Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues,  work in progress

In a Pandemic, Buildings Need to Breathe

As buildings adapt to remain safe during the pandemic, airflow is a key consideration. For example, hospitals are building negative pressure rooms to increase safety. Other spaces—libraries schools, and universities—might be able to learn from healthcare planning to enhance safety.

According to Vincent Ricevuto (@vricevuto), quoted in Design and Construction Magazine May/June 2020, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has been considering guidelines for creating negative pressurization in temporary healthcare structures and updating cleaning protocols. Their specifications of mechanical ventilation system, location, layout, interior finishing, and AIIR facilities are located on their web site. We think this information is critical to design concepts. For example, exhaust air (EA) and supply air (SA) locations need to be studied to reduce risks. The location of functional library services—such as a study area or circulation desk—requires new guidance.

The risk of virus dispersal at a library, school or university is influenced by changes in movement and direction of airflow. This change in airflow requires a library building program to match these requirements. We need to make sure that the library or learning center takes advantage of its space and efficiently uses its building.

Open-Air Access: Let Buildings Breathe

We have been programming library space for decades. At Central Oklahoma University, Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD introduced the outdoor Internet Cybergarden in the early 2000s. Although the project focused on the indoor space, we considered the Oklahoma weather (using proper wind and shade) to develop an inexpensive outdoor expansion.

More recently, we programmed the new Boynton Beach Public Library to be “breathable.” We located Children’s services on the ground floor, next to the park. It included space in the park next to city hall that children could use. We recommended creating an open-air zone to pick up a book or meet a friend.

These two examples illustrate the need for creative programming. Naturally ventilated buildings can go beyond opening windows. We need to re-engineer our buildings to achieve ventilation strategies that reduce the risk from infectious aerosols. We need to reprogram our libraries to maximize safety in this time. CONTACT US TO START A LIBRARY PROGRAMMING STUDY

Recommendation: Think about the Behavioral Bubble when you start planning for the future. It is a strategy we have used over and over to break down the service planning challenges.


Strategies to Start Thinking About a Safe Future