• 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

    The Library Touch Point

    According to Elaine Cohen, a user touch point affords direct and in-direct contact with library services. It can be a physical or digital connection. Upon entering the library, a touch point should be in full view. It could be a touch screen, a staff service desk or a kiosk at which a customer may gain help.

    Academic, government and public libraries may have several touch points, certainly one near the entry, and others scattered within the facility for reference help, etc. Small libraries may have only one, visible from the door. Below is a visualization of a futuristic library circulation / access services touch point.

    Library Touch Point

    Display shelving and book-stacks featuring the heavily used aspects of the core collection can be considered touch points.
    Although increasing numbers of people prefer to download fiction, non-fiction, class assignments, research materials, business information, etc. onto their mobile devices, some customers still favor print. They like the feel of the newspaper or the book, or the steady image that print affords. Be aware, however, that a growing number of libraries have dispensed with print altogether, and that the trend is accelerating.

    Libraries with important deposit collections, rare books, archives, local history memorabilia, etc. will feature display collections of print.

  • Library Planning Research

    7 spatial modes for planning libraries

    According to the American Library Association, there are 120,096 libraries in the United States. Although the U.S. is a complex and dynamic country, too many libraries are housed in out-dated facilities that, in their rigidity, de-emphasize the potential aspects of their use. It is difficult to represent the rich world of today’s multifaceted experiences in flat-lands that look backward, and, essentially, ignore the on-going information revolution.

    Although staffs continue to migrate library services toward e-resources, their work environments in these buildings emphasize traditional, paper-based operations. Too many of them contain imposing desks; reading rooms outfitted with almost indestructible tables and chairs; walls and walls of book stacks; outmoded, low tech program rooms; too large and out-dated technical services/operations areas.

    Escaping from these flat-lands means re-envisioning the facilities by emphasizing library performance related to customer needs. Simplicity is the key according to Christine Congdon, Donna Flynn and Melanie Redman Harvard Business Review balancing “We” and “Me”

    HRB States – “The best collaborative spaces also support solitude” – From our perspective, the best libraries and learning spaces support 7 different spatial modes of learning. Any up-date or major renovation must take into consideration functional relationships, and be driven by the 7 library interior spatial modes:

  • touchpoint
  • social
  • reflective
  • collaboration
  • presentation
  • physical collection
  • services/operations
  • Five of these modes directly interface with customers. A sixth mode relates to the deposit print collection, if it still exists. The seventh mode concerns staff services/operations.

    modes of learning in libraries
    modes of learning in libraries
  • Library Planning Research

    A New Academic Library – House of Knowledge

    KAUST Library

    Created as the focal point on the new campus, the KAUST library crystallizes the architectural and functional ambitions of a new university. It is a contemporary global center for scientific thinking that is rooted in local culture with a senses of historic “place.” Our planning of the library space de-emphasized the building as a repository of books while emphasizing the social dimensions of learning and the access to knowledge through technology. The library respects Arabic culture, retelling the story of the House of Knowledge. Indeed, this is a symbol of educational leadership; with the value of learning at its heart.

    In our view, the House of Knowledge is a place of gathering; a metaphorical heart for learning. This university created library serves to function as a learning center, providing informal settings for scientists to share thoughts and ideas. Our program included group study areas and informal lounges that were located throughout the library’s spaces; a café is integrated at the entry, blurring the boundary of formal and informal knowledge sharing.

    This library was an innovative architectural project by HOK architects. They developed an innovative light-filtering and translucent, stone shroud that complemented the interior layout. Their expert and professional services gave the library its architectural character. For example, the shroud drapes the north and south façades while leaving the east and west facades open. This provides grand views of the Red Sea to the west and transparency toward the campus to the east.

    We hope you will visit this example of a great academic library and let us know how you enjoyed – the house of knowledge.

  • Library Planning Research

    Library Building ADA Functional Requirements

    When our firm (ACA) plans and programs a New Library Building we inform our clients that we will be applying ADA standards. We believe it is very important to adhere to ADA building standards set out to support access for people with disabilities.

  • Improved access to library spaces, equipment and materials should enable everyone to enjoy the freedom to seek information.
  • When we renovate a library building we do a visual assessment. We tour Library areas and/or zones to determine if it provides ADA access or if the building space restrict user flow. Usually, book shelves that haven’t been rearranged for 20 years require rethinking.

  • For example, 36″ aisle spacing between the book stacks was a standard for library design. The stacks were planned for efficiency and not for ADA compliance.
  • When planning you may consider 46″ aisles to ensure access is provided and flow is improved.
  • Other ADA compliance issues that need to be considered are the staff work areas.

  • Non-compliant circulation desks and/or workstation spaces that can not be adjusted need to be considered a priority.
  • The staff require work spaces to ensure their positive energy and professional effort is maximized.