Every year, libraries pour hundreds of millions of dollars into strategic planning, architectural and interior design efforts. At the beginning of these projects, the team should verify the needs and program the user experience. Yet for all the time and expense that goes into strategic planning, architectural and interior design plans, the library staff are typically ill-prepared for the work required.
There are four basic reasons to verify your library program before investing in a new design. Doing so will:
1. Enable accreditation where required
2. Result in enhanced library services
3. Ensure efficiency
4. Reduce risk
VERIFICATION IS REQUIRED
In many cases, library program verification is required by the accreditation body or government. If this is not complete, the service plan will not meet the standards set forth. Although public libraries (PLA) or academic libraries (ACRL) do not have set standards to support program verification, program guidelines can be useful. They can be used to determine the size and scope of library and/or digital librarian services.
VERIFICATION EQUALS MORE LIBRARY SERVICES
Whether a reduction in staff is warranted is the most challenging question for library programmers. With new technology, many staff positions may be replaced by web-enabled services. However, they may turn out to cost more when outsourcing library services. This question requires a verification of the staff positions and a definition of staff job requirements to expand the delivery of excellent library services – both physical and virtual. After library programming, the staff can be better aligned with user needs.
VERIFICATION IS ESSENTIAL TO ENSURE EFFICIENCY
Verifying library service needs has become more important than ever during design. It is vital to understand how virtual services can be supported with flexible spaces. Academic libraries have responded to this need by investing in flexible furniture and new technology. During this transition, hiring a library consultant is a cost-effective way to gather feedback and prioritize what works and what does not work. The verification process creates a feedback loop for architectural and/or library services staff. It gives the team visibility on what can be expanded and what can be consolidated from the plan.
VERIFICATION REDUCES RISK
Lack of verification leads to doubts in the minds of decision makers. This slows down the library’s ability to react to changes in technology and user needs, in order to engage the user in new and exciting ways to use information. Worse still, a lack of verification can put improvements off for years or create a leadership vacuum. The analysis of the library service mix is one critical way to reduce risk and to create a sustainable operations plan.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OUR WORKSHOP IN NEW YORK CITY ON NOVEMBER 3, 2017
For libraries looking to learn about library planning and programming, join us – FRIDAY NOVEMBER 3, 2017 AT STEELCASE WORKLIFE – 4 COLUMBUS CIRCLE, NEW YORK NEW YORK FROM 9AM TO 4PM – CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THIS ONE TIME EVENT.