developed to help public libraries share their value.

    This image was developed to help public libraries show their value

  • Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues,  work in progress

    I-Library – What about the Learning Commons?

    The Bexar County library will open a prototype digital public library. According to “Paperless Libraries Switch to Digital” – It will have 100 e-readers on loan, and dozens of screens where the public will be able to browse, study, and learn digital skills. However, it’s likely most users will access BiblioTech’s initial holding of 10,000 digital titles anywhere.

    The Learning Commons is a library space that the community can use for multipurpose / multi-functional activities. Conceptually, it is a public space that functions as a modern learning environment. A bookless library that offers just e-readers and desktop computers will find out that the “library as place” is the key their success; a motivating seating space that allows people to work collaboratively or individually.

    According to Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolf in NPR’s “A New Chapter? A Launch Of The Bookless Library – The library is a chance to expand the scope of opportunities for people to learn technology. The world is changing.”

    According to an NPR comment by Michael Hale – “For the past 15 years or so, the public library has become as much of a community center as a place to house a collection. It provides computers for those who cannot afford them, which allows them to construct resumes and do daily activities such as banking or renewing their driver’s license.”

    Below is a picture from our studio. We are working on understanding how spaces relate to each other in the new learning commons. It is a good example of our visualization process and something that is critical to the development of new types of learning spaces.

    Learning Commons Visualization Work

  • Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues

    Learning with Technology

    The most visible signs of our embrace of digital media belongs to the students – young and old. The way they learn using computers, iPads, e-readers and smartphones are different than the past. They are quick to embrace the “library in the cloud” as Sugata Mitra describes in Build a School in the Cloud. It is natural for them to work in groups to learn. With just a little support from a “grandma” or someone who is older that encourages them as Mitra points out, the students can learn anything from a device connected to the net.

    The shift taking place in libraries is proving to be transformative in the ways we use information. It is not only Community Colleges and Universities that are being transformed, but as the Strategic Content Alliance stated in Sustaining Our Digital Future: Institutional Strategies for Digital Content – “The use of dynamic digital resources — websites, digital collections, databases of crowdsourced or born digital content pose opportunities and challenges that are all their own.”

    Our universities are working to understand the impact of globalization on higher education in an increasingly transformed environment. This ranges from overseas universities offering cheaper undergraduate and graduate programs to the development of “massive open online courses”, or MOOC’s.”

    It has become clear that a great deal of the content that libraries are holding today is expected to endure because of our natural embrace of technology. We need to start rethinking how libraries and learning centers can support this paradigm shift in the 21st century.