• 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?

    what can i use design thinking for? page 12

  • Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues,  work in progress

    Cost Benefit Analysis: Support Sustainable Development Goals

    Did you ever wonder what the “sustainable” part of “sustainable development” mean? According to IFLA’s Libraries and the Sustainable Development Goals, it is a “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. It’s about the environment, but also about social and economic development.

    We support the 17 SDGs or UN 2030 Agenda. Libraries provide services that world leaders care about. The inclusion of libraries and access to information in national and regional development plans will contribute to meeting the global United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

    Libraries contribute to improved outcomes across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

    • Promoting universal literacy, including digital literacy/skills, with the support of dedicated staff
    • Closing gaps to access information — helping government, society and business understand local needs
    • Providing a network of delivery sites for government programs and services
    • Advancing digital inclusion
    • Serving as the heart of the research and academic community
    • Preserving and providing access to the world’s culture and heritage

    Benefits, as opposed to costs, must always be proven.

    All good stories need a plot. If you are aiming to build support, then you should develop a library master plan that uncovers the cost benefits. The key to the long life of a master plan is the budget parameters that are used as constants against which monies for the projects are measured. Cost benefit analysis is one accounting method for ensuring the funds are sustainable. It has become very popular in recent years.

    Cost benefit analysis

    Developing sustainable goals will require you to analyze the following:

    1. Initial costs
    2. Maintenance costs
    3. Direct costs
    4. Indirect costs
    5. Sustainable library development

    Initial costs

    The initial costs are associated with the planning and implementation period. Usually, our work is intense at this stage. We help analyze the user needs, scenarios for programming and conceptual designs to support the project. We work with the library community to determine the pro’s and con’s for each plan. This includes: potential revenue increases, displacement savings, growth avoidance, and equivalent service benefit.

    Maintenance costs

    The maintenance costs are associated with managing any piece of equipment, services, software, hardware or space. You must maintain the library for a continuous period of time. Our master plans include a view of twenty years. We provide a roadmap to follow and update. We will help your team determine the capacity benefits associated with the new ability to increase services.

    Direct costs

    Direct costs include new outlays for a project. This can be physical upgrades or technology that provides a service. For example, library buildings cost a lot of money to keep up to date. When we analyze the direct cost for a project, we try to understand the long term return on investment.

    Indirect costs

    Indirect costs include internal resources that are not considered part of the general overhead and that do not directly affect operating budget, but that are modified by the project. Often these indirect costs can make a long term impact on the sustainability of the library, museum or organization.

    Sustainable library development

    Sustainable library development provides intangible benefits that cannot be expressed in dollars and for that reason are the hardest to prove, but they also tend to be among the most important. They include training/education, staffing levels, public image, community leadership and the quality of the library building and electronic service. Our research has found that:

      Intangible benefits are difficult to quantify.
      They possess intrinsic value and are often the unknowns that distinguish a well-managed library from a poorly managed one.
      Revenue increases due to service upgrades, displacement savings, and growth avoidance are usually reflected in operating budgets.
      Capacity benefits and equivalent service benefits are indicators of the long term effectiveness of a management plan. They tend to the most political and the first to be discarded when making up the budget.

    A creative planning process is required

    We provide a process that uncovers the libraries priorities. As a result, we address the tangible and intangible benefits of the library. When we start our work, the first set of workshops include present value discussions and a risk analysis that focuses on the future. We look at existing conditions and future needs. We often adjust future costs/benefits to the present value for comparison. We assess the riskiness of a project as it is defined. We analyze the likely variability of future returns from the project.


  • Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues

    Library 2.0: The Human Touch

    Digital work is changing the workplace in more ways than one. Besides the obvious change from book browsing to digital work, providing new distance-related services are responsible for a noticeable increase in staff anxiety about their jobs. For many, the library 2.0 is tantamount to unemployment. When technological change is mentioned, the first things many see are phased-out jobs and replacement. Library management systems, and mobile service in particular, can be interconnected in new ways. Who will run them?

    Skills House

    Not all librarians are unhappy with the new technologies. Some look upon the world of slack and discord as job enhancers that give them more rather than less information. These people tend to be comfortable around social media and new forms of the collaborative workplace. The knowledge to manipulate and build online libraries, for example, provides them with an edge over their competition. They see their future advancement in a world that requires knowledge workers to collaborate and use information. For them, the job is very challenging. There is a pride in the library 2.0 they are supporting, while the demands of the new workplace are looked upon as interesting problems to solve.

    Library 2.0

    Surprisingly, the new jobs created by distance and technology are sometimes more demanding than the old ones. Software is notorious for being unfriendly. The integration of the ‘library as place’ and information services must be managed. The staff must adjust their way of thinking, especially when it comes to the performance of individual tasks. As the physical backroom functions are connected in the cloud and ‘library as place’ space needs change, many people find themselves questioning the library collections.

    Digital Asset Management

    Libraries are moving toward more service-oriented environments that are dominated by digital services. Reference is a prime example as virtual chat services, libguides and online database services keeps growing. In the physical areas, space use will also change drastically, patrons used to browse the shelves now place a hold and pick up. We are focusing on the potential for aesthetically pleasing, flexible / adaptable libraries – a skills house based on Bauhaus. More on that soon…

    Successful planning for the library 2.0 (skills house) depends on consideration of the staff, board and community. CONTACT US

    Building Library 2.0

    Unfortunately, in the process of distancing ourselves from each other, some people lose sight of the primary goals. The library service and layout become all-important. It must be remembered that digital library services is supposed to make the staff more productive and allow them to provide more services to the users. The major method that library systems use to achieve these goals is work simplification. Work simplification has always been part of the library managers responsibility. The staff benefits because tasks are reviewed and updated.

    To be successful, the best approach is to observe the present with a questioning mind. Use a human touch to develop Library 2.0 or what we call the Skills House Want to read more check out THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CHANGE

  • Social Library Issues,  Space Planning

    Libraries for Life: Knowledge for Success

    The most fertile questions we use to develop discovery platforms is to focus the mind on the possibilities. What is the most unusual way someone uses the library? The fact is, virtually all libraries need to become discovery platforms. They need to provide a space for unusual questions and places where we can find unexpected success.

    Digital Resources (land of discovery)

    We need to acknowledge that digital content will never go out of print. In the future, the digital library will be where intelligence lives. We develop roadmaps for our clients. We provide a methodology to help organizations think of libraries as discovery services for now and the future. Still, the library can be a place for study and discovery. It can be a place for business, humanities, science and knowledge building.

    Knowledge Management Strategies

    As a result of our continuing efforts to redefine the library, we trusting teams are force and a turning point for libraries. We have found that the right level of dreaming and planning can turn progress into reality. The library of the future needs to support digital tools, but how? It needs to be flexible and adaptable enough to accommodate users, but how? We provide opportunities for our clients to explore the possible and impossible.

    • Knowledge Mapping
    • Best Practice Transfer
    • Rewards
    • Collaborative Technologies
    • Competence Management
    • Cross-Project Learning

    Master of Flexibility

    Aaron Cohen went to the Mies van der Rohe school of thought. He developed his concept of library architecture based on van der Rohe’s models and methods. As he worked on one library building to another, Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD work as a whole was endowed with a unity of purpose and expression. Library Services, Buildings, Floating and Flexible Collections have been selected in accordance with the overall requirements of the community, and their components are revealed, either actually or symbolically through our research.

    Like van der Rohe, our work speaks with a single architectural programming language. We help build flexible and adaptable libraries – we help develop discovery systems.

    Building a Trusting Team

    After working on both physical and digital library designs, we understand that each library needs to have, as van der Rohe stated, “architectural integrity” and “structural honesty.” Interestingly, working with a trusting team is required in both the physical and digital worlds.

    There is a fundamental difference between how we plan today and the way we did 20 years ago. The power of discovery systems continues to grow at an exponential rate. It used to be hard to develop a trusting team and plan for the future. Now, we need leaders who can bridge the gap and unlock the secrets of knowledge.

    Information Food Chain

    All along the information food chain we see people developing libraries, but a great library knows how to tell their community which service is their best, and a successful manager can rally the team to incredible heights with a library master plan. Make no mistake, funding is still the top concern for most managers, and we’ve had our share of projects that were expected to be built, but were not completed. On the other hand, our experience tells us that planning flexible libraries works. It requires the following essential elements for success: staff, collections and services. Each of these measurements provide a view of the future and information from the past. LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR SERVICES

    Discovery Platforms for Online Learning

    One thing is certain, discovery services and collaboration activities will increasingly be at the core of a library’s strategy. As a result, future demand will be based on the appropriate program or level of service your library provides. Take, for example, the California Digital Library Web of Science Resource Notes provides the next generation in Multilanguage search – See new Digital Canvas It extends content to be shared across the expansive library system, introducing rapid access to a growing library knowledge base. No doubt, this content will be used in the classroom, and for student research.

    Architecture is a language. If you are good at that you can speak prose, if you are great you can be a poet.” If your approach is to dream like Miels van der Rohe, let’s get started.

    Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues

    Libraries provide “just in time” expertise / “just in case” resources

    Every community is unique, and for students a library provides ‘the feeling of knowledge, the smell and the furniture of success, the lighting and the ambiance to de-stress,’ that is what a graduate student told us during our last project. The library service fits into a bigger picture and that is why we need to plan for the future.

    Transform Work / Use the Library

    How are we going to transform work and education when we can’t collaborate in our libraries? According to “After the Pandemic, a Revolution in Education and Work Awaits,” Ravi Kumar states the accelerations in digitization and globalization are steadily making more work “modular,’’ broken up into small packets that are farmed out by companies. Companies, he argues, will increasingly become platforms that synthesize and orchestrate these modular packets to make products and services. If this is true, how will you determine what type of library service your company needs and how best these services can be delivered to the community?

    Collaborative Planning

    We believe that collaborative planning will uncover the user needs to determine the “just in time” collections/services and the “just in case” experiences. We developed digital asset management systems for large organizations and digital libraries for colleges, universities and public library systems. As a result, we learned you might try to avoid it by understanding your value. This will help you ensure that the process is well organized and informed.

    Planning for Your Community

    Librarianship is an academic discipline in its own right and based on modular research. Cataloging and technical services is a provision of the library backend that most people don’t know about. For years, librarians have organized collections primarily in and through our community libraries, special collections and archives. They are dedicated professionals that provide access to authoritative resources, in terms of books, digital collections, technology, staff and buildings. We know that librarianship is an applied field and the library is a laboratory itself.

    Your library is your Lab…

    Kumar goes on to state, “As more work becomes modular, digitized and disconnected from an office or factory, many more diverse groups of people — those living in rural areas, minorities, stay-at-home moms and dads and those with disabilities — will be able to compete for it from their homes.” For public libraries, the greatest issue is to understand if there are unmet needs. We live in a changing world with opportunities to learn. Think about developing a needs assessment to support your community – this can be, for example, for education, cultural or business related “just in case” experience(s) and “just in time” collection(s).

    Document Your Success and Win at Politics

    It is essential to recognize that the development of public libraries and allocation of resources can be a political process. The library’s management emphases may have an effect on collection size as funding changes and priorities evolve. Our primary focus is to help libraries determine the right sort of information to show why changes are needed to library services and/or buildings. CONTACT US or read one of our past posts

    Invest in a Needs Assessment

    In order to build a better future, you need to invest in today. Each library needs to assess the impact of the growing community who uses digital resources and technology. What is required to provide access? is it a service or building or both? For instance, many libraries have built their collections on a variety of formats (print, video, media, etc.) and others have first generation digital services that still don’t encourage “just in case” access. The new work environment will require new types of employment and skills training.

    Good Managers Undertake Challenges

    Planning is part of good management and occurs at a range of levels in all organizations, but what happens when we stop developing a management plan? What happens when we forget what we are getting from our partners? Collaborative planning should be used to develop a library program for all the users in your community. The team approach can be used to describe the planning process used for a new/expanded digital library or a new building program.

  • Library Planning Research

    Frog in the Well Can Not Understand What is an Ocean…

    As part of our continuing effort to unlock the secrets to success, we would like you to reflect on a poem by Chuang-Tzu. He stated, “A frog in a well cannot be talked with about the sea — he is confined to the limits of his hole.” As a workshop facilitator and library planning consultant, we need to understand how online sessions can be effective – why one session was more effective than others. We’ve been fortunate enough to work for many library organizations; on building projects, IT and collection related programs with gifted healthcare researchers, city/town managers, architects, IT, campus facilities managers, University librarians, administrators, educators and leaders of their communities. From these projects, we’ve learned some insights that might help you in the ocean of online learning. Hopefully, this will help you think outside of the box.

    We found that virtual conferencing (zoom, gotomeeting, etc.) is filled with challenges to communicate, and the relationships between the video screen and attention span of the user can be a problem. There are proxemic issues with the distance between the screen and our environment. We can’t feel the people in the room; their presence or the warmth of their company.

    We found, in almost all meetings of 8 or more workshop attendees, the social norm was to keep quiet or to speak only a minimum amount. People broke this rule and took over the conversation, and others let them fill the airtime.

    The fact is educational programming can help human beings adapt and work together in the online world. Most unhappy online users do not bother to provide feedback and they stop using the service and move on. To make your education workshops effective, try out the following Aaron Cohen Associates, ltd strategies:

    • Make the meetings work for you, structure the time to achieve your agenda
    • Narrow the strategies to the ones that will be investigated
    • Prep for the discussion by developing and using preselected questions
    • Do not rely on only one planning session to get everything done (this is a process)

    When you introduce our approach for planning make sure you understand your team will be nervous about the future. It could take time and enable heated discussions, but thoughtful souls will prevail.

    Planning a New Library

    Do you have questions about how to build effective online learning platforms? Consider the work by Edward T. Hall who believed that “virtually everything that man is and does is associated with the experience of space” or that “man’s evolution has been marked by the development of the “distance receptors — sight and hearing.” Edward T Hall analyzed the ways in which people interacted with each other without using words. He understood that culture affects peoples choices, creating patterns of behavior.

    “The patterning of perceptual worlds is a function not only of culture but of relationship, activity, and emotion. Therefore, people from different cultures, when interpreting each other’s behavior, often misinterpret the relationship, the activity, or the emotions. This leads to alienation in encounters or distorted communications.” – The Hidden Dimension

    Our planning process will make ideas a profitable reality by generating the next generation library program. The following is a check list of five self starters to help guide you.

      1. Master Planning Goals
      2. What did you learn from past projects?
      2. Barriers for Success
      3. Create a Library of Resources


    Frog in the Well Can Not Understand What is an Ocean…Chuang-Tzu is an ancient poem that gives you a perspective on the challenges associated with master planning online services.