• Hasso Plattner Institute of Design
    Library Planning Research,  library technology,  Space Planning

    School Libraries and Academic Innovation Labs

    As we begin the new school year, we would like to take the opportunity to share one aspect of how a school or academic library can make a difference in the lives of each student. Libraries can inform classroom instruction, and provide innovation/design thinking space to strengthen skills-based remediation. School & academic libraries can help coordinate with campus leaders to support the faculty, building their design thinking spaces and services.

    At Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD we gather school data and help the academy learn how to apply best practices, resources and educational research. To achieve this end, school librarians work with us to understand their user needs. They research strategies to enhance the learning environment including collection needs, classroom / lab applications and learning disabilities support.

    Library Planning and Innovation

    When you analyze the outcomes for students and faculty our library design methods can go one step further and translate these findings into applicable programming for the student spaces, sharing this research not only with campus leaders and faculty, but also educators, fundraising, advancement and professionals nationally and internationally. When we use this type of design thinking for programming, libraries can start to offer new types of services and environments – spaces to enhance research and innovation.

    Academic and School librarians need to know that they are part faculty & part innovator. They can function across all campuses with thoughtful and strategically planned design thinking opportunities that aim to deepen understanding and equip teachers with proficiency in utilizing research-based remediation methods.

    Our school library programming and academic service planning designs efforts include opportunities for faculty members to engage with one another, collaborate and problem solve, while delving into the cognitive science of learning and behavior. Our comprehensive programming supports faculty with professional design thinking, planning & learning workshops. We offer a methodology to improve the impact of your school or academic library services.

    Design Thinking Methods for Workshops

    Below is a picture developed on School Library Journal from the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design in conjunction with the Stanfords D School in Innovation Lab Brings Design Thinking to Schools Hasso Plattner Institute of Design

    According to Sam Seidel at the the Stanford D School, over 800 school leaders have participated in our School Retool fellowship or design thinking innovation programs. They explore the use of Innovation labs and services utilizing aspects of design thinking. They transform their school culture with the goals of increasing equity and deepening learning.

    For students, design thinking in the library can be a fun and freeing new way to learn. To be able to transform your library and learning center into an innovation lab – a place where students can explore their skills multiple days a week. Contact Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD to start planning your innovation lab

  • Social Library Issues,  Space Planning,  work in progress


    Understanding the learning garden and library environment involves special problem solving, navigation, trying to make sense of a chaotic book shelving system wayfinding information that may help interacting with the three-dimensional environment. We do not process information about the library environment the way cameras or computers do. Our processing is full of listening sessions. Understanding the special way humans think about library environments will help us to design better settings. The central concept is legibility, or the ease in which a library may be organized and what makes sense to the user?

    Our Library Consultants have learned there four elements that contribute to a learning garden or library environment.

  • Paths – The routes along which people travel. Typical paths are walkways and corridors.
  • Edges – Non traveled areas like the window wall edge. I call this the “living edge” of a building. A place where the user can sit and relate to a nature; or just see outside.
  • Zones – Moderate size areas that have a particular character, the users can identify with such areas as a Periodical Reading, Reference/Computers, Children’s, Rare books, Quiet Study, Conference and Meeting Rooms. A zone of the collection can strongly contribute to the legibility of library if it is well defined and legible. We do not gain, house and recall information about locations, distances and arrangements mechanically, yet our way of processing environment information can be made easier if the user has clear paths, and defined edges and zones.
  • Nodes – Identified points that users in libraries travel to and from often at junctions of important paths, like circulation desk and reference desk. These key intersections or nodes are staffed in traditional library and served with technology using the digital library.

  • Library Design Supports Productivity

    library carrels

    The dynamic of the changing library and the use of technology can enable the development of online information services and spaces. The online library provides the interface, junctions, and paths that can be displayed in popular gathering areas. We can provide QR codes to bring the library collections and resources to life.

    Here are a few helpful links & QR code generators:

    Library Interface Use Cases: QR Code In Libraries
    Strategies to Create and Test QR Codes:
    QR Code Generator
    QR Code Monkey

    Understanding the Learning Space, Interface and the Living Environment

    Understanding the library spatial environment, its place, like environmental perception must be studied indirectly. The library design goal is to extract an accurate representation of what the user wants and needs in a library & the environment. The commonest way of approaching this problem is by observation such as visiting other libraries and meeting other librarians on ALA Connect.

    The library design assessment will be more meaningful when the individuals sketched a layout, constructed a scale model, or estimated distances between various elements, bookstacks, etc. The layout or sketched map of the library may be limited in its accuracy by such factors as the individuals drawing ability memory and problems with scale translation. If the map depicted a person’s activity patterns then some for the problems relating behavior patterns, the way people actually use space can be improved and reinforced.

    Library environments are not thought of in the same way by their inhabitants – age, sex, as well as familiarity with the setting, the location of the various functions, reference, and meeting room tables all affect the way we feel about the library. Spatial cognition or understanding of the user interface may also be affected by visual or spatial abilities, personality and intelligence. Our Library Consultants help libraries transform services and space, technology and services. We know that a library can be a big traditional table with lighting and power or an open learning space. We know that living things and plants add to the learning environment.

    We support libraries and bring them up to date. We are international library consultants and planners – Contact: Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD

    library individual

  • Library Planning Research,  library technology,  Space Planning

    New Library Planning Methods / New Digital Resource Strategies

    To begin the development of a library or digital asset management project, consider methods of zooming into a problem and zooming out. This will give your organization the ability to plan and develop a kaleidoscope of opportunities. We know that you can improve your library service and your community resources. Is there a group of users that you are not reaching? Are there digital products that can expand access to the collection(s)?

    According to Jean-Louis Barsoux, Michael Wade and Cyril Bouquet, “Identifying Unmet Needs in a Digital Age” – Ask What Digital Can Add. Digital tools make it easier to observe the behavior of your users, because it allows the organization to learn from its success. The organization can be more responsive to the user experience. You can study how to provide better services to your users, and improve the user experience. If you keep looking at the same people, in the same context, with the same tools, you risk missing new innovation, efficiencies and opportunities.

    Strategic Thinking Workshops

    Learn the lay of the land. Organizing a Design Thinking Workshop is perfect for AI / digital asset management / library planning projects. If your organization is going through a digital transformation and the library service requires a library consultant we can help make decisions. We can support the service and space modernization plans, user analysis and research. We can analyze your digital asset management, product strategies, service planning and collection development strategies.

    Library Planning Methods to Build Momentum

    While our library planning workshops follow many tried and true methods to build momentum, they usually start with a handful of people at a given time and expand from there. The workshops offer unpredictable results that are fueled by the your team. We build on the community’s enthusiasm, commitment and dedication. They tend to require hard work and scheduling – the preparation needs to be organized. When they are organized using Aaron Cohen Associates planning methods, it generates a lot of excitement.

    The number of opportunities or strategies generated by this type of initiative can be staggering. For these projects can make a big impact on the special library. It starts with a series of workshop that we can deliver to all types of libraries and digital systems development teams. We focus on the most ordinary type of user. We use the resource strategies to plan for the future.

    Identifying Library User Needs in a Digital Age

    Below is a diagram based on Harvard Business Review Article and Authors Visualizations – Graphic Method.

    library user experience methods
    library planning methods
  • Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues,  Space Planning

    Welcome to the 21st Century Library

    To challenge your current perspective, you can view the library as an educational community center. You can look for commonalities that point to unmet needs. You can program the library service to support distance learning and you can configure circulation services to support pick up services. Our planning team helps learning communities uncover opportunities to thrive and grow. We call it the kaleidoscopic discovery method (see graphic below).

    Our library programs make it possible to quickly sift through space planning data and surveys. Our project data supports the basic requirements for library service and offers a wider perspective. During our community engagement workshops, we learn about the community and we look for commonalities that point to unmet needs.


    On a grand scale the library is a symbol of our culture. It effects the local educational and cultural fabric of the community. This means that we need to recognize the value of library planning. We need more places that function like grandmas house – friendly but not intimate. We need to understand that the public’s third place is a library. How do you manage collections, technology, infrastructure and the cloud?

    There are no easy answers, and the library solution to a problem may not work for another library. There are no cookie cutter approaches. But consider the possibilities that your historic library can be renewed through a process of discovery. We’ve seen many library initiatives succeed. That’s because libraries grow much bigger over time.

    CBS Program On 21st Century Libraries

    As Erika Connelly showed us in “Welcome to the library of the 21st century/ via @cbssunday – the library of today requires innovation.

    Librarians are primed to focus on how to meet the unmet user. They need support to go deeper and explore what is possible. After all, what happens when something not done?

    Library Planning Methods

  • Library Planning Research,  library technology

    Strategies For Your Library’s Tech Intensity

    Technology has always found a home in libraries. But applied library tech – website / interface design has often been consigned to the backrooms of libraries. Fortunately, that’s changing. Several libraries now boast quality collections and learning solutions online. These library systems, rich with examples of databases & service tools, offer a great way to deepen community support.

    Professional library planners and designers analyze (and obsess over) tech designs. So should you (except for the obsess part). Analyzing the design of your user experience or just browsing the web – can sharpen your eye. While thousands of libraries provide online collections and services – many strive to offer more value, these libraries and systems gave us some ideas on how to approach user experiences.

    Here are Library Collection and Organization Examples.

    Smithsonian Libraries – Collection Search: Collections & deep links are possible.
    university of illinois at urbana-champaign library: new primo integration with other libraries.
    Salt Lake City Public Library System – Digital Library: Organized content to support the library user.
    King County Public Library – Online Resources: A – Z approach to finding a resource.
    Austin Texas Public Library – Virtual: w/ Spanish Option
    Darien Public Library – Community Focused
    Jacksonville Public Library – Research and Learning
    Yale Law School Open Library: Lillian Goldman Law Library Scholarship Repository
    MIT Library Research Guides
    Allard Pierson Repository
    KAUST: Innovative list of all databases on page
    Boston Public Library: Organized by Age and Resources
    Tufts University: Jumbo Search
    University of Illinois: Sharing Collections Across the State


    One of the most potent economic strategies is the development of user experiences. We believe that libraries are a place for change, providing library planning workshops is an opportunity to gain input.  It is an opportunity to build on the needs of the library user.

    A long time ago, we started working directly with libraries on their user personas. We developed a set of engagement exercises to understand who they are – where they are going – and – how they are going to get there. Our research sessions offered opportunities for members of the community to visualize the future.  We have a library of past project experiences that are offered to our clients.


    A great article by the New York Times gives us some insights into a basic community building strategy – “In Where Tennis Soars Despite Rugged Courts,” we learn that community building starts with opportunities for engagement – a tennis court. It is a place where people can volunteer and engage with other members of the community. It is a rugged tennis court that is close to the US Open Tennis / Arther Ashe Facility. It is a place that provides an opportunity to learn and share experiences.


    Design Thinking for Libraries can make a big impact on the digital asset resources available to the community. Good tech designs can change the world. Below is a score card you can use to think about your current technology and design status. You can share the score card with your team and rank your platform, library collection, virtual world and community.

    tech score card

  • Library Planning Research

    Thinking About Public Library Strategies

    It is not surprising public libraries are eager to help their communities. According to the American Library Associations core values – they provide access, education and life-long learning, diverse programs and professionalism. The libraries around the world are becoming more attractive places to be, and in absolute numbers increasing the access to knowledge.

    In the United Kingdom the Government states that “Libraries change lives for the better. They not only provide access to books and other literature but also help people to help themselves and improve their opportunities, bring people together, and provide practical support and guidance. As a locally accountable service, they are well-placed to respond to local needs and issues.”

    According to the Public Library Association President, Melanie Higgins “libraries are being asked to help solve community problems, respond to community crises, and provide leadership to help citizens literally survive a pandemic.” There is evidence that our libraries and librarians are important communicators helping people deal with problems. The buildings help break down the barriers to independent learning.

    • Flexible Libraries have features that make it a good fit for sustainable programs.
    • Digital Asset Management can be at a personal or community based level.
    • This can include modern buildings, flexible and adaptable spaces.
    • A place for children, teens and adults to learn how to conduct themselves in a professional environment.

    According to Creating Public Value: Strategic Management in Government by Mark H. Moore – we need to support an uncertain future by implementing a series of concrete actions, some planned and some improvised. This includes developing a needs assessment, service and building program, scenario planning and master plan. The actions unleash unpredictable influences that will help define the libraries strengths and weaknesses.

    The library planning process will help library and community leaders make many adjustments to keep their efforts to change on course. This may include interventions to change the digital services. More importantly, it will involve improvements to the libraries service, space and use. We know that it is hard to develop structures and planning strategies that improve the future. It is best to be organized by adding expertise to your libraries potential.

    Here are some helpful links to consider:
    Describing and Measuring the Value of Public Libraries.

    IFLA/UNESCO Public Library Manifesto

    Creating the Future: a 2020 Vision Plan for Library Service in New York State

    The role and value of public libraries in the age of digital technologies

    Maximize the Potential of Your Public Library – ICMA

    The Libraries Timeless Purpose

    Below is a graphic of the steps we take to support libraries in transition. We support the strategic development of libraries, including best practices and programs to support information gathering. We help communities define their public libraries and help build the next generation library services, buildings and access.


  • Library Planning Research

    The Value of the Academic Library


    More than 20 years ago, Aaron Cohen AIA started our library planning research. First, he started with a question: what is the value of the academic library? To answer it, we created a list of outstanding academic libraries and studied them in depth. Here are the top six findings:

    • Successful academic libraries were the ones able to recognize and adapt to the needs of their users.
    • Academic libraries have a role to play supporting student success and retention.
    • Libraries have a role to play because “everything is online”
    • Successful academic libraries build partnerships and adapt to the new roles required.
    • Libraries need to create the infrastructure necessary to adapt to the changing academic community.
    • Flexible and integrated tech is necessary.

    The library plan should reflect the future the College and/or University and its culture. It must create value with the investment in both student experience and pedagogy. What’s important, however is not the name of the library or the building but the flow between services. The library must provide space for new peer to peer roles. Space for student success functions / career services / support for students with disabilities. The campus should give the impression that there is a collective purpose to the learning community.

    Having the right roles on the library teams isn’t enough. You need to examine the learning spaces, behaviors, skills, building access, and diversity of user experiences. The libraries need to balance the tensions between new and old services. Below is an image of the Point Park University Library. Think about specialized research in an old bank. How do you develop library space in this environment? What is the efficient use of academic library resources?



    Below is a list of articles that focus on the value of the academic library. To prepare for our conceptual programming and planning work, the past senior librarian at Wartburg Jill Western provided us with this list of articles on the subject and her commentary. Below is the document to support other academic libraries. We hope that you may use this info to strengthen the value of the academic library.


    The value of academic libraries: Library services as a predictor of student retention.

    Murray, A., Ireland, A. and Hackathorn, J. (2016). College & Research Libraries, 77(5).

    Overall, this study helps demonstrate the role those academic libraries and the services and resources provided by academic library employees can play in retaining students. In an age when many view the library as having a diminished role because “everything is online,” these findings help library administrators and university leaders understand the value academic libraries can provide to institutional retention efforts. Given this study’s findings that checking out items from the library or using electronic library resources have a significant positive predictive relationship with retention, the perception of library expenditures as a drain on institutional finances with no discernable return-on-investment is weakened. This study empowers library administrators to create the infrastructure necessary to determine the relationship between known library use at the individual level and student retention at their own institution.

    The impact of academic library resources on undergraduates’ degree completion.

    Soria, K.M., Fransen, J., and Nackerud, S. (2017).
    College & Research Libraries, 78(6).

    The results suggest a positive correlation between using the library in the first year and graduating in four years or remaining enrolled after four years. More specific data showed that students who used electronica resources, books, and/or had a library instruction session had “significantly improved odds of remaining enrolled over withdrawing.”

    Library learning spaces: Investigating Libraries and investing in student feedback.

    Andrews, C., Wright, S. E., & Raskin, H. (2016). Journal of Library Administration, 56(6), 647–672.

    This is an excellent investigation into what students want in a library space and how this library responded to those desires and plans to respond following the study. Nearly every aspect of a library was investigated, and some key points are worth repeating here (paraphrased from pages 653-654):

    • The library inspires students to study.
    • Rooms and collaborative spaces in other buildings can supplement but not replace the library as these Students’ preferred location.
    • Flexible and integrated tech is necessary.
    • Students desire a variety of furniture, spaces, and noise levels.
    • Collaborative spaces with other student services can work if designed with purpose.

    Understanding the information-seeking behavior of pharmacy college faculty, staff, and students: implications for improving embedded librarian services.

    Kamada, H., Martin, J. R., Slack, M. K., & Kramer, S. S. (2021). Journal of the Medical Library Association, 109(2), 286–294. https://doi.org/10.5195/jmla.2021.950

    The authors found that when librarians have close proximity to students, it is beneficial to the students as it positions the librarian to provide needed instruction and advice in the existing user information-seeking behavior environment.

    Academic library spaces: Advancing student success and helping students thrive.

    Spencer, M. E., & Watstein, S. B. (2017). Portal: Libraries and the Academy, 17(2), 389-402.

    The authors explored how the academic library and its space functions to support student success and learning. “Today’s physical learning spaces are formal and informal, social spaces and information spaces. These learning spaces ‘accommodate a wide range of activities, technologies, and participants—both in-person and connected virtually. In these spaces, people need to be able to create, retrieve, combine, display, and share information, then do it all over again, all in a space that they can easily reconfigure and is well supported by staff that meet and anticipate their needs’” (p 392).

    Specific quote in the article that talks about redesigns, remodels, etc. “Librarians and other educators, working with architects, builders, and designers, need to bring to the planning process an understanding of learning theory and to establish learner-centered goals for new spaces. Bennett writes: ‘The concept of learning we actually use is rarely more sophisticated than that sometimes students prefer to work alone, sometimes they would rather work collaboratively, and sometimes they like to make things. This is a patently simplistic concept of learning; it almost entirely fails to engage with the stance of an intentional learner’” (p 396).

    Learning about student research practices through an ethnographic investigation: Insights into contact with librarians and use of library space.

    Tewell, E., Mullins, K., Tomlin, N., & Dent, V. (2017). Evidence-Based Library and Information Practice, 12(4), 78–101. https://doi.org/10.18438/B8MW9Q

    The authors found that students preferred the ability to create their own individual study spaces by moving furniture and a preference for either in groups or alone (but not really in a large open space). Evaluating the single service point using the Person-Environment-Occupation Model. Portal: Libraries and the Academy, 20(2). DOI: 10.1353/pla.2020.0018 Vaughan, KT. (2020). Through direct observation of library functions and interviews with library staff, the PEO Model was used to evaluate the interactions of staff and patrons in the library environment at a recently renovated service desk space. The staff had identified issues with the set-up, and the library used this study to re-renovate the space to better fit the needs of staff and patrons. The conclusion emphasizes the importance of incorporating considerations from multiple aspects of the people, environment, and work.

  • Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues

    Five Laws of Library Progress

    While we were working on the development of international library buildings, we visited the Bibliotheca Alexandria, where the Internet Archive had created a partnership. They were working on the development of digital libraries with Egyptians digitizing knowledge resources. They were ahead of their time. They had established a strong relationship with the future, which started with a digitization program.

    I recently met the Internet Archives representatives about their open libraries project and found it fascinating, an initiative that channeled digital scholarship to a world-wide audience. It also echoed my own desire to create libraries in unexpected places and build services that they didn’t know existed. Visit Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD

    Visionaries in Library Science

    Shiyali Ramainrita (S. R.) Ranganathan, who influenced many library professionals, changed the relationships between libraries and books, readers and services. When I think about his advice that the Library is a growing organism and every reader needs pathways to scholarly resources; it is a good foundation to begin work.

    Five Laws of Library Science

    1. Books are for use
    2. Every reader, his/her book
    3. Every book, its reader
    4. Save the time of the reader
    5. The Library is a growing organism

    Books are for Use

    In the twenty first century, with the ever increasing importance of sharing knowledge, countless, diverse connections arise through the development of institutional repositories. We are following the developments of the Digital Services, because Libraries – as aids, are a source for inspiration.

    We need to make sure collections are accessible. Through controlled digital lending services – libraries can reassert their place in the scholars world. Through Diane Zable and Emily Rimland and Ranganathan, we can prioritize access to provide alternate ways of conceiving knowledge. The library discovery process starts with encouraging the use of a collection. If the materials are online, we need our libraries in the cloud.

    Every reader, his/her book

    It is often an intuitive attraction to the diversity of library collections, and, in a certain sense to the discovery process. The walls of libraries should be receptive to new resources and research pathways. On the other hand, the libraries need new funding strategies. There is always someone who just says if you need a book can just buy it, but patrons cannot own all the resources they need, nor do they want to. The library collection provides interdisciplinary opportunities for success.

    Every book, its reader

    Of all the different services libraries provide, I think that the outreach librarian has been neglected. Library outreach is often-overlooked by the community until you need help. The library is a place to make connections and build trust. This can be joining a zoom meeting or a one on one session.

    Storytime entails both connecting the child to literacy and educating them about what books can do for them. According to Diane Zable and Emily Rimland, if patrons leave with nothing else but the knowledge that the library can help them, we have done our job and we have taken this third law to heart.

    Save the time of the reader

    It was our first international library workshop, also my own first collaboration with CILIP, and one of the first library planning workshops in the UK. We met at the University of Manchester and toured the learning commons, learning about the different types of spaces. However, the real innovation was going on behind the scenes, at a digitizing station in the back room.

    For Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD, user experience are a reverse obsession that contrasts with the physical library building entrance — how we deliver library services is critical. How we incorporate new types of access through library catalogs using authentication management solutions is critical. The services to support the book as an object and the services to support digital object9s) are more important than ever, and we have always worked on making it easier for the library patron to get what they need fast.

    The Library is a growing organism

    Looking back at our library planning experiences, it is very clear that curating the library collection is critical to success. Aaron Cohen’s notion that the library should aspire to be a Skillshaus (more on that in the future) or a Collaborative Platform, is echoed in Ranganathan and his work; one does not limit the library solely to the display of books, but provides a myriad of public activities that supports its discovery system.

    We need to intellectually and practically invest in the library of the future. Start with the five laws of library science and build from there.

    See other Links:

    The Library’s Value – Print and Digital Books Endure.

    The Economic Value of Library Systems


  • Library Planning Research,  library technology,  Social Library Issues

    Making Sense of Complicated Information: Inclusive Planning is Just the Beginning

    Since about the early 1980’s, computer scientists have been predicting a networked world. Some people have awaited it with eagerness, others with trepidation. Networked Computers and Social Media are supposed to replace the traditional ways of doing things: Communicating, Sharing and Living Together. We believe that IT systems will be stronger and more resilient by using diverse and inclusive language.

    Inclusive Language

    According to Ashleigh Rentz Technical Writer at KORE, we need to change the words we use to be more effective. Bias-free communication needs to be considered when you are building technology services. Digital Assets reach every part of the globe, so it’s critical that all our communications are inclusive and diverse.

    Ashleigh states, “There are several common terms used in business and technology which reflect cultural bias, especially regarding race. In fact, some of these terms can’t be understood without also comprehending the implied bias they reference. When we use these terms, it can cause some of our colleagues and customers to feel unwelcome or disrespected. These and other microaggressions add up over time to cause real hurt to real people.”

    We value diversity and inclusion during the development of libraries. We recognize that our words have real impacts. Try to improve your work communication: STOP USING THESE WORDS IN 2020.

    library researcher

    Inclusive Building Blocks

    Collection Development

    There are indications that poor language infused into our networks is not science fiction.
    The digital asset management industry appears to be growing and it is time to manage our language to create better libraries. This includes document management systems, shared collections and project work.

    Bibliometic Building Blocks

    For Better Collections

    Our Bibliographic programming can be used to clean up and streamline library collections. First, we will analyze the library collection and build a profile. We develop lists and categories that represent the organizations marketing, sales, finance, library or business systems. Our collection development experience will help your organization share complicated information.

    Library Planning

    In the past 20 years, and more, a number of corporate and government libraries have had to cope with digital collections that grew at speeds approaching geometric progression. Some double every year. All over the world there are organizations without digital strategies. Learn about Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD, build bibliometic strategy to support space planning.

    Support Information Professionals

    Although librarians and information professionals have professional status, libraries and digital asset management teams need bibliometic support. Even so, until recently library collections expanded to an unaccountable rate. And now academic and government libraries exist in digital environments where, in the early 1980’s, they built book depositories.

    Special libraries devoted to corporate or government agency collections – have been a forgotten segment. Although a shaky economy threatens this growth, there are more emails, documents, books, media and more digital content than ever before. Collection development is more important than ever.

    For Future Librarians

    But just on the horizon, signs of unorganized digital collection appear. People are building their own libraries, using all types of tools to manage their work in the cloud. It is our job to employ bibliometics, using design thinking to remake the 21st century library.

    For Future Managers

    Corporations and government researchers use all types of collaboration systems (accounting, finance, management, library database acquisition, salesforce, etc.), requiring management teams to rethink their communication strategies. Are you building the library of the future? What types of roles are required? What type of collection will support the future?

    inclusive library


    Digital Asset Management: the Next Wave

  • Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues

    A Better Library: Design Thinking

    Librarians find themselves working in networks where information is generated, organized, indexed, transferred, digitized, stored, retrieved, selected, replaced, transmitted or discarded. The access with which you can reach is beyond the realm of imagination for most people. Thus, the digital team must help prevent possible outages or user-related blockages. It must reflect the new technologies with a systematic service program. This is especially true of library service and design efforts. We use design thinking as a strategy to start.

    Times of Uncertainty

    During times of uncertainty, we need to expand the possibilities. The status quo is always an option, but sometimes it is not. We focus on both urgent decisions and long term sustainability. For example, we ask how to keep our libraries safe and healthy, how to keep our community happy, or, if someone lost a job, how to help people find a new one as quickly as possible.

    A Better Library

    Library Systems are key to current management problems and when we feel overwhelmed, it can be hard to find the time, motivation, and mental energy to think about longer-term questions. Here are a few steps you can take:

    1. Explore a range of scenarios — including the unthinkable.
    2. Imagine a future that is better than today.
    3. Build future capabilities based on relevant data.
    4. Use design thinking methods.
    4. Start with a self study and build a master plan.

    Explore a range of scenarios

    Systems are key to current digital asset management practices. A library is an organized arrangement in which each component acts in accordance with the overall service. What strategic changes could you make or modify current library operations to a more service oriented digital mode?

    Imagine a future that is better than today

    New virtual/digital work methods translates into a new library design that takes into consideration people to people, people to machines and software to software connections. People are not software, nor should they be considered as such. To do their jobs properly, collaborative teams / trusted teams must be created, the library systems must be easy to use, and facilities must provide beauty and comfort.

    Build future capabilities based on relevant data

    To function properly, jobs have to be integrated into the library plan and people employed are properly supported with the necessary training, equipment and space. Aaron Cohen likes to compare master planning to a temporary army command post from which units are deployed and dashboards provide real-time information. Our research team analyzes the library’s communication dashboards to help develop the goals and objectives and build a successful strategy for sustainability.

    Design Thinking Methods

    Educators and Community Administrators have to compromise between their attempts to respond to on-going demands for digital information / research services and the status quo. However, that solution sets up another potential difficulty. The new digital library plan needs to support the physical library in new ways. But how?

    Similar analyses using design thinking methods regularly found that the staff is essential to the performance of tasks and how different tasks interact with one another and eventually with the goals of the organization. We have found that there is always resistance to the unknown. Design Thinking helps us visualize and design new goals for the future. It helps us balance the physical place and digital space requirements.

    Start with a self study and build a master plan.

    We suggest taking a Master Planning approach. Identify the long and short term goals you need to cultivate in order to grow toward a better future. A client of ours was committed to the idea of becoming a digital library. To pursue that high-level goal, the library determined that they had to improve their information literacy communication, build cross-cultural groups, and jettison outdated services. This way not an easy process, but it helps with Design Thinking Tools. Below are some links to help you on your search for a better future.

    Design Thinking Resources

    Human Centered Design Resources and Methods To Help You Master HCD

    How Can Organizations Adopt and Measure Design Thinking Process?

    Why Design Thinking Works

    What can I use Design Thinking For?

    Need to do a Design Thinking Workshop? Master Plan CONTACT LIBRARY CONSULTANT
    Team Building for Libraries

    Below is a graphic from – What can I use Design Thinking for?

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