• Library Planning Research,  Space Planning

    The Library’s Newest Role: Remote Office

    Libraries serve an important role in today’s digital world: they offer a work space for those without a traditional office. Collaboration is a key service used by today’s patrons. Shared work space, such as WeWork, provides startups and small businesses with the tools for success; libraries can offer the same service in their communities. Library consultants help you determine the potential of your information services.

    According to Medium.com,  Library Visits Have Gone Way Up Over the Last Two Decades.Many people do not have a traditional office, but need the amenities and tools of the modern world: computers, wi-fi, printers, scanners and meeting space. Corporations and governments are rethinking the working environment; libraries should respond by developing a responsive library service program.

    Library consultants help you understand the requirements for different users and outline the strategies to increase the value of services. Most importantly, such a program can help meet the needs of the groups and individuals in the community. We always look to future needs, because change is constant in our world. A lot of people want to know how to do library programming; besides service point / touch point (circulation/reference desk) services, library consultants help define digital components, web sites, branding, research services, ILL, makespaces, STEM and much more.

    Certainly, the impact of sustainable collection strategies and the use of data to create more responsive library services is a trend in library science. Indeed, we strive to incorporate new library service standards into our work. This includes new strategies that leverage information provided by  GreenGlass and Hathitrust. More detailed data means we can program responsive spaces, adding new ideas like STEM programs and accessible work space.

    FOR MORE INFO ABOUT OUR SERVICES – Contact Us

     

  • Library Planning Research

    The Library Program: a Vital First Step in Design

    Aaron Cohen Associates’  library programs have improved the design of libraries worldwide, integrating architecture, IT and service. A program is the first step in the conceptual design process; it is vital to give it time and attention. As part of our program work, we build connections between people, facilitate workshops and offer solutions for space and service challenges. 

    A library program outlines where seating, computers, lounge seats and group study area are placed. They also show where the library provides circulation and reference services. The seating spaces can be social, collaborative, or quiet and have adaptable furniture.

    The library program can have a profound influence on the quality of your library environment. It is important that a program is adaptable, able to respond to the changing needs of patrons. In addition, careful choices of furniture and lighting can enhance and modernize your space. Here are some factors to consider when developing a program:

    • Make sure your program and planning documents are easy to read and free from complex solutions.
    • If you are considering new seating, test the library space. We recommend self-sustaining scenarios/solutions and interventions. Demo the furniture, ask users what they think, run a library planning workshop, etc.
    • Ensure your library design accentuates natural light and fresh air.
    • Try to incorporate flexible, stackable furniture and moveable walls to maximize flexibility. Spaces should serve multiple purposes when possible.
    • Avoid fabrics, soft furnishings and broad-loom carpets; these materials make it harder to keep the library clean.
    • Use a variety of lighting: spotlights, up-lighters and diffused lighting controlled with dimmer switches can provide flexibility for different functions.
    • Provide book walls with plenty of new books to add more energy to your library.
    • Organize sufficient storage space to keep all equipment, last copy and special collections, so that work surfaces are clear and free.
    • Ask lots of questions, listen to your users and explore their vision.
  • 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,  Social Library Issues,  work in progress

    Improve the Library, Improve the Community

    Libraries have long been the heart of the communities they serve.  Eric Klinenberg is a pioneer promoting such social infrastructure as a way to improve lives. As author of Palaces for the People, he has come to the same conclusion that we have in our 47-year history planning libraries: if you build new libraries, communities grow and thrive.

    Sometimes it seems impossible to get support for the local library; funds are often tight, and people have a negative view of the space, creating a vicious cycle. Restricted library funding can have real consequences, including underdeveloped children’s and teen services. This in turn affects the youths’ ability to network, thrive in their community and grow into well-rounded individuals. Kids may just “hang out” in the street or get chased away from public areas like stores or parks. Eric Klinenberg analyzes this problem and offers examples of the public library as a solution. The library offers kids a “third place” and a shared home away from home. This reduces their isolation and improves the community.

    Part of providing this social infrastructure is designing spaces that allow for various activities: quiet work, social interaction and so on. Aaron Cohen Associates’ Five Modes of Learning Workshops provide a platform to analyze how people use library spaces and how they may be improved to support more activities. It offers guidance on how to distribute the library functions in a manageable pattern, using behavior as an underlying guide for the design.

    To determine where the behavioral modes fit into the library, we use a hands-on method called the Visual Scan. Together the five modes of learning and Visual Scan enables our team to create innovations including more group study spaces and flexible, collaborative areas.

    Tomorrow, November 30th, we will host a workshop in NYC at Steelcase. We will examine how we can redefine the library experience. Join us! – CLICK HERE –

  • Library Planning Research

    Assembling Your Knowledge Management Team

    It is good practice to periodically examine the “roster” of your digital or physical library team, to seek ways to improve it. When developing or evaluating a team, each member will have certain characteristics that make them well-suited for a certain role. We run organizational development workshops to help libraries and digital asset teams maximize their human resources.

    According to ACA’s 45 years of building program research, successful library organizations are made up of a diverse mix of job titles, which require diverse human characteristics. Librarians and Knowledge Workers can be specialists, reference people or technical services pros.  Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD work with library staff and knowledge management teams to identify and shape the teams and increase effectiveness.

    Below are characteristics of each team member; we developed these based on the Belbin team building framework.

    Resource Investigator

    • Their inquisitive nature helps them find ideas to bring back to the team.
    • Strengths: Outgoing, enthusiastic. A natural networker – the go-to person to test a new opportunity.
    • Challenges: Over-optimistic; can lose interest once the initial enthusiasm has passed.
    • A good person to follow up and build on research and delivery partnerships.

    Team Worker

    • The glue that keeps the team moving, using their versatility to identify the work required. The person that will complete the work on behalf of the team.
    • Strengths: Co-operative, perceptive and diplomatic. A great listener who can avert friction between team members.
    • Challenges: Indecisive in crunch situations; avoids confrontation between strong willed team members.
    • Will be hesitant to make unpopular decisions.

    Coordinator

    • Helps the team focus the library service objectives. A person who can draw out other team members and delegate work.
    • Strengths: Mature, confident, identifies talent and builds on it. Goals setter.
    • Challenges: Leaders can be manipulative; they can offload work to other members reducing team effectiveness.
    • Can delegate work others, leaving themselves with limied tasks or challenges.

    Management Consultant

    • A highly creative person that is good at solving problems in unconventional ways.
    • Strengths: Creative, imaginative, dynamic-thinking, concept / ideas generator and problem solver.
    • Challenges: Might not be able to focus; may be too preoccupied to communicate effectively.
    • Can forget the good ideas and try to develop additional ones when none is necessary.

    Assessment Evaluator

    • Assessment professional; a good person to make impartial judgement when required. A good person to weighs up the team’s options in a dispassionate way.
    • Strengths: Sober, strategic and discerning. A person that can see the options and recommend next steps accurately.
    • Challenges: Can be critical, lacks the drive and ability to inspire others.
    • Not all can make a quick decision. This staff member can be slow to come to decisions.

    Specialist

    • The project specialist has in-depth knowledge in a key delivery area.
    • Strengths: Dedicated, a self-starter and always moving forward with work. They will research and apply their knowledge management skills.
    • Challenges: May stick to the technicalities and not address the goals and objectives.
    • Can research a topic and overload if you don’t support their drive to find solutions to information resource needs/integration.

    Management Shaper

    • The staff member that will drive the team. This staff member will ensure that the team keeps moving and does not lose focus or momentum.
    • Strengths: Can handle the pressure and deliver. A dynamic staff member that has the drive and courage to overcome any knowledge management obstacles.
    • Challenges: A person who isn’t afraid to get in your face; Can offend people’s feelings.
    • Sometimes  need to get things done and they get aggressive, which can be harnessed to efficiencies when recognized.

    Implementer

    • A knowledge manager that can develop a workable strategy and carry it out as efficiently as possible.
    • Strengths: Efficient and Practical, reliable and driving. This staff member turns ideas into actions and organizes work that needs to be done.
    • Challenges: Inflexible nature can be slow to respond to new possibilities.
    • Can slow down positive change if they are too inflexible.

    Completer/Finisher

    • Every project needs a person who will polish and scrutinize knowledge management work for errors; Research requires the highest standards of quality control.
    • Strengths: Searching out errors is natural to a conscientious knowledge worker. It is important to finish the project with defined outcomes including key performance indicators.
    • Challenges: Knowledge workers can be reluctant to delegate tasks which slows down progress.
    • Perfection is a strength until it impedes the delivery of knowledge resources.
  • Library Planning Research,  Space Planning

    Modern Library Design Can Spark Innovation

    In our evolving digital world, change to library spaces is inevitable—and necessary.  Many times, programming and planning can seem like challenge with lots of risks: familiar spaces change as bookshelves, staff offices and seating is replaced, technology is updated, and daily library functions are disrupted. But it is a good time to embrace change:Library spaces that are reorganized to encourage collaboration can spark innovation.

    Library programming provides many benefits, whether the space is an academic, public or school library.  Our programming clarifies the functions to support libraries: we provide a list of the services and square footage needed to develop every type of space from a modern 3D visualization area to a traditional quiet research space.

    Each new library/learning space that we program is informed by user behavior. We make sure the layout and services are flexible, and that users are offered more collaborative encounters, group work and creative experiences. Contact us to find out more.

    • We develop programs for all types of users: academic researchers, public library patrons, students, families and more
    • Our analysis allows for new ways of working in the digital age
    • We have a vast portfolio of programs and plans that reflect today’s modern design

    samsung environment

    Contact Library Consultant

  • Library Planning Research,  library technology,  Social Library Issues

    Make Your Library More Relevant Than Ever

    Even in the digital age, public libraries remain a vital community resource. According to PLA’s latest study on user awareness in libraries,  53% of the public see the library as a source of community pride, and 61% of voters are willing to donate money to support their library.

    Communities with great public libraries can draw more people in and continue the cycle of growth. However, this often means a redesign is in order. Communities  that need to raise money for their library require specialized help (Contact Library Consultant).  This work is essential to changing the building, enabling your library to grow.

    A good design can increase usages of your library; when a new library is built or an existing one is renovated, there is an increase in educational programs and amenities.  Our library programming results in new user experiences, because space is allotted for various patron activities: quiet reading, education, digital resources and group meetings.

    The OCLC and PLA report outlined current perceptions and support among US voters and how they may have shifted over the last 10 years; it showed that libraries are still relevant today.

    The update of the original study – From Awareness to Funding: A Study of Library Support in America,

    Additional Outcomes:

    • 58% feel that public libraries advance education
    • 51% believe libraries enhance the quality of life of any community
    • 70% of library users visit the library building
    • 52% of library users visit the library’s website

    We are both digital librarians and a library space planning consultant group. We can help libraries that need to:

    1. Engage with the public to determine space and service needs, resulting in responsive buildings.
    2. Offer digital services to a social-media savvy public through inventive library services and operations.

  • Library Planning Research

    A Golden Opportunity for Knowledge Management

    In the knowledge management world, demand for library services are not always directly observable. It’s worth emphasizing that digital collections are revealed through the use of communications and technology not on their own. This lack of a predictable user experience is a struggle many libraries confront of a daily basis. What about in the corporate world? Are they experiencing the same type of disconnection between the research product and the availability of that collaborative / sharing database product?

    No matter how much excellent work the project team may be doing today – tomorrow their work will be left unorganized. It is up to knowledge management professionals to educate their users and raise the profile of digital collections (marketing or business related). It is time for the project team to build in a collaborative library services that can be used as a repository of working knowledge.

    The structure of library communications can be modeled after our five modes of learning – reflective (self guides), collaborative (webinars), presentation (workshops), social (games) and touchpoint (service questions) to be modeled.

    OUR SERVICES
    Our knowledge management research team offers capabilities and institutional knowledge to help institutions develop their physical or virtual the service point, repository and collaborative work areas. We use communication strategies to build on the clients vision, creating an opportunity for the library user to explore and share. We build knowledge service priorities – capabilities to develop the library service plan.

    We use user experience stories, surveys and space planning diagrams to understand the knowledge management interactions and user needs. We develop libraries with the behavioral workflow patterns in mind. Below is an outline of our work.

  • Library Planning Research

    Library Standards: Research Links

    Librarians around the world continually develop standards for services. We are interested in their assessment techniques as a way of assisting communities that want to model their future library. The academic library standards are essentially links to further reading on the subject. The links were developed by Philippine Association of Academic/Research Librarians (PAARL) to develop standards for library services.

    Webjunction has a wealth of resources — it has healthy serving of planning information to start a self study to improve your library. Whether planning a new building or renovating an old one, the website offers library planning research that will help you develop a detailed space plan that takes into account the space needs to meet the mission and service plan of the library.

    Howard University Library developed a simple pdf that will help make planning deliberate. Library Planning should be the preferred manner of preparing services in the future. Library Planning is the responsible means of fulfilling future community needs.

    British Library Standards was one of the first and most well-known study of service development. The guide provides standard levels of services that can support library development.

  • 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.