library user study
Library Planning Research,  Space Planning,  work in progress

Designing Libraries with Limited Funds

Sharing our library programming experience and conducting workshops can benefit library organizations in updating their service plans and fostering innovation. Designing libraries with limited funds is a crucial aspect that many institutions struggle with, and providing a step-by-step plan during your workshop can offer valuable guidance.

Library Planning Workshop

Over the years, we have developed library programming and planning workshop to share our methods, case studies and examples of best practices. On September 15, 2023 we will be facilitating a unique event at Steelcase WorkLife in NYC (FULL DAY LIBRARY PLANNING WORKSHOP) JOIN US….

One of the most important architectural strategies on your way to innovation is to design library space with limited funds. There are several considerations to keep in mind when you are defining the scope and scale of the project. Our workshop on Friday, September 15, 2023 will include a step-by-step plan for redesigning an existing library with limited funds and/or designing a new sustainable library.

Visual Scan and Feedback

Conduct a visual scan of the library space and gather feedback from staff and users. Observe the physical space and take note of the entrance and movement patterns within the building. Identify touch points, such as the reference help desk, and areas that can be utilized as community meeting spaces.

Prioritize Key Areas

Considering the constraints of physical space and funding, prioritize key areas for improvement. Focus on enhancing the entrance and touch points, as well as the reference help desk. Additionally, allocate space for community of practice meetings, fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Organize Research for Funding

To overcome limited resources, dedicate time to organizing research for funding opportunities. Explore fundraising options, such as grant applications or seeking donations from individuals or organizations interested in supporting the library’s mission.

Evaluate Collections and Space

Assess the library’s collections and physical space to identify areas where optimization is possible. Consider transitioning from print to digital media to reduce the need for extensive collection space. Emphasize the advantages of digitization, such as data compression, error correction, and the perpetual availability of digital books.

Embrace Data-Driven Approaches

Leverage data to improve decision-making and maximize resources. Implement modern applications that make full use of available data. Focus on scalability, consistency, reliability, efficiency, and maintainability to design reliable and maintainable systems.

Address Funding and Staffing

Recognize that funding and staffing play crucial roles in the success of libraries and academic institutions. Develop strategies for obtaining additional funding through grant applications or private donations. Invest in the professional development and training of staff and academic faculty to enhance their capabilities and leverage their expertise.

Designing Libraries with Limited Funds

To make the most of limited funds, consider the following design determinants:

Clean and Paint the walls. You may use lighter colors to improve lighting levels and create a brighter atmosphere.

Enhance the entrance to improve service point, visibility and interactivity. Here you need to create a welcoming environment.

Remove walls where possible to improve the quality of space and increase flexibility in rearranging areas and/or remove the clutter.

Prioritize heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) to improve air quality and create a comfortable environment for users. Make sure you think about the air quality and technology to support the user experience.

Optimize major user pathways and stack lighting, create a natural user experience. Create a pleasant and functional space.

Design different types of seating seating arrangements, comfortable and welcoming for both individual and groups. Program the library to cater to various user needs.

Introduce spaces for informal and formal interactions, such as communities of practice, and consider incorporating a café area to provide a social and relaxed atmosphere.

Rethinking Architects

When you assemble a design team, think about the quality and skill of the architectural team. Our library consultants work with international and local architects. We work as value engineering consultants to make sure the plan is affordable, innovative and doable. Start researching architects and develop an understanding of the possibilities. The web site thinking the future is a good place to start researching architects. If you need help, contact Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD – Library Consultants.

library programming

Limited Resources

Taking into account the limited resources available, libraries, museums, academic institutions, and schools can create reliable, scalable, and maintainable systems. We can help you enhance the user experience and promote learning and knowledge sharing. Contact Aaron Cohen Associates, ltd.

Check out the Library Incubator for more info on how to fund your library improvements with limited funds.

Library Planning Workshop

If you would like to join us at Steelcase on September 15, 2023, sign up and reserve your space.