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.