• 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

    Library Planning – Kickstarting the Design Process

    It is important to remember that funding a library improvement project does not have to follow a prescribed linear course. In Crowdfunding the Library, we noted that librarians and educators can generate interest to improve libraries.

    Crowd-funding is a way to kick-start a library building improvement plan. For example, there are web sites (kickstarter.com) and if you are an academic library Bill Gates recommends (microryza.com). Both are websites offer funding opportunities with a solid plan.

    Organizing the funding process can trigger additional opportunities that will gain traction in your community. One way to begin this process is to ask the community – What makes a beautiful library?25 Stunning Libraries From Around The World” provides inspiration – ideas that you can use to get people excited about libraries.

    Remember libraries are not just about books or e-books. They are social spaces, places for tutoring and collaboration, culture and programming. We are planning libraries that are digital as well as social. They are integrated with library information systems that enable circulation, reference, access and ebook access. According to Publishers Weekly – Bookstats trade publishing “Total e-book sales rose 44.2% in 2012, to $3.04 billion and accounted for 20% of trade revenue in the year, up from 16% in 2011.” The 44% increase in e-book sales is an important indicator that access to the library is digital as well as physical. Kick-starting the fundraising process will help the community understanding that these changes are an opportunity.

    The practice of library master planning helps and supports local fundraising efforts. The studies help answer questions about the future, providing opportunities to align the community. Fundraising effors will help your library solve problems and generate experiments with new services.

    Kick-start the programming process and start communicating new ideas. Use Kickstarter to get the ball rolling, enabling your library to create an improvement plan. If you are a global library in need of support, Deborah Jacobs blog about the development of libraries with Gates funding may be a starting point.

  • 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 technology,  Space Planning

    Library Planning, E-Book Reader, Sales Predicted to Increase

    From a library planning and development perspective, the statistics in this article will be of great significance to the development of library buildings in five years. The library built in today’s world will have to adapt to the e-reader. However, other formats will exist. It is the library collection that will be unique to the knowledge hunters of tomorrow. It is the contents of the physical + virtual library that will be a gathering place for learning and education. It is the librarians that are curators of the collection regardless of the format.