The members of our firm, Aaron Cohen Associates LTD understand that the secret of success of any library building project combines finding the best strategy with finding the best process. Our methodology for developing recommendations for expansion of the facility has five basic steps:
Understand community composition needs, services, users, staff, and technology needs, as well as any perceived constraints. Here, it is important to understand current perceptions of what can and cannot be accomplished. This will be done in the needs assessment phase.
Observe how patrons use the Library and to interview library staff and stakeholders to find out what they need; what they want; what confuses them; what latent requirements must be addressed vis-à-vis current and future services. This will take place during the needs assessment phase.
Visualize new-to-the-world concepts for functional areas based on accelerating changes in library information technologies. Outline new definitions for traditional library spaces, and the impact these new definitions will have upon the building program. This is the most brain-storming-intensive phase of the programming process. For example, Reference may be outfitted with an information commons; Youth Services, a youth discovery center; a Young Adult area, with a project based-learning environment; etc.
Evaluate and develop an outline building program.
Help to Implement the requirements of the building program during the development of schematic design/conceptual drawings. This phase will likely be the most technically challenging in the development process, but I believe that the consultants past successes in this realm lend credibility to all the creative work that goes on before and after – optional – to be done in the future.