• 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

    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

    Learning Machine – Library as Place

    In the August Edition of Scientific American, there is an article by Seth Fletcher entitled Machine Learning. It starts to outline the evolution of education and the transformation of higher learning in the 21st century. It illustrates that computers are playing a role in higher education. It outlines how active learning software is being used in higher education.

    According to Seth Fletcher, “Proponents of adaptive learning say that technology has finally made it possible to deliver individualized instruction to every student at an affordable cost—to discard the factory model that has dominated Western education for the past two centuries. Critics say it is data-driven learning, not traditional learning, that threatens to turn schools into factories.”

    During the Top Tech trends discussion at ALA2013 (#ALA2013), Clifford Lynch started asking us to rethink the way we manage our personal identity. The group discussed the need to handle our own factual biographies i.e. learning identities. According to the group, it is going to be a big concern to provide privacy, especially when adaptive learning systems are tracking our progress through society.

    Adaptive Learning systems provide knowledge scaffolding for students, researchers and scholars. According to the Study of Undergraduate Education at Stanford University (SUES) “Scholars researching the nature of creativity have long recognized the importance of adaptive and integrative learning, and most of the rest of us understand it intuitively: who among us cannot recall such a moment of illumination, when elements from different books came together to produce new insight? A number of programs at Stanford have already woven such learning into the fabric of their curricula.”

    How does this relate to libraries? Student learning systems can be augmented; intertwined with digital content from libraries. The “Library as Place” offers the flexibility to allow for creative research. Access Services Librarians distribute content, equipment and tools. Partners can play a role offering tutoring, enhancing learning outcomes and student success.

    Interested in learning more about the types of products and services that will be offered by higher education in the future? The following are a few adaptive learning web sites to research:
    1. PrepU
    2. Knewton
    3. Area9
    4. CogBooks

    Below is the Youtube link for the LITA Top Tech Trends Discussion. Cliff starts talking at 20:12.

  • Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues

    Common Core Presents an Opportunity for Libraries

    During architectural library planning and through construction, we develop a blue print that defines an overall vision of the desired building to guide its construction. This is includes a needs assessment, building program and facility plan that informs the project team with an overall end in mind.

    According to Jay McTighe at Edutopia, “Think of the grade-level standards as building materials. As a construction supervisor, we wouldn’t simply drop off materials and tools at a worksite and have the workers “go at it.” Instead, we would begin with a blueprint — with an overall end in mind. Teachers can create wonderful individual rooms that won’t necessarily fit together within and across floors or achieve the intended results.

    Common Core outlines individual learning strategies that take into account the big picture. For example, the Mathematics Standards accentuate the focus on a smaller set of conceptually larger ideas that spiral across the grades (as opposed to simply “covering” numerous skills) with an emphasis on meaningful application using the Practices.

    Librarians bring a broad range of experiences with them, providing interstitial learning spaces for students and faculty. They provide “in-between” spaces to work as individuals or in small groups and in large settings. Libraries also provide links in the virtual world; links to important information such as a Common Core Starting Point.

    In Common Core, each grade is a package of knowledge and skills that build upon the students precision level. This is called a progression, creating continuity from one grade to the next. Nearly every state has adopted the Common Core standards, each state is at a different level of implementation.

    Schools that follow Common Core will need to focus on teaching precision skills to enable their students to grow. This is something libraries can support. Librarians are information specialists providing support around research. The foundation of any library is to provide content that will enable an individual, group or class to explore on their own level. Libraries enable students to practice at their own speed, providing space for different activities to build skills.

    At the American Library Association meeting #ALA2013 Margaux DelGiudice told Publishers Weekly. “Now is the time for librarians to lead, to reinforce the importance of having a librarian as an information specialist available to support students and teachers. Remember, what is new for many educators are techniques that librarians have been practicing for years.” Rose Luna showed this video by the Teaching Channel that describes Common Core Math Standards.

    There is more to come on the development of Common Core Standards. Libraries are a great place to start!

  • 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,  Space Planning,  work in progress

    Culture House – the Sound of Library Planning

    It turns out that the noise level in the social “library as place” can be a positive factor in the learning environment. The library can be a social and active place to generate creative ideas as long as the sound level is just right. According to a study, “Is Noise Always Bad? Exploring the Effects of Ambient Noise on Creative Cognition” by the University of British Columbia and the University of Virginia ambient background noise turns out to be an important factor affecting creative cognition among learners. Noise levels at around 70 decibels, equivalent to a passenger car traveling on a highway, enhances performance on creative tasks and increases the likelihood of creative innovation.

    Ravi Mehta, Assistant Professor of Business Administration, stated in “Too much, too little noise turns off consumers, creativity” that “a moderate level of noise not only enhances creative problem-solving but also leads to a greater adoption of innovative products in certain settings.” Mehta and co-authors Rui (Juliet) Zhu, of the University of British Columbia, and Amar Cheema, of the University of Virginia, explored how a moderate-level of ambient noise helps create a positive pattern of behavior.

    The noise study found that there’s an inverted-U relationship between noise level and creativity. It turns out that around 70 decibels is the sweet spot. If you go beyond that, it’s too loud, and the noise starts to negatively affect creativity. It’s the Goldilocks principle – the middle is just right.

    Our planning team works with sound experts to enhance the library / learning commons. We analyze how noise can create positive learning environments. We analyze the impact of sound on the learning environment. For example, our partner Charlie Morrow from Morrow3D sound studies how to integrate noise into international museum exhibitions.

    We know that our clients need sound expertise and knowledge during library planning. This expertise in library, learning commons and museum environments is very important when there is not enough square footage for the community. The noise creates a negative friction that hurts the overall life the library and/or learning space, requiring a knowledgeable team to support planning efforts. Spaces that are planned with the high levels of noise (85 decibels), require a solid program and sound management plan.

  • Library Planning Research

    Library – Learning Commons TouchPoints

    Learning TouchPoints are an important part of the library – learning commons – physical program. The service desks, collaboration bars and hubs can be developed to include visualization TouchPoints; spaces where students, tutors, mentors and faculty can write on the walls. These spaces will help the library staff visualize discovery services; share spaces that will enable the community to work collaboratively with virtual content in the cloud.

    According to Businessweek, interactive designer, Obscura Digital and office furniture manufacturer, Haworth are collaborating to develop a new touch screen, called Bluescape. The set up will cover an entire conference-room wall, displaying images on 15 linked 55-inch flat-screen monitor. It will enable reading hand movements using its 32 specialized sensors. The new learning space design will allow users to add digital sticky notes by uploading documents from other devices, making brainstorming sessions more productive. The visualization space will allow students to shape their discovery activities.

    According to “plugging the innovation gap in our universities?” “Students are no longer sitting idle when it comes to the online experience, they are taking the experience online themselves and going onto Facebook groups, Google groups and setting up online forums.” The students are using online tools for social and educational discovery purposes at the same time. They are engaging with technology to succeed.

  • Library Planning Research,  work in progress

    Education is Changing – Libraries Enhance Learning Support

    Library buildings can be designed to enhance learning support and research. Librarians can support the workflow of their researchers by directly supporting, managing and aggregating the content. These days there are plenty of librarians preaching community, but what about how we can design libraries to enhance the digital world?

    Libraries are places where solutions are possible through access to knowledge and higher education. Planning learning environments requires us to be aware of new opportunities in education technology, open-source software or open-access publishing.

    According to “Open Online Courses – an avalanche that might just get stopped“- In the US, the growing chorus for online education through massive open online courses, or moocs, has been deafening.” For example, the California legislature created a bill for the “New University of California” – one that offered no instruction but would issue credentials to people merely for passing exams. Does this model assure that our students are learning in the online world?

    The New University of California bill did not pass, but California lawmakers detailed a plan on May 8, 2013 to require the state’s 145 public colleges and universities to grant credit for low-cost online courses offered by outside groups, including classes offered by for-profit companies.

    The bottom line is that there really is no replacement for face-to-face interaction between teachers, professors, librarians and students. Digital and online methods can enrich those interactions, but it is no match for the community of services at our Universities and Colleges provide; the community of professors, tutors, peer mentors, librarians, IT help, libraries, computers labs, disability services and academic support.

    It seems unlikely that libraries and learning spaces can be replaced by online learning without considerable investment in electronic resources. No wonder 72% of those who have taught moocs over the past three years believe students who took their classes had not done sufficient work to deserve credit from their institution.

    Libraries and Learning Commons can be created with clusters of valuable and distinctive services. Librarians can ensure that the learning environment, enhances the reputation of the community, faculty and the institution. Librarians will continue to ask – What services does the community need? How can their output be preserved, discovered and re-used?

    You can think of the Learning Commons as an incubator. It is an “I-Lab” – a multifunctional and fluid space for learning. The photo below is a visualization board that is at the Mathematics Museum in New York. It is an example of a physical environment that will support online learning technologies.


  • Library Planning Research,  Space Planning,  work in progress

    Visualizing the Library of the Future

    NC State developed a wonderful video for their new library project. The video shows all of the different programmatic components required for a modern academic library including socializing, preservation and late night study.

    Librarians can develop a proactive position when facing the future. Review this video to reflect and visualize the types of interactions and technology that can be in a library.

    In a world of homogenized choices, the library can be the space where your community can feel truly fulfilled in their quest for knowledge, enlightenment, entertainment and connection to others.

  • Library Planning Research,  library technology

    Creating a Culture House – Library Design the Teton County Way

    In Libraries Open Doors, Data to Digital Art Displays, learned about LED light installations that use library data to create a cultural aesthetic. Back in 2007-2008, ACA worked with the Teton County Library to developed a plan to enhance the “library as place.” After an exhaustive building development project, the library added additional square footage and created a destination that is called the Filament Mind.

    Filament Mind is a human information-driven installation by E/B Office which is designed to visualize the collective curiosities and questions of Wyoming’s Teton County Library visitors through a dynamic and interactive spatial sculpture.

    The project was inspired by the concept that our civic spaces should be intelligent and responsive, communicating as much to us as we do to each other, enabling a form of intra-environmental social interaction between our thoughts and the material of our built environments. More images and architects’ description after the break.

    This project is an example of the innovative use of space that can be employed in a public library project. Deb Adams, Dail Barbour and the entire Teton County Library Board showed great creativity in the development of the design for the library. The Library should be commended for making the “library a place” a priority for the community. The result shows why Teton County is one of the nicest places to live in the USA.