Library Planning Research,  Space Planning,  work in progress

Build a Co-Design Library Strategy

When we started programming and planning libraries, there was a lot of excitement about library buildings.  Then you realize that this process is more than just a library building project.  Your library design strategy creates new opportunities for the collection, user seating and technology.  You’re developing service and operational plans in these libraries that you want to last.  The library design strategy is more than a building project.  It is a set of plans that will result in a series of library operations strategies.

Co-Design Strategy

When we were trying to develop a library design strategy for a new library community in New York, why did we make certain choices?  How did those choices help us develop our library design strategy? See Special Library Collections Return on Investment Discussion.

At Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD we create co-design strategies where library communities can engage in the design process.  The students and young people can engage in our workshops.  The adults can offer their input, and function as part of the design team.  The library design process has many team members and each gives us a perspective that adds knowledge to the process.


Sherry R. Arnstein, former Executive Director of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, “A Ladder of Citizen Participation,” Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol. 35, No. 4, July 1969, pp. 216-224.

Engagement Ladder


Our library design strategies will help the library update its operations and organization strategies.  We help libraries get as high up the ladder as we can.  Especially, library organizations that haven’t changed in years.   We have to respect their members and, rather than try to build out poor strategies, we develop a library plan that can scale over time.  We engage the user community and build strategies through co-design workshops.

What would it be like if we invited our community leaders to a workshop?  What would your library be like if we embraced the unique history of the library building and the collections?  Our workshops recognize individual career contributions. We develop strategies to honor the libraries history, collections and knowledge?

Library Design

On the bottom of the Arnstein ladder, there’s non participation and fake participation.  Of course, library design strategies help organizations move toward citizen power.  We have found that citizen power requires constant updates and reminders.  People are busy.  Our library design strategy workshops help us uncover the possibilities through direct input.  Our community engagement meetings include library program models that will help them redefine their needs and the library environment in the long term. With 50 years of library planning research, we can engage your community and build a better future.