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Alexander Cohen, MLIS

Alex Cohen, MLIS, Library Consultant, is a librarian, strategist and technology professional.

Alex is a second-generation library planning consultant. He is the president of Aaron Cohen Associates (ACA); a global library consultant firm. He supports the design of libraries and shared academic services. He participates in library programming and cultural building development and design activities. He facilitates the analysis of the organization, building design and project management requirements. He is instrumental as a programmer of library buildings; space planning for the learning commons, information commons, academic commons, library operations and pre-planning for architectural design and development for academic, public, medical, law, corporate and special research libraries.

Before joining and building on ACA’s library architecture, behavioral design and space planning research, Alex earned his Bachelor's Degree in Finance from the University of Arizona. He worked for fifteen years as a project manager on global information technology projects and new software in Silicon Valley. In 2005, Alex gained his Masters in Library Science degree (MLS) with a focus on library programming and design, information management, space planning, IT and automation techniques. Here, he began to develop library programs and designs, technology plans and research strategies for all kinds of libraries.

Alex’s library consultant experiences enabled new libraries to be built and the reconfiguration and reorganization of existing libraries. His experience identifying and developing innovative service delivery options made an impact on cultural centers and institutions of higher education. Alex explored, strategized and researched new technology for libraries, library systems for cultural institutions and museums – helping them reinvent themselves.

Over the years, Alex leveraged his library science, IT and software development experiences (Yahoo, Unilever, Eurotunnel, Thomas Cook) to become a master planning consultant; long- and short-range library planning research for Stanford University, Tufts University, DePaul University, St. Louis County Library, Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, NV; Poudre River Public Library District, CO; Town of Barnstable, MA; and Berks County Public Library System, PA. Alex developed operational strategies to provide better library services to resource limited areas in Barbados, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands. He developed future-orientated library buildings in Baghdad, Karachi and Riyadh; created to support social collaboration, individual research, sharing and learning activities.

As a library planner, workshop facilitator and technology planner, Alex’s experience includes space planning and design, automation, e-library development, classroom development, learning behavior research and a host of historic building projects. Alex develops college library's and large-scale building projects: academic, public, medical, law and US research libraries. He uses behavioral mapping techniques such as the Visual Scan to provide innovative solutions to library building challenges.

Alex continues to facilitate space planning and design workshop programs at ACRL, LLAMA and American Library Association Annual Meetings. Alex provides private workshops to support on-going research in library planning and design. For more info, Click Here.

As a member of Aaron Cohen Associates LTD, Alex used his abilities on several public and academic library projects, including:

  • Boston Public Library, MA
  • Las Vegas-Clark County Library System, NV
  • Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
  • NATO World Headquarters Library, Brussels, Belgium
  • National Library of Greece, Athens
  • King Abdullah University of Science & Technology, Saudi Arabia
  • Long Island University, Brookville and Brooklyn, NY
  • University of California, Riverside
  • U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC
  • U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Rockville, MD
  • Tufts University, Medford, MA
  • Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA
  • Southern Adventist University, Collegedale, TN
  • Millersville University, Lancaster, PA
  • U.S. International Trade Commission, Washington, DC.

Aaron Cohen, AIA

Aaron Cohen, AIA, Library Architect, is a design strategist and management professional.

Aaron has a Masters of Architecture and Planning from Pratt Institute and a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Architecture, from Georgia Institute of Technology.

Aaron is the founder and principal of Aaron Cohen Associates, a library planning and consulting firm. His strong leadership, organizational design and budgeting skills have greatly impacted modern libraries and the way in which they deliver services to their community. He is an original innovator of library building designs such as the information commons, flexible learning spaces and project based workspaces. He has helped extend library services to new users both as a design professional and as a strategic planner. His background includes 38 years as an organizational planner, programmer and design architect.

Aaron has been at the vanguard in the development of the modern library organization. He first developed a unique architectural building program to meet the needs of the changing information landscape. He delivered his designs and programs along with strategic planning studies to National Library organizations to large urban public library systems so that they could confront change through consensus. Aaron has been honored as a library services trendsetter, which many librarians valued as essential to the future of the library as a learning institution.

Aaron started planning libraries in the 1970s when many modern institutions were beginning to recognize that library building and user needs were changing the building design He recognized that circulating materials print (books) and archives (preservation) and electronic materials (digital files) required new ways to think about the organization as a whole. Over the years, he stressed that simple approaches to organizational change and building designs were needed. Thus, he expanded his skill set as an architect to become strategic planner and educator of scenario planning. He taught new ways to look at information services in the long and short term. He explored modern solutions with the greatest architects of the world to meet the needs of the digital user as well as the traditional reader. He led organizational innovations in high education to provide flexibility so that new services and solutions would improve student success. His research enabled many libraries manage change instead of change managing the library organization.

Aaron has been called a futurist and programmatic innovator. He has been linked to library advocates who have committed their lives to improving education and learning. Indeed, he has strived to enable libraries to provide greater benefits to their communities by backing efficient systems. He has developed long and short range services, equal funding mechanisms, regional service plans, technical services and staff workflows, new library building and efficient materials management systems.

Aaron’s work has led to many innovations – automation, management, self check-out, RFID, collaborative workspaces, ‘library as place’ visualizations and the visual scan consensus building activities. He has led numerous workshops on library space planning and design, strategic alignment and organizational development. He is a respected author of library design and organizational planning topics. Aaron’s research continues to improve with age. He has helped numerous library organizations develop new service options.

Aaron Cohen, AIA, is a registered architect (seven states, including California), a twenty-seven year member of the American Library Association, and a member of the American Institute of Architects. He also holds NCARB registration. His strengths include strategic and long-range planning, master facility planning, site selection, space planning and preliminary cost estimating. To this end, he has been retained to provide Master Planning studies by numerous library systems in the U.S. and abroad, including:

  • Las Vegas-Clark County Library System, NV – 12 facilities and a Service Center.
  • NATO World Headquarters Library, Brussels, Belgium.
  • National Library of Greece, Athens.
  • King Abdullah University of Science & Technology Library, Saudi Arabia.
  • Buffalo and Erie County, NY – 52 facilities
  • Town of Barnstable, MA – 7 facilities
  • Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System, GA – Main Library & 15 facilities
  • Spokane Public Library, WA – Main Library & 5 facilities
  • National Library of Singapore – National Library, 3 regional & branch libraries
  • Berks County Public Library System, PA – 19 libraries
  • New York Public Library, NY – Mid-Manhattan, Donnell & Bronx Borough Libraries

Other projects include: Broward County Library System, FL; Chicago Public Library, Chicago, IL; Virginia Poly Tech, Blacksburg, VA; NASA-Langley, Hampton, VA; Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA; University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, Urbana, IL; University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL; Long Island University, NY.

In joint effort with Elaine Cohen and Alex Cohen, Mr. Cohen has conducted more than 500 seminars and workshops on space planning and design, strategic planning and library automation. The current workshop is entitled: “The Visual Scan & the Design of Future Oriented Libraries”. Also in joint effort with Elaine Cohen, he is coauthor of Planning the Electronic Office (McGraw Hill), Automation, Space Management and Productivity (R. R. Bowker) and Designing and Space Planning for Libraries (R. R. Bowker). He is also the coauthor of the chapter on Ergonomics in the CAD/CAM Handbook (McGraw Hill).

Elaine Cohen

Elaine Cohen, MEd, Strategic Planning & Library Consultant, is a behaviorist, educator and author, best known for her books and articles about libraries, behavior, services and organizational development.

Elaine received her MEd at the City University of New York and her B.A. from Skidmore College. Elaine has worked for Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD for over 38 years. She has built up unquestionable library planning experiences as a social scientist, behaviorist, library service and programming consultant. She has focused her research on the ways in which library organizations adapt and change. She has leveraged this experience in her writing and research on numerous organizational and building planning projects. Elaine has developed and delivered new service options to large urban libraries and systems, academic libraries and small special libraries, museums and archives.

Over the years, Elaine has proven that library outreach and advocacy is a life long profession. She is unequaled in her knowledge of the ways in which libraries function. Elaine is an accomplished author and social scientist, her research focused on modernizing library services and organizations so that they can meet future challenges. She has been writing about the libraries and their future including three books on the subject of libraries - Planning the Electronic Office (McGraw Hill), Automation, Space Management and Productivity (R. R. Bowker) and Designing and Space Planning for Libraries (R. R. Bowker). She has over twenty-five (25) published articles on ERIC (education resources information center) and has written at least 300 library building programs. Elaine continues to research library behavior and improve ACA’s library strategic plans, service definitions, building programs and design criteria.

Over the past four decades, Elaine has been the chief editor on a number of ground breaking library service studies – Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, NY; Spokane Public Library, WA; Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, NV; National Library of Singapore and King Abdullah University of Science & Technology Library, Saudi Arabia. She has developed a behavioral standards and guidelines to address strategic service priorities, long and short range plans and technology innovation.

Elaine has supported several new library building designs (National Library of Bermuda; Fuller Theological Seminary, CA; Bedford Public Library, NH) and has led many library organizations through difficult transitions toward modernization. She has written about organizational change and was one of the first library planners to recognize that libraries need to move away from mainly print based facilities and into blended learning environments to succeed. Her research is the basis of ACA’s a planning framework, which focuses on providing value through implementation options and techniques. Elaine’s excellent organizational skills and report writing skills have been vital to the success of our firm. Her experiences as an original advocate and researcher enabled ACA to provide real answers to difficult questions.

Recently, she has worked on library programs and service planning projects – Boston Public Library and National Library of Greece. As a member of Aaron Cohen Associates LTD, her work includes:; Columbus Public Library, GA; St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis, MO; Long Island University, Brookville and Brooklyn, NY; Pace University Law School, NY; Cornell Medical Center, NY; National Library of Singapore. Besides being coauthor of several books on library facilities, she is the author of a chapter in Using Consultants in Libraries and Information Centers, a Management Handbook (Greenwood Press). Articles include: "Building Trends in Special Libraries" (Library Trends, University of Illinois). A recent article titled “The Visual Scan and the Design for Future-Oriented Libraries” is in Public Library Quarterly, November 2005. In tandem with Aaron Cohen, she has led more than 300 space planning, design, strategic planning and automation workshops including in-house workshops for clients.

Natalya Palevski - ASID

Natalya Palevski, ASID, NCIDQ, Building Program and Library Consultant, is a Library Service Planner.

Natalya received her Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Architecture and Masters of Architecture from the Architectural School of the Institute of Civil Engineering, Russia and an Interior Design Associate Degree from the New School for Social Research. Her qualifications have been certified by the U.S. National Council for Interior Design (NCIDQ). Her special areas of expertise include library programming, layout, design, site selection, space planning, AutoCAD modeling.

Natalya has been a member of Aaron Cohen Associates LTD for 28 years. She has helped visualize a large number of space planning innovations that have formed the basis of ACA’s contributions to the development of the modern library. She has developed library programs and CAD layouts for large urban libraries (New York Public Library, National Library of Singapore), digital learning spaces and distance learning classrooms (Southeastern Louisiana University, Duquesne and University of California), circulation and reference desks technical services and operations workflow, meeting rooms and classrooms (Long Island University, King Abdullah University of Science & Technology, Las Vegas-Clark County Library District).

Natalya has been instrumental in the development of ACA’s library programs and organizational design solutions. She has been involved in the visual representation of innovations to support operational efficiencies such as flexible seating and meeting spaces, self check out and materials management. She has developed 3D visuals of ACA’s collaborative space “post and beam” and improved ACA’s library space programs for special libraries. She modified ACA’s building programs to meet new challenges such as flexible classrooms, meeting and programming spaces. She has designed efficient compact storage systems and developed detailed book retention layouts for the NYSHA and Smithsonian Institution. She has developed CAD visuals for numerous phased building plans and created shelving efficiencies for important archives and preservation organizations. Natalya has worked on many innovative master planning programs and building studies including; Las Vegas-Clark County Library System, NV; NATO World Headquarters Library, Brussels, Belgium; National Library of Greece, Athens; King Abdullah University of Science & Technology, Saudi Arabia; Columbus Public Library GA; Long Island University, NY.

Diana Edmonds, Deputy-Head Librarian - MBE

Diana Edmonds is an expert in Public Library Design - International Projects.

Diana Edmonds, Consultant, is Deputy-Head of Libraries, Archives and Museum Service in the London Borough of Haringey. Prior to moving to the public sector, Diana worked in the private sector, initially as a freelance consultant. Before joining Haringey, Diana was the founder and Managing Director of Instant Library Ltd, a library services company. In her new role as Head of Libraries in the London Borough of Haringey, Diana combines the public sector approach commitment to serving the community with a private sector approach to finance and fundraising. Diana has extensive experience in specifying and procuring IT facilities. Under Diana’s management, Haringey Libraries have moved from having “no stars” and “no hope of improvement” into a high performing authority with dramatically improving visitor and issue numbers. Diana is, above all, an entrepreneur with practical experience of organizational growth and development. One of Diana's recent projects has been the introduction of RFID (radio frequency identification) technology into the library. This was launched in December 2005 by Culture Minister David Lammy at his local library, where commented: "Coming back to my own constituency it is good to know that, in Haringey, we have libraries that are right at the leading edge." Link to more info

Wayne S. Koch, AIA, LEED AP, Principal

Library Planning Architect

Wayne S. Koch, AIA, LEED AP Leveraging his expertise with leading large-scale projects, Wayne is adept at reconciling the goals of divergent constituents to achieve successful development results. He has provided his expertise to Bryant University, Bentley College, Bates Communications, Wang Global Headquarters, and Tufts University. Wayne Koch holds a Master of Architecture Degree from Washington University and Bachelor of Science Degree from New York University Polytechnic. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Boston Society of Architect

Sharlene Harris, St. Thomas Manager, Enterprise User & Data Services

Expert in Digital Library Services and Development of Academic Library Services

Sharlene Harris, St. Thomas Manager, Enterprise User & Data Services, received her MLS at School of Information and Library Science University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill May 1996. Her Masters Thesis was A Case Study in Management and Marketing Practices at the Elaine Ione Sprauve Library and Museum, St. John, USVI. She has a BA from Ohio Dominican College (1994). At the University of the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, VI, Sharlene manages the operations and budget of the St. Thomas Campus Library of the University of the Virgin Islands - Ralph M. Paiewonsky Library. Her focus is to integrate the operations of the media center into the library. She works closely with the VP of ITS on the merger of Libraries and Information Technology into the new Information Technology Services component. Sharlene is responsible for the upgrade and maintenance of the University libraries’ online catalog and its computers on both the St. Thomas and St. Croix campuses. As Director of Libraries/Territorial Librarian Government of the United States Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, VI, Department of Planning and Natural Resources, Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums, Sharlene supervised the operations of four public libraries, one bookmobile, one kiosk and one regional library for the blind and physically handicapped, all spread throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands. Sharlene brings to the team expert administration, budget and grant experience, as well as compliance knowledge of federal grant guidelines. She also has experience in securing bids for physical plant projects at the libraries; conducting public service campaigns aimed at increasing awareness of libraries and use by community; training staff, educators and the public in the use of computer systems and software.

Hiram Davis,Ph.D, Academic LIbrary Consultant, Past Deputy Director Library of Congress

Expert in Large Academic Library Building Projects

Hiram Davis received his Bachelor of Science Economics and English) in 1966 from Missouri Valley College.  His Master of Librarianship (College and University Libraries) was received in 1969 from Emporia State University (Kansas).  In 1984, he received his Ph.D. (Administration, Higher Education and Library Science) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Since 1996, Dr. Davis has been Dean of Library Services, California Polytechnic State University.  As Dean, he is responsible for the development, implementation, and direction of all aspects of library service at the University.  This includes positioning the library to support the University’s mission of teaching, learning, research and outreach, and assuring that the library actively contributes to the intellectual life of the campus.  Also as Dean, he developed the master plan for a new teaching and learning facility, a potential $30-40 million project.

Prior to his tenure at Cal. Poly., Dr. Davis was Senior Advisor for Staff Development and Transition to the Librarian of Congress.  This entailed developing and implementing a new initiative at LC to broaden the knowledge and skills of existing staff through education, internal training, job experience, mentoring, and other means.    Previous work also includes Director of University Libraries, Michigan State University; Dean of University Libraries, New Mexico State University; Dean of University Libraries, University of the Pacific; etc.  In addition, he has been Director of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation’s (CIC) Library Science Doctoral Program for minority and disadvantaged students for six CIC universities:  Chicago, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.  During his long and distinguished career, he has had several academic, special, and public library assignments, and has functioned as President, vice president,  chairperson, organizer or member for a host of library related associations, and consortia.

Dr. Davis has worked with Aaron Cohen Associates LTD several times in the past, most notably at Michigan State University (short and long-range facilities planning), New Mexico State University (short and long-range facilities and equipment planning -- culminating in a new major library building on campus), and University of the Pacific (short and long-range facilities and equipment planning -- culminating in a major renovation/new addition to the existing library building, and an on-campus library shelving facility).  

Larry Nash, Ph.D, Professor Library and Information Sciences  

Expert in Assessment Planning and the Development of Distance Education - Library Services

Dr. Larry Nash White is an Assistant Professor at East Carolina University Department of Library Science and Instructional Technology. Prior to that, Dr. White worked as an administrator in retail management, government agencies, and public and academic libraries. He has a wide scope of experience in library operations and service provision, management, marketing, financial management, grant writing, and assessment of services. He is an internationally invited speaker and presenter on such topics as library performance, leadership, assessment, and competition for service and consults with libraries and non-profit organizations. He has published in the areas of performance assessment, competitive response, and financial management of libraries.

Jesse Koennecke, MLS, Electronic Resource Licensing and Management  

Expert in Digital Library Planning and the Development of Online Education

Jesse Koennecke, MLS is an expert in Electronic Resources and Serials Management at Cornell University. He leads the Library's Summon Implementation Team, Discovery & Access Team and Vendor Group Coordinator. He is an expert in document delivery platforms as well as library information systems integration. He is the WebFeat Transition Implementation Team and Summon beta-testing and integration expert for Cornell University.

Dr. Loriene Roy, Ph.D., Professor School of Information, Past-President American Library Association.

Expert in Cultural Heritage Development

Dr. Roy’s writing, research and service is centered on indigenous cultural heritage development. In addition, she advocates for the inclusion and study of formal and informal service learning opportunities for graduate students. She is founder and director of “If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything,” a national reading club for American Indian students. She was the 1997-1998 President of the American Indian Library Association (AILA) and the 2007-2008 President of the American Library Association (ALA). Her professional awards include the 2009 Leadership Award from the National Conference Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums; 2007 State of Texas Senate Proclamation No. 127; 2006 ALA Equality Award; 2007 Library Journal Mover & Shaker”; Outstanding 2002 Alumna from the University of Arizona’s School of Information Resources and Library Services; the 2001Joe and Bettie Branson Ward Excellence Award for Research, Teaching, or Demonstration Activities that Contribute to Changes of Positive Value to Society, two Texas Exes Teaching Awards; and two James W. Vick Texas Excellence Awards for Academic Advisors. She is Anishinabe, enrolled on the White Earth Reservation, a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. She is an elected Trustee of the LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund and the Convener of IFLA’s Special Interest Group on Indigenous Matters. She teaches graduate courses in basic reference, library instruction and information literacy, reader’s advisory, and indigenous librarianship. She has written widely and delivered over 500 formal presentations in venues around the world.

Peter Young, Chief of the Asian Division at the Library of Congress

Expert in Systematic Challenges, Asian Region - Library Planning / Digital Sciences

As Chief of the Asian Division at the Library of Congress, Peter R. Young provided leadership, direction, and management for a comprehensive collection of 3.1 million items representing East, South, and South East Asia, as well as Asian Pacific Americans. Young was also responsible for developing the Library’s strategy for digital information and data related to science and technology.

Peter directed the National Agricultural Library (NAL) from 2002 to 2008. With an annual budget of $22+ million and a staff of 260+, NAL’s collections total over 3.8 million items. While at NAL, he received a Senior Executive Service Presidential Meritorious Excellence Award for sustained superior accomplishment and for noteworthy achievement of quality and efficiency in the public service. Prior to NAL, Young served at the Library of Congress (LC) as Acting Chief of the Asian Division 2001-2002, Chief of the Cataloging Distribution Service (CDS) 1997-2001, Chief of the Copyright Cataloging Division 1985-1988, Assistant Chief of the MARC Editorial Division 1984-1985, and CDS Customer Services Officer 1980-1984. From 1990 to 1997 he served as Executive Director of the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS), an independent executive branch agency advising the President and Congress on national library and information service policies.

We have been especially successful in fostering imaginative solutions.  We can provide program samples to prospective clients.  

Please review our qualifications and give us a call at 914-271-8170. We can start developing a plan to improve your library building and space. We can define your service needs to position your library for success.

Contact us:  Library Consultant