• Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues,  work in progress

    What Makes a Great Library for Today and Tomorrow

    The library is operating in a very different world today. Technology is constantly evolving within an environment that is increasingly smart, flexible and mobile. Though so much is available on the web, a huge amount of historical content remains un-digitized and hidden. The library of tomorrow should be a public campus that will grow the world’s knowledge base while still providing access to non-digital resources. It will be responsive to changing cultural and digital needs, providing opportunities for dynamic collaboration.

    According to the Horizon Report 2015, “the Lean Startup movement uses technology as a catalyst for promoting a culture of innovation in a more widespread, cost-effective manner, and provides compelling models” for library leaders and higher-education planners to consider.” The future library needs to favor experimentation over elaborate planning, customer feedback over intuition, and iterative design over traditional “big design upfront” development (see HBR Article by Steve Blank).

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    Tomorrow’s users will connect to the public campus on the go: For example, pedestrians will receive “pushed” information from Bluetooth i-beacons near the library, and students will be able to access the cloud for school projects.

    It is time to start developing the next generation libraries, enabling the community to benefit from a variety of knowledge resources. Through an integrated customer service model and tiered support services, the next generation library can enrich the cultural life of a campus, town, city and a nation.

  • Library Planning Research

    Rethinking your library space? Start with a Plan

    The term “library collection” is always subject to interpretation; today, it can mean many different things. A library with no books? It’s not impossible anymore. Even within a traditional library, learning spaces and computer labs will emerge, offering new ways to collaborate, learn and use a library’s resources. Are you thinking of designing a space like this, or somehow rethinking your current space? Your fellow librarians, educators and public leaders believe the library can offer more than just books, but it can be hard to know where to begin.

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    How can you develop your library to better serve today’s students and patrons? An essential first step is to develop a master plan or library building program. This is a document that outlines the goals, objectives and strategies for the future library. It should also outline the service and space needs of the library community. The master plan can be broken into phases, with a schedule that offers milestones for the library to follow.

    The easiest way to get your library plan started is to create a planning committee: This is a small group of dedicated people that can focus on defining library services and space needs. It is also a marketing opportunity; you can allow your partners to get involved and hold open meetings to gain some momentum for change. Focusing on collaboration and getting to know the community served will help you reclaim the strategic “high ground,” so you can move forward with an organized approach and make this a successful year for your library.

  • 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,  Social Library Issues

    Understanding the Library Customer

    Libraries have a special relationship with their buildings. They offer inspiring spaces to read and learn; quiet areas for contemplation and reflection. They offer breakthrough services such as innovation labs, iLabs and learning commons (ex. research inspiring library spaces). So, how do we get more from our library buildings? How do we create better communication plans that translate into new investments?

    According to Innovative library services “in the wild”, only 30% of the population know about their local public library. More importantly, another 20% don’t know very much about the value of the library at all. We note that the library’s fortunes are built on communicating and understanding their customer.

    pew-internet-2013-01-22-lib-services-4-01

    When every library patron is viewed as a new customer, big opportunities are possible. During our library planning workshop at Steelcase Worklife in NYC, the group got a chance to dream about the future and visualize real solutions. They talked about the library’s need to transform and improve access. They discussed the need to create a marketing plan to communicate new types of library services.

    The workshop provided a foundation for discussion about the library of the future and the needs of the library customer. Let us know what kind of relationship your library has with the public and building space through our survey for academic and public libraries.

  • Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues,  Space Planning

    Libraries Make Cities Stronger

    Public Library buildings are local destinations that act as catalysts for urban development.  They create opportunities to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods, augmenting both the visual and social value of main streets, markets and malls.  With economic development in mind, we engage with private developers (of malls, commercial corridors, mixed-use developments); because libraries can provide long term improvements to the tenancy, in turn complementing neighborhood retail.  Public libraries fit in a wide mix of public and private sector building projects; they make an impact on economic growth.

    The Demand Institute: tale of 2000 cities developed a data set of economic indicators.  The web site allows the user to compare their community with other communities, offering a statistical database relating geographic location and home ownership.  We believe it reflects the kind of data that will help communities learn about their economic well-being and help build libraries to support healthy learning environments.

    The web site started a discussion in the ACA Library Planning Studio.  We discussed the idea of the library as an incubator for economic development.  Does the Demand Institute give us a working model to help understand what gives value to a community?

    Healthy communities can lower the barrier to market entry for small business by rethinking public library space.  The computers and Wi-Fi, meeting spaces and cafes provide natural environments for business in the 21st century.  The organic quality of cafes acting as business environments was truly exemplified last summer when we visited Milan.  When we were touring the Doma, we were told that the Starbucks’s model was made in Milan Italy.  It seems like coffee in the morning and in the afternoon are good times to do business.

    According to the Howard Schultz, Coffee Bar Enthusiast, “In 1983, while on a buying trip in Milan, Italy, Schultz had an epiphany at one of the many coffee bars. He was struck by the connection people had to coffee, and to the coffee bars which served as a meeting place for people in the community and wanted to replicate the coffee bar at Starbucks stores.”

    We believe the public library has evolved to incorporate the Starbuck’s model of a meeting place.   Indeed, libraries make cities stronger because they are stable, strong and resilient.  They support local and international economies; spaces where communities of practice thrive.

    Below is a photo of the National Library of Singapore – Esplanade Library with Cafe.

    Library-at-Esplanade

  • Library Planning Research

    Libraries are Inspiring Places

    Libraries are unique cultural and educational places that offer collaborative learning opportunities.  The library is a set of service concept(s) that provides opportunities for activity, help and engagement.  According to Harvard Business Review “IDEO’s Culture of Helping,”the knowledge worker or users needs a culture where help is embedded.   They need libraries for brainstorming and collaborative / project based work.

    According to the Pew Internet – “How Americans Value Public Libraries in Their Communities”, 67% percent of respondents would be personally impacted if their library closed. The patrons that use the library know its value in terms of the space.  There are computing, socializing and areas to check out books.

    It is a challenge for librarians and educators to show how “collaborative generosity” can be the norm in your community.  The secret is to provide your community with a library that has enough seats for all potential learning activities.  The increase in the amount of space for each new learning activity (reflective, collaborative, social, etc.) will enable opportunities for collaborative support.

    At ALA Midwinter (#ala2014mw), librarians and educators discussed how to assess the under-served population.  The dialog created some confusion over whether it was right to study non-user populations as well as user populations.  Libraries need to study their communities strengths first.  Collecting data about how the 29% of users who believe not having a library would make a big impact on their lives will deliver a wealth of data to help build future strategies.

    WARM UP EXERCISE: Daniel Dalton in the Buzzfeed community developed a web page that captures some quotes as warm ups for planning and programming. The link includes 28 beautiful quotes about libraries.

    digital library idea

     

     

     

  • 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,  work in progress

    Developing a Library Incubator

    Are there better places to learn on campus or in a community? The library can better serve their community by providing new services and re-vamping existing delivery strategies. According to “where do we go from here? Informing Academic Library Staffing through Reference Transaction Analysis,” mobility, power and technology are changing the way students use the reference desk. In 2010, over 62% percent of undergraduate students owned Internet capable handheld devices.

    According to PewInternet, 91% of American adults own a cell phone and many use the devices for much more than phone calls. With the rapid adoption of mobile technologies and advances in all digital resources, libraries need to provide answers to questions wherever we are.

    Resource rich environments can be enhanced with touch points that help you navigate to what you need. The library can offer tools that enhances the users ability to operate in the digital cloud. For example, a plan to define the path of travel through the library can be both physical and virtual. There is technology that can react to our needs wherever we are.

    Academic libraries are starting to use location based QR codes to support real-time learning activities. Plans that allow users to walk into an area with books or periodicals and connect to the libraries e-resources are being considered. Librarians are developing real-time opportunities for physical and virtual collaboration, providing a platform to support Laphams Quarterly’s art of learning.

    Laroi Lawton at Cuny Bronx Community College developed a good starting point for reasons why libraries are important. The list provides some of the reasons that students know and indicate that their library is still relevant, in order of importance:

    1. convenient hub
    2. socialization
    3. motivation
    4. collaboration
    5. resource rich
    6. safe
    7. relevant collections
    8. distraction free
    9. service
    10. ambiance

    We see the need for libraries continuing into the future. They provide a unique medium based on a long history of programmable space that encourages individuals to succeed. Libraries are places to learn and promote civilized activities. This personal approach towards helping the library user along with their research is the basis of our culture.

    There are a wide variety of new mobile technologies and apps that are changing the way people use information. It is time to accept the handheld librarian as the norm and add them to the art of knowing….Join Us at our workshop on Oct 26th at the Georgia Institute of Technology

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  • Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues

    Global Library Planning and Development Methodology

    The library is part of an organic network of learning spaces. At its core, libraries offer the opportunity for growth and knowledge. They are places that spread knowledge with tools to intertwine business, skills development and education. Libraries can spread access to the Internet in rural communities. They can offer individuals and small businesses:

    – Spaces for staff learning, capacity and innovation
    – Incubator space for new products and practices
    – Librarians for external innovations to introduce and internal innovations to scale up
    – The community is a network that is “Doing while learning” at the library.

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    BRAC developed the Social Innovation Lab web page to support strategy development in rural communities. They are a development success story, spreading solutions born in Bangladesh to 10 other countries around the world. They are a global leader in creating opportunity for the world’s underserved.

    At the Frugal Innovation Forum, participants gathered to generate ideas to help people with limited funds. Programs modeled around Scaling Up, Out, Smart, Digital and Together. Participants spent time exchanging ideas to improve life on this planet.

    If you are planning to develop a library space plan or master plan for your campus, we believe the “Scaling Methodology for Planning” has resonance. When we start a project, we “Scale Up” and “Scale Out” to understand the big picture. When we develop a library space program, we “Scale Smart” balancing the needs of the library staff, collection and seating.

    Often, we are asked about how to “Scale Digital.” We offer advice to create partnerships and re-engineer library operations; a practice that improves strategic planning outcomes. We “Scale Together” during a library space plan.

    We support people who create communities of learners or Libraries. People driven by the opportunity for cultural exchange, community, membership, knowledge creation and access to library resources. In a way, it’s nothing new for librarians. We are wired to seek and provide unique resources, providing opportunities for the individual and community to grow.

    The potential to develop a library is a true gift to a librarians career. It is an opportunity to increase access to shared resources, enabling individuals to become unique fulfilling their potential to grow.

  • 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