This blog has been assembling what might be called steps toward an adaptive library architecture. The shaping of a confident, adaptable library project cannot emerge from a fragmented library program. Library design decisions need to be made right through the architectural design process. You are constantly finding out about the library services and its users as you are building it. That’s not the way its supposed to happen, but its the reality.
The major difference in a library building is its budget. Basically, there needs to be more money spent on the preplanning to ensure the structure of the seating spaces, power options, HVAC and collections management are balanced. Presidents, Provosts, CIOs, CEOs and Library Management need to focus on starting and finishing the project. They also need to ensure the library continues operations while its in transition. The budgeting process needs to continue throughout the planning and work phases.
Actually, we have found that when a library project is starting up the team needs to develop a new plan to run the library. We call this the library operational plan. Revisiting and changing the operations must not be allowed to stop or to confuse the drive toward completion. See Library as a Public Space Article.
Can a library learn while its running?
Here we come into the realm of professional library staff and strategies to transition the library service(s). We often insist that librarians and educational leadership has a seat at the table — no matter how difficult the challenges are we help the library team understand the wholeness of the library project. If you want a library to learn and grow, you have to invest in a library consultant. It takes forceful management to impact the community, because it takes realism to achieve your goals.
Basically, you can start with a self study. Sixth Sense Project Management provides a self study system to help you succeed not only in your library projects, but in any interpersonal relationship that requires a change in behavior. In Mr. Roeder’s book, he discusses how he succeeds by using a balanced approach of technical project management skills, business acumen and sixth sense people skills.
Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD believes in making library program models. Not just one fancy presentation to the community but whole lineages of rough programming sketches and spreadsheets. Gradually, the library program aligns with the space and the service options until the library operational needs are uncovered. Opulent libraries like the Library of Congress, National Library of Ireland and/or the Smithsonian need to consider elaborate service models. They are always in transition with tentative portions of the building(s) defined by history.
Once programming the library begins, the guessing and trying multiplies. A maddening amount of library project scheduling is required and adjustments need to be made. Even so our library design methods include a scheduling and agenda phase. Here we review what was done in the past and communicate that we want input. It turns out that every library project starts out with the same steps. Each time the results differ but the outcome is the same – a successful library that is improved and supports the changing community it serves.