• 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


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

    Trust: A Vital Part of Teamwork

    According to The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek, “If you want to follow a health regime, we may choose to follow some of the practices but not all of them.” For example, one can exercise, but have a bad diet. Libraries are also struggling with this type of challenge as they try to provide services and support the community. They can create new plans for the library space, but they will not be able to fix all the problems. An “infinite” strategy is required.

    Simon Sinek has developed a new website with online courses that can help librarians, library staff and leadership. It shows ways to outline strategies for trusted teams, and begin to resonate with your users. Libraries are a natural source of such teams: book clubs are one example. A library that supports this service is going to have a dedicated reading community.

    Blended Learning Takes Center Stage

    Library users are interested in both online resources and in-person collaboration. A few years ago, we began to focus on blended learning in libraries: this combination of in-person and digital resources. The more classes that were launched online, the more digital collaboration required. We noted that librarians, teachers, academic support staff and students create “trusted teams,” and work effectively. We considered this team concept as we developed our library programs. Although they defined the space required, they also outlined a new service paradigm.

    The Importance of Trust

    A true team doesn’t just work together: they trust each other. Libraries are built on this idea: we share collections, buildings and research. We are a community of users who value education and culture.

    Libraries that shows superior performance depends not only upon the type of user, but their activities – are they building trust? We provide physical and virtual strategies for growth, applying service models to make sure you are building on your strengths. CONTACT US

    Libraries have to build on trust in times of crisis. In complex times, design thinking will enable your library to perform better than your individual goals or internal team can perform. Extending your communities of practice and building a strategy team will help you develop a safe space and trusted teams. Below is a diagram that illustrates a digital strategy work example.Turst:


    Recommended Video: Trust – Infinite game by Simon Sinek
    “When we work on a Trusting Team we feel safe to express vulnerability.

  • Library Planning Research,  work in progress

    Libraries: Key Partners in Virtual Learning

    Academic librarians can play a key role  in the adjustment to online learning: they can assist faculty with transferring courses to online (or hybrid) format, and provide collaboration opportunities for students. Librarians should create a library resource strategy to help maintain consistent, engaging learning in lieu of in-person classes.

    Please take our survey on Virtual Learning and share with colleagues. LINK TO VIRTUAL LEARNING SURVEY

    Our firm has developed tools to help libraries adjust to a higher reliance on digital resources. Our flexible design thinking strategy  helps our clients decide what changes they should make. We can build a plan for you, providing a platform that builds on your strengths. Contact Library Consulting Services

    As we adjust to an online focus,  collection development should include a digital asset management plan. For example, your collection should include resources that are free and available without copyright requirements. During a recent project, we found that a University’s special collections were often in digital formats.

    Below is a link to original anatomy diagrams that can be used as primary research materials (sample image below):Traité complet de l’anatomie de l’homme comprenant la medecine operatoire, par le docteur Bourgery. Avec planches lithographiées d’après nature par N.H. Jacob. Students could use this free resource if it was integrated into their scholarly workspace.

    ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education
    If you need a structured outreach process, visit the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. We are researching this subject to uncover the ways online learning will be applied to higher education. We are very interested in your perspective!

    Please share our survey on Virtual Learning with colleagues. LINK TO VIRTUAL LEARNING SURVEY

    We can help you develop a digital library strategy:  CONTACT US

    Below is a link to Tipasa. Join the community and help develop next generation software. Our integration plans can improve library operations. We showcase new technology to encourage innovation in library operations. We can help you develop a digital library strategy:  CONTACT US

    library consulting
  • Library Planning Research,  library technology,  work in progress

    Technology Needs Assessment: Partnerships in Knowledge

    It is certain that the costs of introducing distance learning into education are going to be high. Too many schools are at odds over how to deploy blended learning support and manage digital preservation services. Aaron Cohen Associates (library consultants) support the development of the digital library, because libraries have resources to support all types of services. Libraries have consistently strived to make services better whether it was moving from print to digital or from an archive of treasures to an outreach model.

    All of the libraries we have worked on and planned have grown because they took the time to reflect and learn what they were doing right. We guided them though difficult times and led them through challenging budgets, because change isn’t easy. Below are steps we take during our technology needs assessment process. ACA’s 360 Design includes our visual scan. This is a step by step process that will result in a realignment of library services:

    Library Staff

    — Roles: responsibilities working with instructors/faculty
    — Review of instructional design for virtual learning

    — InfoTech Roles: Outreach Responsibilities and Staff Support
    — Coursework: Identify a case study to assess impact
    — Pilot Case Study: analyze literature to assess new concepts

    — Technology infrastructure
    — Support cloud and hosted learning platform(s), library management system and online instruction

    — Zoom meeting to review needs
    — Develop Groups of Students 6–30 for needs assessment
    — Have Breakout Discussions

    — Course Material
    — Online LibGuide / Finders Support
    — Online Brand Identity
    — Digital resources
    — Digital media
    — e-books
    — Website Integration
    — Media / Videos
    — Via emails
    — Different journals, via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, News outlets different blogs

    Libraries need to build their partnerships to enable growth. CONTACT LIBRARY CONSULTANT


    We can see that libraries are starting to jump into the world of content production. Some libraries don’t know the first thing about producing digitizing content, while others have been focusing on historic content production and online research for years. When thinking about what kind of knowledge platform a library should offer, you should start with a mission and vision for the new digital library. You can look at other partnerships that resulted in a digital library. This can be a guide to a successful strategy; one that helps you create a better user experience for your community.

    Richard Ovenden, Oxford University Bodley Librarian, received a generous donation from The Polonsky Foundation that enabled the library to launch a collaborative initiative, which resulted in a digital humanities library. Thinking About the Types of Librarians Required: Learn what a digital archivist does – Bodleian and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. Today, there are than 1.5 million pages from their collections have been made freely available in digital format. This platform of knowledge has been created to enable blended learning, using technology to safely access the worlds history.

    Our technology needs assessments build on data sciences, which we call library program modeling. We help libraries develop the next platform for knowledge including infotech, design of services and strategic planning. Our 360 design strategy provides a framework for innovation – a step by step process to build the next library.


    technology planning

  • Library Planning Research,  Space Planning,  work in progress

    The Beauty of Structure: Design Thinking Works

    Experienced designers know that putting the guardrails on a library design process can stifle the outcome. However, managers on innovation teams generally are not service designers and they don’t know the first steps to take to begin an improvement process. As Kaaren Hanson explained in a 2018 Harvard Business Review Article – “Why Design Thinking Works” stated “Anytime you’re trying to change people’s behavior you need to start them off with a lot of structure, so they don’t have to think. A lot of what we do is habit, and it’s hard to change those habits, but having clear guardrails helps us.”

    Co-Creating Using Design Thinking
    Co-Creating with stakeholders is a key ingredient of our 360 design service and it is part of a framework we deliver to our clients. It is a process of library consulting that thoroughly integrates library staff, collections, operations and services. Organized processes keep people on track to build goals, enable change and improve the future. It is not surprising that success is tied to organized approaches.

    Design Thinking Example
    Below is an example of a design thinking experience. Our team integrated VLM storage system inside a new student success center building at Tri-County Technical College. This innovation enabled the library to expand its seating and keep library resources safe and secure onsite. The adaptive design for the new library speaks for itself.


    student success center


  • Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues

    Library Building in Times of Change

    The extend to which historic libraries are able to thrive and succeed as a community resource depends on the kinds of services and opportunities the library builds. Libraries are more likely to behave in ways that undermine their chances for success when they are NOT connected to strategic planning. Libraries that do not program their services, receive little feedback and are ill-equipped to assess their prospects for success and are therefor less able to build the confidence they need to proactively seek improvements.

    According to “Reframe Advocacy to Highlight Library’s Essential Services” Laura O’Grady (Library Director – Hershey Public Library) argues that portraying libraries as a essential service when deciding how to spend a shrinking municipal budget is critical. The library is not just a quiet haven for books and it shouldn’t be put in comparison to a new police car. This is like comparing apples to oranges.

    • By not specifically highlighting how the work of public libraries impacts disadvantaged populations we’re simultaneously selling ourselves short, reinforcing the idea that libraries are for some and not all, and slowly but surely digging our own grave. Our advocacy must start getting real about who is using our libraries and for what reasons.

    Our research confirms that library data of the past is simply not accurate today. While books have been part of libraries since their beginning, public libraries have always been organizations where those of lesser means can come and access educational resources, build a new work of resources, learn a new language or skill. When libraries are more embedded with the communities needs, they are also aware of opportunities to share resources, support education, job skills and literacy.

    Most libraries struggle with the multitude of challenges – building, staff and access to collections. We need to avoid the failures that can affect the libraries ability to thrive and succeed. This includes loosing focus on what is important. Below are important findings from PLA Survey on Libraries (Public Libraries Respond to COVID-19: Survey of Response & Activities Libraries Respond: COVID-19 Survey Results (May 2020). It clearly shows the opportunities for libraries to continue to build a better future for the communities they serve.

    A few years ago, we saw a classic example of the multitude of challenges dynamic playing out at the E. Norwalk Public Library in which community leaders noticed that students of lesser means didn’t use the library’s books. The community came together and participated in workshops, students joined the discussions and told us to improve conditions with a homework space for disadvantaged youth. Our research showed that the library is a learning space. All libraries need to plan for students and encourage activities for them to build skills.

    covid survay clip

    AARON COHEN ASSOCIATES, LTD have developed a series of programmatic models that help define the variables for success. What our clients found and realized, however, is that it is not easy. It requires belief’s in differences of opinion and self-confidence to take on the responsibility of our national library treasures.


  • Library Planning Research

    The Power of Library Programming in Times of Change

    Through our work with public and academic libraries, schools, healthcare corporations, pharmaceutical companies, governments and research labs, we have gained access to vast library science resources and information services knowledge. This knowledge allows us to work on the most innovative library projects in the world—it is a powerful reference library of library planning tools.

    We help libraries adapt to changing environments; today’s climate is a unique opportunity for such change.  Many librarians understandably worry that the library will not be able to adapt to the new normal. The first practical strategy is the development of a library program. It is a plan that provides short term goals, long term strategies and schedules for implementation. CONTACT LIBRARY CONSULTANT

    Digital business planning has been around for a number of years in the form of Digital Humanities research. This is a difficult subject because humanities includes both the physical and digital world. In a 2017 paper,  @educause addressed how to build digital services, and their information is relevant today.

    According to Building Capacity for Digital Humanities, there are a few commonsense principles can be used for your planning, regardless of the library program (business model) that you choose. These include:

    • Recognize that many projects will have downstream costs. Be clear about the resources required through the stages of planning, prototype development, updates, hosting, maintaining, archiving, etc. Make sure there is a plan that covers the entire project life cycle, including criteria for sunsetting projects for which there is no viable maintenance plan.
    • Manage expectations and consuming behavior responsibly. If direct fees aren’t involved, then determine what mechanisms can control scope creep, poor planning, or other inefficient use of resources.
    • Look for ways to reduce barriers to experimentation. How can you encourage good ideas to be explored and tested easily? Keep the costs and procedural overhead to a minimum for projects in early stages of development; scale up requirements for planning and budgeting before moving to more advanced levels of development.
    • Be clear about the business rules and apply them consistently. A good library program must be seen as an accessible resource, not biased toward underwriting the interests of a small well-connected group.

    Research libraries may feel overwhelmed by the change from print to digital. But this collaborative model has been advancing for years, and can’t be dismissed. Academic libraries provide instructional support and academic engagement activities as well as a vast platform for shared resources. Then again, they are the heart of the campus and their space is still important.



    a futuristic idea for library architecture
    library in the clouds
  • Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues,  work in progress

    Don’t “Fight the Old,” Adapt for the Future

    Programming Library Services with eBooks in mind can challenge our past ways of doing things. However, familiar technologies are sometimes combined with new ones, or used in new ways for maximum impact— the eBook is dramatic example. In today’s challenging environment, a library’s web presence combined with available eBooks offers a way to keep patrons connected to these vital services.

    Take, for example, the work of Kelvin Watson at the Broward County Library. He understood early on the need to promote eBooks as a library service. With print materials tucked away in closed libraries and plans to fund improvements on hold, he made the public library’s digital collection a priority. This strategy helped Broward County offer access to the world’s virtual bookshelf in a time of need.

    In “Addressing eContent Issues in Times of Crisis,” Broward County Library launched a full-scale, seven-day-a-week marketing campaign to promote the use of electronic sources. It has led to a dramatic uptick in usage. The results included a 63 percent increase in usage of Hoopla (which also includes streaming video content) from mid-February (9,772) to mid-March 2020 (15,934), with new users increasing 253 percent from February to March. Additionally, Overdrive eBooks and audiobooks checkouts increased 22 percent from March 2019 to March 2020.

    Digital library services are a very important component of community support, and eBook collection development is a key to this process. Many individuals do not take advantage of their library eBooks because they do not have (or do not believe they have) the access. Develop a master plan and start doing the programming to improve access.

    Here is a sample list of eBook Publishers. You may start your research by learning about these companies and their services.

    As library services change, previous models can be updated. We will develop a list of your partners and build strategies, and work with you on the policies, new rules for the building and the building services themselves. Your library can be improved with a library master plan. This is usually a three-month process that, for many of our clients, includes a needs assessment, the development of a strategic service priorities and a schedule for implementation.

    Joseph Schumpeter researched the pattern of development of markets and economies; he noted that destruction and creation were often happening at the same time. Situations can change, and libraries can adapt by developing a new plan. Let us help.  LIBRARY CONSULTANT



    library ebook consultant

  • Library Planning Research

    Libraries are a Vital Partner in Online Learning

    As education technology has evolved over the last decade, many of the software systems were developed without input from the users. As educators become more involved in the development of their online classes—and because the current environment demands better library integration—the quality will improve. Also, by investing in digital asset management and/or academic collection development, educators can manage digital collections, publications and offer students exactly what they need.

    With a dramatic increase in online classes, educators must decide which library solutions work best for their students. They need to find ways to use existing software resources to enrich learning. Library software should be at the center of the data management strategy required.

    As part of online learning, faculty members can work with academic services to prepare a series of indexed Libguides and/or web page/content management systems. Allowing time for both prep time and orientation for faculty will help the process run more smoothly.

    Siloed Data

    Silos proliferate in the modern learning environment. As the data sets grow larger and uncategorized, it is difficult to access material and build on research. Colleges and Universities need to build and maintain integrated systems. While a College or University may technically have all the data it needs, it could be “lost” to students if it is stored by faculty and not the library.

    Setting up the Online Library
    Here are questions to consider:

    • Does the school, college or university have existing policies for using online resources?
    • Have the faculty thought through how online learning tools (library resources, libguides, DAM’s, etc.) can best be used for their course work?
    • What are the curriculum objectives and how will online learning support the objectives?
    • What subject areas are best suited to online learning?
    • What areas will require creative solutions?
    • Are there any products or subscription services that can be purchased?
    • Will research skills activities be integrated into class time, or will information literacy be a separate activity?
    • What kinds of library resources will be required? Is there funding for these resources? How are they managed?
    • Are there students who would benefit more from building their own research links? How would they be able to add to the class knowledge base?
    • What means of evaluation will be used to determine whether the online library resources support the classroom? Has it been useful or successful? How will this data be shared with leadership?


  • Library Planning Research,  work in progress

    Academic Libraries and “Creative Disruption”

    In response to changing times, colleges and universities will need to update classrooms and spaces on campus. We believe improvement requires a clear understanding of the current situation and the plan for a result that is both different and better. As noted in the Economist article Crucible of Creative Disruption, the pandemic is enabling businesses to experiment. According to CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White’s Statement on Fall 2020 University Operational Plans, “CSU’s virtual planning approach preserves as many options for as many students as possible.” Courses will be primarily delivered virtually for the fall 2020 term, with limited exceptions for in-person teaching, learning and research activities that cannot be delivered virtually.


    Our programming fundamentals for library master planning will encourage expansive thinking. It is a framework that will improve the digital library organization: collection development, acquisitions, technical services, marketing and outreach, web site and user interfaces, library space and layout, job positions, workflows and automation.

    Libraries all over the world are beginning to experiment with virtual planning and they are making great strides. Thus, it is important to encourage libraries to provide more than just space and continue the #librariestransform trend.

    We can update the academic library to reflect new standards and needs. The primary focus will be the development of an institutional repository and the development of intellectual capital: all categorized and organized in a library content management systems. This will also include more “learning commons” related activities, and staff to support physical and virtual research.

    library master plan methods
    library consultant

    COMMITMENT TO STUDENT SUCCESS (Education Consulting)
    We have been programming and planning the learning commons for many years, including IT and Library staff development, technology integration and academic resources. The following are steps to consider:

    • Develop a learning commons strategy for campus
    • Program classroom buildings with flexible/adaptable environments
    • Develop digital collection strategies for campus departments
    • Build a new touchless public service plan that includes academic support
    • Provide adaptive space that supports research, teaching and learning

    Libraries are limited by staff, budget and collection resources in what they can do for the students and faculty, but they can take advantage of this period of “creative disruption” by providing leadership with a communication plan and program for the future. CONTACT ACADEMIC CONSULTANT