Library Planning Research

Creative Problem Solving for the Library

Library Consultants help with creative problem solving. The library master plan should be considered during annual planning. It is important to consider the use of library spaces, and the user perceptions or desirability of the library collections. In the context of library architecture, we help leadership create a diverse, flexible, and user-controlled spaces to facilitate the creative thought process. The theory of constraints process can be applied to a library setting.

Creative Approach

Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD works with libraries and organizations by engaging in creative problem solving. We help libraries identify and address the factors that may be constraining its growth and ability to achieve its goals. Successful library planning requires a focused, systematic approach to identifying and removing library operations that constrain growth.

Library Problem Solving

As part of ARL’s Research Library Impact Framework initiative, they defined three areas of focus to improve the libraries impact.

1. Students’ use of library spaces contributing to knowledge and practical applications for renovations. When we observe how students utilize library spaces, our team of librarians and designers gain valuable insights into what works well and what can be improved. We look at students’ behaviors, preferences, and needs can inform the decision-making process when renovating or redesigning library spaces. We re-align with the actual usage patterns and requirements of the library’s users.

2. Student perceptions of space desirability and gaps in facilitating creativity. We have been studying how to measure student perceptions of space desirability for years. Our experiences assessing how students perceive different aspects of library spaces, such as comfort, aesthetics, functionality, and ambiance enables our clients to build a better library. Certainly, libraries can identify any gaps or shortcomings in the current design that may hinder or limit creativity. Our library consultant reports guide the renovation process. We help to address the gaps in services and create spaces that better facilitate creative thinking and problem-solving.

3. Creative thought process and the need for diverse, flexible, and student-controlled spaces. The creative thought process often thrives in environments that offer a variety of spaces catering to different learning styles and activities. We know that a library can foster creativity by providing diverse spaces, such as collaborative seating, quiet study carrels, or innovative studio rooms. During our workshops we will focus on library designs: flexibility, adaptability and customization based on the users changing needs. If you want more control over the space, such as rearranging furniture or personalizing their study areas, we can provide a series of scenarios, programs and plans.

Thinking about how to integrate AI into the library service plan? Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD can enhance the library, further promoting creative thinking and exploration.

Theory of Constraints

Library Consultants help with creative problem solving. By considering these statements and incorporating them into library space planning and renovation projects, libraries can create environments that better meet the needs of students, encourage creativity, and enhance the overall learning experience.

The theory of constraints process has five steps.

1. Articulate the library’s growth goals. Clearly define the desired outcomes and objectives for the library. Assess whether the library has the necessary resources, facilities, technology, and staff to accomplish these goals.

2. Define the critical assumptions underpinning the library collections, building and technology. Conduct a comprehensive needs assessment to understand the requirements and expectations of the library’s users, enabling the provision of optimal services.

3. Identify the library service constraints – the barriers to achieving the library’s growth and goals. Identify the barriers and limitations that prevent the library from achieving its growth goals. These constraints could include physical limitations (e.g., insufficient space), staffing issues, or inadequate programs and services.

4. Develop a way to remediate the most significant constraint. Analyze how other libraries have addressed similar challenges, such as improving processing efficiency, reference services, or information literacy initiatives. Consider benchmarking reports and draw from the experiences of other libraries’ users to gain insights and ideas.

5. Once the first constraint is tackled and no longer a barrier select the next one and remediate. Once the most significant constraint has been remediated, move on to the next one. It’s essential to prioritize and tackle constraints systematically. For example, focus on enhancing the experience for repeat library users (power users) while also understanding the reasons behind lower usage levels. Evaluate aspects such as library spaces, collections, events, and librarian services that may influence user engagement.

Archive Planning

Develop a library or archive plan, identify and overcome the constraints that impede its growth. Aaron Cohen knows that library archive and collections planning will improve the organizations ability to meet the needs of its users and achieve its goals.