Library Planning Research,  Space Planning

Designing Space Planning for Libraries

Library Planning

Where did the library planning story start? My family has a background in architecture, education and library science, and, in 2002 Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD added Alexander Cohen, MLIS. His library education in library science and background in marketing communications, software development, programming, planning and design enabled the firm to extend its expertise. Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD experiences are built on the previous space planning projects. His fathers lessons regarding the behavior of library space were a starting point for today’s library programs and library space planning designs. The interconnection of multiple disciplines helped us program and plan some of the most important libraries in the world.

Library Consultant History

In 1979, Aaron and Elaine Cohen wrote a book on Designing and Space Planning for Libraries (Bowker). The book brought together their experiences developing library spaces and new buildings. A key feature of the book related to the behavioral aspects of library space, and lessons learned from a Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander. Other chapters included color and signage, acoustics and moving libraries. They also worked on library projects ranging from the Chicago Public Library, University of Illinois, Boston Public Library, US White House (President Jimmy Carter), FDA Campus and many small to medium public libraries (Bedford, St. Louis, Newport, Reno, etc.). These library space planning projects gave us the experiences required for planning and arranging library space today. Certainly, the skills to program and plan the seating environments, displays, shelving, equipment and furnishing requirements for a modern library and research building.

Library Programming

One of the first international projects was the NLB National Library of Singapore. It soon became clear to Aaron Cohen AIA that library space planning are implicit in the behavioral design of user space, visual communication and service design. In Singapore, the users needed more learning space, welcoming environments, and meeting spaces. Indeed, a more in-depth investigation of the library program and the development of our own program model allowed us to help plan modern library organizations. It allowed us to support their space planning needs as well as library service design.

Library Facility Space

Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD consciously starting dedicating more and more time to academic and research library collections. We explored how to integrate furniture and seating areas into collections space models. In 2008, our firm worked on Stanford University’s library master plan. Here, we proposed Harvard style preservation storage as well as a new Asian and Engineering libraries. The notion of a systematic approach to problem solving and an operational framework to deal with change and transformation, the two main defining qualities of our understanding of library consulting services were developed.

Library Program Framework

From 2010 – 2020, we started expanding internationally researching the next generation library spaces in Dubai, Qatar, Jeddah, UK, Germany, Ireland and Greece. We worked a lot with Foundations inspired people who wanted to bring education and research capabilities home. We also investigated the great libraries of the world including the Bibliotheca Alexandria, National Library of the Netherlands and British Library. The research helped us develop a collaboration framework that provides a roadmap for the seating, collections and staff requirements for a modern library.

Space Planning Models

In terms of using library programming to produce a new library, we keep morphing our understanding of the library and its future. We modulate our approach to include design thinking and cloud library services. These projects increased our knowledge of library information systems, library service options and operational requirements. The projects triggered a series of methods to support increasing the library services and modifying the staff requirements.

Library Service Design

What’s the relevance of designing such library environments in times of fast paced change? When we use the definition of “future library” – what kind of change are we really taking about? Isn’t the library we design inevitably changing all the time. Our library space planning and program models will do the reverse. It will help plan for the next generation learning community and space.

Example of Agati Furniture