• Library Planning Research

    Academic Libraries Need Study Rooms

    The University Center Library at Point Park University is a diamond in the rough. The first phase of the library project provided an opportunity to give the library more group study rooms. The design team excavated a basement level and provided the library with a total of 14 group study rooms. The result – the University has 10 additional group study rooms of all sizes and the students couldn’t be more appreciative.

    The original building was designed as an indoor mall, developed at the end of the 19th century and sold to the University in the latter half of the 20th century. The library had a large common area with computers with professional librarian(s) support. It included books and materials, but not a lot of space for group collaboration.

    Today, the marble walls and high ceilings are both an advantage and a disadvantage. The large lobby provides and open space that is beautiful, but it does not provide space for group study rooms. We analyzed the space and devised a plan to open up more space below the grand entrance to provide Point Park University with more group/collaborative space(s).

    At the same time, we had an opportunity to update the building mechanical system, which was designed to be both modern and efficient.

    Point Park University is a performing arts college in Pittsburgh PA.


  • Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues,  Space Planning,  work in progress

    Unique Library Design & Planning Workshop

    Library Workshop

    Aaron Cohen Associates is a unique library design and planning team with a rich history spanning nearly five decades. Unlike traditional architectural firms that primarily emphasize the physical form of buildings, our focus lies in the seamless integration of form and function within library spaces. Our workshops enable us to share our library of specialized programs and cutting-edge designs. It is a unique event that has evolved over the years. We would like pioneers in the field of library design and service development to join us. Register Here for September 15, 2023 we will be facilitating a workshop at Steelcase NYC Columbus Circle.

    Library as Place

    The workshop will be rooted in practical experience, allowing us to conduct in-depth discussions of library functions and information technology service requirements. In the afternoon, we connect with OrangeBox – Steelcase education interiors.

    steelcase product

    September 15, 2023

    Most importantly, our library design and planning workshop is distinguished by the enduring impact of programming. For example, our library planning standards and service strategies. During this workshop we will focus on enhancing the quality of library services for years to come. Today, our library programming prowess extends to a wide range of projects, including public libraries, community centers, special collections, and archives. Join us on September 15, 2023 for the Library as Place Workshop in NYC.

    Innovative approaches

    This workshop will include innovative approaches to library service strategy development. Basically, it involves mapping the integration of flexible and digital public library spaces, as exemplified during our recent library planning projects like Penn State, Cornell, Union Vale, NY, and Attleboro, MA, Belle Isle, OK, Jacksonville Public Library, Boynton Beach, and Ft Lauderdale Main Library in Florida.

    In our commitment to creating sustainable and appealing library environments, we collaborate closely with the library community. During this workshop we will help guide participants towards selecting library furniture and equipment that elevate the learning experience, fostering an environment that is both inviting and conducive to knowledge sharing.

    community of practice library design

    At Aaron Cohen Associates, our goal is to ensure that every library we work on becomes a source of pride for its community, embodying the perfect blend of form, function, and enduring quality. Join us on September 15, 2023 for the Library as Place Workshop in NYC.

  • library space public program
    Library Planning Research,  Space Planning,  work in progress

    Power of Public Space in Library Design

    The process of integrating public space into libraries can be a challenge, but with careful consideration and a well-executed planning process, it can lead to successful and meaningful experiences for the community. Public space in a library design starts with clear vision and goals. You need to define a clear vision for the library and its role within the community. We help libraries determine the collection development, display goals and outcomes. Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD can support the integration of public space in library design.

    What strategies are right for your organization? Regardless, if you are an academic or public library it is time to plan your public space. For example, do you have a clear criteria for placing public art, digital displays and service points? How does the entrance align with the library vision, mission and identity? What are your aspirations?

    Create a sense of place

    It is important to engage with the community, but how? From the outset of the planning process, we conduct surveys, host public meetings, and involve community members in discussions about what kind of public space they would like to see in the library. Basically, our library planning workshops facilitate collaboration between organizational leadership, architects, designers, and librarians.

    Join us on September 15, 2023 at Steelcase in NYC for a full day of design and programming.

    Library as Place

    Most importantly, public space in libraries is critical to its development For example, our work at the SNFCC enabled the City of Athens to create a sense of place. By reflecting the Greek community’s history, culture, or values, our work helped the library feel more welcoming and inviting.

    Basically, we integrate public space into the library’s design. From the early stages, we consider allocating program elements or spaces designed for flexible installations. Certainly, we ensure a cohesive relationship between the library functionality and the environment.

    public library space planning

    The Library for the Birds

    There are many artists that think about library and design. Take a look at the “The Library for the Birds” by Mark Dion. This is a large-scale installation that features a collection of objects that is placed in a library. Its inspirations is from the natural world, including trees, plants, and animals.

    Generally, think about how libraries can use architectural design and programming to enhance the library experience. For example, John Szabo at the Los Angeles Public Library has a dedicated art budget of $1 million per year. The budget is used to plan new artwork installations, events, and maintain the library’s management of spaces. Los Angeles Public Library provides amazing programs that can be distributed to all of its branches. It will be interesting to see the developments of this library system.

    Promote Engagement

    Public space can be used to promote civic engagement by encouraging people to think about the world around them. Flexible space in a library can bring ideas to the foreground. This can be done through art that addresses social issues, political issues, or environmental issues.

    Strategic information mapping enables our team to program and plan the library environment. However, you need to allocate a sufficient budget for the library space plan. Our library consultant works with the library to ensure there is a long-term plan. Our work supports collection development and conservation of unique resources. We take into account the cultural and historical context of the library building.

    Inspire creativity

    Public space resonates with your imagination. Libraries have a history that creates a deeper cultural and historical context. When you incorporate educational and interpretive elements into the library space, you can enhance the patrons understanding and appreciation of the library and its significance.

    Library Consultant

    Libraries need systems for adaptive space planning. If you are looking to incorporate public space into your buildings and interiors, a library space planning and design team can help. We can analyze the art budget, and skills required for art management. Basically, a master library planning effort will help build a commitment for change.

    Certainly, the design of the library and public spaces takes time to plan. You need to add flexibility to accommodate changes and new additions over time. The library is a dynamic place that always needs to be able to evolve. What are your community’s needs and aspirations?

    Transforming Libraries

    Public space planning can transform libraries into places. All libraries are places where people can learn, connect, and create. By developing a library program, you can start creating a sense of place. You can increase user engagement, and inspire creativity. Start with a public art project and help to make your library more welcoming, inviting, and engaging for people of all ages.

    Library Programming

    Library programming is a valuable asset for the library. Strategically, it helps make libraries more attractive, inviting, and engaging places. Library programming helps to promote civic engagement and inspire new ideas. Aaron Cohen Associates, ltd can help with the design, planning and effort. We can help you create a library that is both beautiful and functional.

    These are places for community engagement, collaboration and civic participation. Public space can play a significant role in service planning and design. Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD helps libraries create spaces that are welcoming, inviting, and engaging. There are many ways that public space be used to enhance library services. Throughout the planning process, we provide the design team with valuable insights and expertise to create a well-rounded library program.

  • AI library space concept
    Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues,  work in progress

    Imaging a New Library

    Libraries Evolving

    Libraries have been evolving to meet the changing needs of their communities, embracing new technologies and expanding their role beyond traditional book lending. Many libraries offer digital resources, computer access, and even community programs related to health and well-being. We believe that integrating AI-based learning tools, such as the AI voice assistant used in the Translational Psychiatry at the University of Illinois Chicago pilot study, could be a natural extension of these evolving library spaces.

    AI interaction space

    Imagining a new type of library space to support AI is a challenge. The library building often serve as community hubs that offer a range of resources and support services. As the interface to access information changes, we need to imagine how the library will be used in the future. For example, incorporating AI-based mental health interventions at libraries provides the community with an additional avenue for seeking support.

    Libraries Programmer

    It’s important to include library consultant programmers that know how to implement AI-based space interventions at libraries. New space planning and design projects requires careful consideration and planning. Libraries need to ensure that the necessary space planning reports outline the private spaces or dedicated technology areas. Library programming helps iron out the details regarding space planning strategies. Designing a space to facilitate confidential and comfortable interactions with AI systems needs to be carefully planned. Library facilities need to be set up to provide appropriate training to assist library staff and patrons in accessing and utilizing AI tools effectively.


    Certainly, collaboration with library science and architectural professionals is strategy to develop and refine AI space. We need to make sure the library adhere to ethical guidelines, respects privacy, and provides effective solutions. Library touch points can serve to connect individuals with AI-based resources while maintaining a supportive and compassionate environment.

    library programming

    Social Media

    Social media can have a significant impact on how we perceive and interpret library collections. It has become a primary source of information for many people, and its influence can shape our understanding and perspectives. However, social media platforms often prioritize content that aligns with our existing beliefs and preferences, creating echo chambers that reinforce our worldview and limit exposure to diverse viewpoints.

    Selective Exposure

    Selective exposure can reduce our ability to objectively consider facts and engage in critical thinking. Instead of seeking out information that challenges our preconceived notions, we tend to gravitate towards sources that confirm our existing beliefs. When it comes to planning library facilities we need to cast a wide net. We need to reach out to the community through social media. We need to survey the community to build support for the library. The planning process can also manifest in various aspects of fundraising and leadership support for the building.

    Carol Kuhlthau

    In the context of the library science, Carol Kuhlthau’s work on the “zones of interventions for librarians” may be relevant. Kuhlthau’s research, conducted at Rutgers University, focuses on understanding the thoughts, feelings, and actions that students experience during the research process. Library planning needs to recognize the emotional and cognitive states of users at different stages of research. Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD can effectively support the library planning process and guide the management team.

    Zone of Intervention

    Providing spaces to serve at the “zone of intervention” requires recognizing the specific stage of the research process a student is in and tailoring assistance accordingly. For example, if a student is in the initial exploratory phase, library facilities can provide space to support AI search strategies. Libraries can create positive behavior that fosters an effective research experience. By empathizing with the users and understanding the challenges they face, Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD supports the library design process.

    Zone of Intervention

    It is important to provide library space for students as they progress through the various phases of the research process. These spaces can be collaborative, alone or alone-together zones. Defining the library spaces enables educational leadership to provide appropriate research support, and address users’ needs more effectively. Our library programming work acknowledge the user behavior and the students experiences.

    A Better Way

    Developing a more inclusive and supportive space plan for a library is a complex task that requires professional expertise. Library consultants can play a vital role in this process by providing a methodology to guide the creation of such an environment.

    To build a library space that fosters critical thinking, information literacy, and deeper engagement with collections, our library consultants employ a comprehensive approach that takes into account various factors. This includes needs assessment, space planning and programming, accessibility, universal design, collaboration, technology integration and visualization. Basically, Aaron Cohen Associates, ltd provide creative problem solving during the planning process.

  • library important to community
    Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues,  Space Planning

    Why are Libraries Important to the Community?

    Libraries have become more popular than ever, serving as essential community hubs where people can gather, work, learn, and engage with a variety of resources. Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD recognize the evolving role of libraries, and how spaces enable the community to build productive relationships.

    Library Facilities Plan

    A successful library facilities plan requires a user-centric approach, flexible and multi-purpose spaces, a focus on collaboration and social interaction, special consideration for students and families, integration of technology, community engagement, and a commitment to adult accessibility and inclusivity. Please join on on September 15, 2023 at Steelcase NYC and help your library continue to serve as vibrant and indispensable spaces within your communities. Take a look at our article on the Built Pedagogy Concept – programming and design of a library can have a direct and tangible impact on the learning that takes place within it.

    library important to community

    Library Programming

    Library programming plays a significant role in engaging the community and informing the design process. For more research on library planning take a look at SCUP (society for colleges and university planners). It is an association for facilities planners and researchers). Basically, the Society for Colleges and University Planners includes architects, planners and designers. They are professionals who help design library buildings and spaces. Over the years, we provided workshops to support the principles of library design and development.

    Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD approach ensures that library spaces and programs align with the needs and aspirations of the community they serve. It is important to understand users and their needs when establishing a library facilities plan.

    Digital Facilities

    In today’s digital age, library space planning takes into account the complexity of user relationships. Libraries have evolved beyond just book repositories. They serve as dynamic community centers that provide a range of spaces to meet various needs. Libraries can offer solutions for organizations beyond traditional education and museums, catering to independent learners and fostering community building.

    Architectural Planning

    Drawing upon architectural space planning and programming guidelines, along with leveraging modern technologies, Aaron Cohen Associates LTD help create exceptional and inspiring library buildings. Contact our library consultant to start combine thoughtful design with inclusive programming.

    Creating a new form of public building that combines the graceful architectural heritage of libraries with today’s available technologies is an exciting task for any community leader. Here are a few programmable elements that will help you establish flexible and adaptive spaces that inspire joy and serve as valuable resources for our communities.


    The architectural design should embody the elegance and timeless appeal of traditional libraries while incorporating modern features. A balance can be struck between grandeur and accessibility, creating a welcoming environment for people of all ages. Incorporating natural light, open spaces, and flexible layouts will foster a sense of comfort and exploration.

    Technology Integration

    To embrace the available technologies, the library can provide various digital resources alongside traditional books. This can include interactive displays, e-books, multimedia materials, and access to online databases. Emphasizing connectivity, the building should be equipped with robust Wi-Fi, charging stations, and computer terminals, ensuring that visitors can easily access digital information.

    Collaborative Spaces

    The library can prioritize spaces that encourage collaboration, fostering engagement and interaction among visitors. Designated areas for group discussions, workshops, and presentations can be incorporated, along with adaptable furniture to accommodate different activities. These spaces can be equipped with audiovisual equipment, enabling multimedia presentations and virtual conferences.

    Children’s Area

    Recognizing the importance of early education, a dedicated multi-visual children’s area can be created within the library. This space can be designed to be colorful, interactive, and imaginative, inspiring a love for learning in young minds. It can include age-appropriate books, educational toys, storytelling corners, and multimedia resources tailored to children’s interests and needs.

    Community Engagement

    The library always needs to engage with the local community, offering library programming workshops and events that cater to diverse interests builds funding opportunities. This can include library consultant seminars, lectures, architectural designs and cultural workshops. Our library programming encourages collaborations with local schools, universities, and organizations. Certainly, we can help enhance the library’s offerings and foster a sense of community ownership.

    Inclusive Accessibility

    Accessibility is a consideration in the design and operations of the library. This involves providing ramps, elevators, and other facilities to ensure that people with disabilities can navigate the space comfortably. The traditional Carnegie libraries are not easy to access. We help provide assistive technologies, such as lifts, and elevators, to make resources accessible to individuals with ADA issues.


    Designing the library with sustainable features may minimize its environmental impact. Incorporating energy-efficient lighting, solar panels, rainwater harvesting systems, and green spaces may contribute to a greener and more eco-friendly building. Our library workshops and programs focus on sustainability where possible to align the library with the values of the community.

    Contact Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD. We have a rich architectural heritage of libraries integrating them with modern technologies and community resources. We provide communication plans to community engagement, enabling the library to come together and build a future. Here, the library can become a vibrant hub of knowledge, inspiration, and connection. It can be a place where people of all ages can gather, explore, learn, and collaborate, ultimately guiding them toward a better life.

  • library planning
    Library Planning Research

    Design Intelligent Libraries

    Designing intelligent libraries with spaces that support AI research and integrating AI-powered virtual technology creates an environment that fosters innovation. It supports collaboration, and enhanced knowledge access for library users. Integrating AI-powered virtual technology into library spaces is a forward-thinking approach. We need to strategize how to enhance knowledge access and research experiences for library patrons.

    Designing intelligent libraries

    Updating library facilities to support AI research and personalized knowledge access is a necessary step to harness the potential of these technologies. For example, setting up small seating space or meeting rooms is a quick solution. The space can integrate virtual technology and AI capabilities to enhance the knowledge access experience for patrons. It is important to follow a methodology for designing intelligent systems into libraries. Contact Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD to start integrating AI into your library design.

    Virtual Seating/Meeting Rooms

    Libraries can create dedicated spaces equipped with virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) technology. Patrons can enter these rooms and put on VR/AR headsets or use interactive displays to immerse themselves in a virtual environment.

    design intelligent libraries

    Data Story Telling

    If you are starting a project to update your library, you will need to use data to tell your story. The IMLS provided a grant to help libraries improve their digital story telling. Here you can start telling the library’s story. Understanding library data and telling stories about it will help you gain support for new types of library spaces and environments.

    AI-Powered Retrieval

    Within the virtual seating/meeting rooms, patrons can interact with AI systems using natural language processing. They can ask questions related to their chosen subject, and the AI will scan the literature and resources available in the library’s database.

    Literature Space

    The AI system can analyze the available literature and identify relevant articles, papers, or resources that address the patron’s query. It can utilize advanced text mining and information retrieval techniques to retrieve the most pertinent and reliable sources.

    Answer Garden

    Once the AI system has identified the relevant literature, it can extract key information, summarize the findings, and generate a clear and understandable answer to the patron’s question. The answer can be delivered in various formats, such as text, audio, or visual representations, based on the patron’s preference.

    Focus on User

    The AI space hub can adjust to the patron’s preferences, ergonomics, and comfort levels. The space should adapt to individual learning styles, language proficiency, and accessibility requirements, ensuring that the information is delivered in a way that is most suitable for each user.

    Virtual Seats

    The virtual seating/meeting rooms can offer additional features to enhance the experience. For example, patrons can annotate and highlight sections of the literature, save references for later use, or engage in collaborative discussions with other patrons or experts in the virtual environment.

    AI-based technologies

    Tech has the potential to revolutionize how we access information and interact with libraries. Expert systems, one example of AI applications, are capable of synthesizing and analyzing library resources to provide valuable insights and support. Certainly, they can assist with early reading support by providing interactive and personalized learning experiences for children. AI can enhance storytelling by creating immersive and interactive narratives.

    design intelligent systems

    Libraries with AI capabilities can help patrons generate visual and musical content. By leveraging AI, libraries can offer strategies to create original images, artwork, and music. These generative forms offer new creative possibilities and can be used in various artistic and entertainment contexts. As AI continues to advance, it holds great potential to transform the library experience and offer innovative ways to engage with information and media.

    Collaboration Spaces

    Designing physical spaces that encourage collaboration and interdisciplinary work can foster AI research in libraries. Create areas where researchers, students, and experts can gather to discuss ideas, share knowledge, and work on AI projects collectively.

    Access to AI Tools

    Libraries can provide access to AI tools and software platforms that researchers can use for their projects. This can include programming languages commonly used in AI (such as Python), machine learning frameworks (like TensorFlow or PyTorch), and AI development environments.

    Training and Support

    Libraries can offer workshops, training sessions, and tutorials on AI concepts, algorithms, and tools to help users develop their skills in AI research. Librarians and staff can provide guidance and support in navigating AI resources and datasets.

    Personalized Research Support

    Libraries can develop personalized research support services tailored to AI researchers’ needs. This can involve offering consultations, one-on-one assistance, or dedicated research assistance programs to help users effectively use AI tools and datasets in their projects.

    Integration with Virtual Spaces

    Libraries should integrate their physical spaces with virtual platforms and resources. This can involve developing online portals, virtual research environments, or AI-powered search interfaces that allow users to access and interact with library resources in a seamless manner.

    Partnerships and Collaboration

    Libraries can form partnerships with AI research centers, academic institutions, and industry organizations to leverage expertise, share resources, and promote collaboration in AI research.

    Library Workshop

    Want to learn more about Modern libraries and furnishings: September 15, 2023 Library Planning Workshop at Steelcase NYC 4 columbus circle. Register for our program here.

    Considering strategies to create an environment that supports personalized AI research and encourages the exploration and application of AI technologies in the pursuit of knowledge. Contact Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD to improve the library access to knowledge.

  • library design and planning workshop
    Library Planning Research,  library technology

    Library Planning

    Understanding the needs of the library user is crucial to activating a space and developing a digital library. During library activity planning, we work with the community to improve the overall functioning of a library. Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD analyzes the user space design, which helps our clients identify the furnishings involved in delivering the library services effectively.

    Identify Services

    We work with our clients to identify library services and plan for the future. Our library planning may include technology or physical space requirements specifications. Certainly, our library planning workshops make an impact on the design process. It includes identifying the different services offered.

    Analyze Libraries

    Analyzing library workflows and exploring the interactions between users, staff, and external parties is a valuable step. We work with our clients to understand and improve the process flow within a modern library. On September 15, 2023, join us to gain insights into the current library operations and identify areas where enhancements can be made.

    Library Workshop

    Join us on September 15, 2023 Full Day Steelcase Workshop in New York City. Workshop Participants will have the opportunity to collaborate and tap into our expertise. Together we will analyze what contributing factors creates a modern library space, services and technology. Certainly, the knowledge gained from the Steelcase workshop can be applied to identify areas for improvement and drive innovation within library operations.

    library planning workshop

    Overall, the workshop promises to be a valuable platform for professionals in interior design, library services, and technology to come together, exchange ideas, and work towards creating a more efficient and user-friendly modern library.

    Basically, our workshop activities help build partnerships for funding opportunities. For example, our library planning workshops address flexible space, book borrowing space, reference and circulation points. We help our clients new types of collection search hubs and library meeting spaces of all kinds. Our characterization workshops enable the community to Ven diagram out their vision of the library.

    designing libraries

    In addition to analyzing workflows, we will be exploring furniture options and considering the physical space within the library is crucial for creating an environment that supports the needs of library users. Incorporating technology into the design is a strength of Steelcase design. For example, how can we leverage this learning to enhance the overall library experience and streamline various processes?

    library planning

    Design Thinking

    Providing a clear description for each use case, explaining its purpose, benefits, and objectives is a key step to improvements. We help our clients describe their needs, which helps us outline the service’s value proposition and its contribution to the overall library experience.

    Considering the perspectives of power users and non-users, such as library patrons, staff members, and partners, when analyzing the library facility will result in a productive plan. We help our clients understand the specific user needs, expectations, and pain points for the library.

    When we engage with library administrators, librarians, IT developers, and other stakeholders to gather feedback we improve the outcomes of the project. The development of a facilities workflow with use case descriptions helps us define the priorities as well as the functionality of the physical library. We iteratively refine the interior design models based on the insights gained from each user group.

    Library Technology

    Conducting user analysis and understanding the workflow should precede the development of an open source library project. User analysis helps in identifying the requirements and needs of the library users, which can then inform the development of the open source library. This approach ensures that the library system addresses the actual user needs and aligns with the workflows defined through the analysis process. Library technology planning click here for more articles from the Library Incubator.

    Web Junction

    Web Junction provides a good overview of open source software. If you are working on a new library, start here to learn more about the library systems and requirements.

    Below are strategies to start a digital library.


    Name: A descriptive name that clearly identifies the purpose or functionality of the service.
    Example: “Borrowing Books,” “Reference Assistance,” “Online Catalog Search.”


    An explanation of the library service, detailing what it aims to achieve and how it benefits the users.
    Example: “Borrowing Books: This use case allows library patrons to check out physical books for a specific duration, providing access to a wide range of reading materials.”

    Performance Goals

    Specific objectives or targets that the service aims to meet in terms of efficiency, accuracy, response time, or other relevant metrics.
    Example: “Borrowing Books: The service should process book checkouts within 2 minutes, maintain an accuracy rate of 99% in tracking borrowed items, and handle concurrent requests from multiple users.”

    Library Operations

    A step-by-step sequence of actions that describes how the service is performed and the space required. This includes interactions between users and the library.

    Example workflow for “Borrowing Books”
    a. User presents their library card and selected books at the circulation desk.
    b. Library staff scans the library card and books using the integrated system.
    c. The system verifies the user’s eligibility and available copies of the books.
    d. If eligible and books are available, the system updates the user’s account and prints due date slips.
    e. The user receives the due date slips and the borrowed books.

    Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD Contact Us.

  • 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.

  • Library Planning Research,  work in progress

    Library Programming Concept

    The Habitability Framework provides a holistic perspective, considering both the physical and social aspects of a space. We use it to guide decision-making processes, design interventions, and policy development. This library programming concept helps us create more livable and sustainable environments. Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD studies how built and natural environments impact people in the library. Our library programs help improve the utilization of libraries. As we develop the library plan, we study how the physical library environment influences user behavior and interactions. The Habitability Framework can be used during library planning to support the planning and design of libraries.

    Habitability Framework

    The Habitability Framework is a library program concept. We use it during architecture, urban planning, and library environment research projects to assess and evaluate the quality and usability of a library space and environment. Take a look at our blog-post library is a laboratory of the future to explore more of our content.

    The Design Thinking for Libraries toolkit, developed by Public Libraries in Aarhus (Denmark) and Chicago (USA) with support from the Gates Foundation, offers a transformative approach to understanding and meeting the needs of patrons and engaging communities in innovative ways. As librarians face a diverse range of complex challenges, this toolkit provides a fresh perspective, along with new tools and approaches to address them effectively.

    Design Thinking

    Design Thinking empowers librarians to collaborate and uncover valuable insights about their communities. We use this methodology to experiment, co-create, and adapt services, programs, and processes to meet the evolving needs of library users. Our library programming toolkit acts as a valuable service planning tool, providing essential guidance for librarians to embark on a building discovery and user service transformation. If you want to explore tools to support your library planning project, design thinking for libraries is a good place for ideas.

    Library Programming Framework

    The Habitability Framework: Library Programming Concept typically considers multiple dimensions and criteria that influence the well-being and satisfaction of individuals within a given space. These dimensions can include physical, social, psychological, and environmental aspects.

    Physical Comfort

    This includes factors such as temperature, lighting, noise levels, air quality, and access to amenities and facilities.

    Safety and Security

    Evaluating the level of safety and security measures in place to protect individuals from physical harm or threats.

    Social Interaction

    Assessing the opportunities and availability of social connections, community engagement, and interactions with others within the space.


    Examining the extent to which individuals can enjoy personal space, confidentiality, and control over their environment.


    Assessing the ease of access and mobility within the space for individuals of all abilities.

    Brand identity

    Evaluating the visual appeal, cultural significance, and overall sense of identity and belonging within the space.

    Library Programming

    Assessing how well the space meets its intended purpose and provides suitable infrastructure, resources, and support for its users.

    It is important to note that the specific dimensions and criteria within the Habitability Framework may vary depending on the context, purpose, and intended users of the space being evaluated.

    library strategies

  • Library Planning Research,  work in progress

    library technology planning

    What is library technology planning? Why do we need it? Technology has been a transformative part of developing a modern library. The rapid pace of technological advancements shows no signs of slowing down, and libraries must embrace a leadership role in utilizing technology to remain relevant and meet the evolving needs of their communities.

    Certainly, its important to recognize that technology is not an end in itself. Certainly, technology can enable libraries to provide enhanced services and access to collections. It is the wise and thoughtful use of technology in conjunction with a professional and well-trained staff that brings the best aspects of library service to the community.

    Modern Library

    Basically, a library technology plan is essential to effectively leverage library collections in a way that benefits library users. Library professionals can attain the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate digital resources by going to conferences and workshops. However, library planning workshops can assist leadership with technology-related issues and financial budgeting. Indeed, we provide guidance on utilizing technology and modeling library tools to effectively plan for the future.

    Contact Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD to develop a library technology plan. Our expertise and guidance will help the library staff explore physical and virtual issues. Our consultants can offer a comprehensive review of library technology. We can provide inclusive workshops that will help you uncover the physical and virtual services for your library.

    Public Libraries

    Developing a public library technology plan – click here to start a self study.

    Developing an Academic library plan. Here are Toolkits from ACRL to get you started.


    We provide a leadership role for libraries that are looking to upgrade their technology and utilization of resources. Our planning helps the library use its physical and virtual tools. Our research helps the library provide access to collections, foster digital literacy, promote lifelong learning, and bridge the digital divide. We have found that technology can be used in a strategic and thoughtful manner. However, it takes planning to enable libraries to adapt to changing user expectations and deliver services that are accessible, relevant, and valuable in the digital age.

    Technology Planning

    Basically, libraries that embrace technology and combine it with a well-trained staff are well-positioned to serve their communities effectively. Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD ensures that the principles of library service are upheld in an increasingly digital world.

    Image by Hasan Toxr