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Do you want to support the design process by identifying user needs?

We analyze library services, which helps us develop a functional building program. This verifies the physical elements within the library as well as defines future service concepts such as the learning commons. The library-building program is a list of physical elements that determine service data, creating a holistic library design concept.

Over the last forty-five years, we developed an extensive library of library building programs. The programs were based on user workshops, surveys and interviews as well as GIS and ILS market segmentation analysis tools.

For academic libraries, our programs helped support the campus master plan. The programs were designed to understand the students, faculty and/or researchers. The building program helped architects prepare the design. Our work informed the School, College or University with concise, focused and informative funding recommendations.

A scaled plan of the library spaces drawn from the building program forms the basis of the planning process and is supported by rough layouts to help the architect or library staff visualize the design concept. See Our Client List.

ACA's research of library behavior


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Bubble diagrams can help us determine the programming components of the library building. They enable us to cross-fertilize ideas from other library projects; these may be from different libraries around the world and/or from innovations in technology and learning behavior.


After taking and analyzing the architectural program, carrying out the focus groups, and completing research on library staff and operations, one of the most demanding and crucial stages for the library project team is the creative process.

Once the concept has been determined, it requires further analysis, detailing and evaluation. We present design concept materials to the public and to private audiences in the form of images, analytics and through a compelling narrative.

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We can work with your team, sharing library building layouts AutoCAD or Revit plans.

Library Research
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We can render library environments to enhance the master plan, learning space or zone in the building.

For our latest "thought-leadership" go to our - Library Planning Blog

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ACA's research of library behavior

There are many different design projects. In some instances, ACA may operate as part of a large project team. For master planning projects, ACA may work directly for the library. We have completed many successful library planning projects.

Learning Labs and Clusters

For Public Libraries:

  • Life-long learning centers
  • Browse-able spaces to display books and journals (current topics and titles display)
  • Sortation Systems (RFID sorting / planning)
  • Popular reading areas
  • Reference / consultation areas
  • Access to wireless technology
  • Periodicals and lounge seating
  • Children's areas
  • Teen zones
  • Small business support 
  • Genealogy services
  • I-lab programs spaces
  • Gallery services

For Academic and Special Libraries:

  • Individual learning spaces
  • Group learning spaces
  • media rich environments
  • Journal displays and online resource visualization space
  • Scholarly activities (specialized workstations)
  • Mobile integration, flow and seating
  • Service desks
  • Touch points
  • Cafes & dinning areas
  • Digital access labs
  • Print archives and preservation centers
  • Compact storage