We need a new pragmatic approach to library service planning; one that focuses on the user experience. We can provide friction-less services with the integration of data, technology and space planning. We need new standards for library space and services; ones that focus on social distancing, safety and security. — One that optimizes the inventory of learning resources and provides space for study.
Our team has researched library as place for the last four decades. We have programmed more than 1,000 libraries – see Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD – Here are a few quick guidelines from our updated research. According to the social distancing recommendations:
NEW LIBRARY SPACE PLANNING RECOMMENDATIONS
1. Group study and collaboration: 50 seat collaborative/learning commons = 3,000 sq. ft
2. Individual study space = 36 sq. ft. per person
3. Staff service point = 200 sq. ft. per desk
4. Learning Commons = 900 sq. ft. minimum size for open learning environment
5. Curated Bookshelves = 150 books per double faced book stack (DF) – 5 shelves high for browsing
BUILDING LIBRARIES WITH FACTS NOT ASSUMPTIONS
In his book factfulness, Hans Rosling describes instincts people rely on when there is a challenge. For librarians, the single perspective instinct is a risk for libraries. We can’t go on with business as usual. Our libraries need adaptive strategies to function in a 21st century environment and that means that new rules will apply.
One simple idea is that the library should be digital. This is a simplistic view of the library and its potential to provide both digital services and learning spaces. Rosling states, “we find simple ideas very attractive. We enjoy that moment of insight, we enjoy feeling we really understand or know something. It saves a lot of time to think like this.” He points out that its not useful to think problems can just solve themselves with simple ideas.
We know through hard work that the development of the next generation library is not a simple task. Your library will thrive when you invite multiple perspectives into the conversation. It requires your patience, dedication and investment to improve. Start a plan
BOOKS AND BUILDINGS
Most 20th century libraries were developed with a large reading room to support higher learning (see picture of Manchester Public Library, UK below). They were also developed with social distancing in mind. They can provide a model for us to follow today.
Academic libraries and archives are parts of larger organizations, and the department that operates the physical plant almost always falls onto another department — facilities management. These libraries, in a University or government, are under constant pressure imprvoe their space and collections. The most obvious answer for these libraries is to reprogram the library to new standards. It is time to pull out the original plans for the library and revise them.
MASTER PLANNING (time for an update)
Library Consulting and Planning work will help you realign your strategic plan. At the same time, we will educate your team with an outside perspective. We can work with your team to define possible money saving strategies and establish an updated space and service plan. If you don’t have the funds, these are a few self study areas you can build on:
1. Develop a distance-data approach to library service planning and development
2. Set up information and assessment tools to begin the data gathering process
3. Take advantage of natural and obvious realignment strategies
4. Build a shared project document: schedules, workshops and reference interview(s)
5. Define data analytics, sustainable services, internet of things, egovernment requirements
6. Develop Scenarios to support Library User, Staff and Partner Needs
7. Create New Master Plan (include schedules, milestones and implementation strategies)
We can help with the realignment of library staff, operations, services, and space planning. — CONTACT LIBRARY CONSULTANT — We can work with you using virtual technology – start to realign your library space and service plans.