Library Planning Research,  Space Planning,  work in progress

Steve Jobs: Strategic Service Priorities for Libraries

Back in 2012, Walter Isaacson wrote an article for HBR entitled “The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs.” One of the key lessons was that creating an enduring organization is harder and more important than making a great product. His focus on simplicity was also matched with his concept of impute: People form an opinion about a product or company on the basis of how it is presented and packaged.

Steve Jobs Strategies

In his article, Walter Isaacson highlighted some of the key lessons in leadership that he learned from Steve Jobs, the co-founder and former CEO of Apple. Jobs believed that a company’s success depends not just on its products, but on the culture and values that underpin it.


Jobs was known for his focus on simplicity in design and presentation, and he believed that every aspect of a product or company should be carefully crafted to make a positive impression on customers. He coined the term “impute” to describe the way that people form opinions about a product or company based on how it is presented and packaged. This concept was integral to Apple’s marketing strategy and played a key role in the company’s success. See Special Library Collections Return on Investment Discussion.


It’s understandable that there can be challenges in striving for perfection during the planning process and trying to incorporate new technologies does not need a focus group. However, it’s also important to balance this desire for innovation with a focus on creating an enduring legacy and a culture of learning/sharing. This is where Steve Jobs and our methods differ. We strive for perfection though consensus building workshops.

Resource Mgt

One key to our library planning methodology is to approach the project through a series of scenarios or strategic service priorities. Instead of just focusing on the immediate needs of the library, we consider how the library and resource management can be designed to meet the needs of the community for years to come. This means thinking about how the space can be flexible and adaptable to changes in technology and user needs.

Stakeholder Input

Even though Steve Jobs didn’t like to involve stakeholders in the planning process because he felt it limited the possibilities, we know that library staff, community members, and other partners can provide valuable insights and perspectives. By working collaboratively and seeking input from a variety of sources, we strive to create a sense of ownership and investment in the project. During this process, listen and learn how library resources and partnerships can improve the program and design.


It’s important to keep a focus on the mission and values of the library. What is the library’s purpose and how can the resources be designed to support that mission? By staying true to our methodology, we help you create a library program that truly serves the needs of the community and inspires a culture of learning and sharing.

We have an extensive list of library planning workshop activities that enable us to gain user input and analyze the needs of the community. Gathering input from a variety of sources can provide valuable insights and help ensure that the library meets the needs of the community.


Sometimes it is necessary to rely on your own expertise and judgment to make decisions, particularly when it comes to budget constraints and funding. In these cases, it’s important to balance the desires and needs of the community with the available resources. We help libraries to make decisions. We help prioritize the most important aspects of the library through a process we call library resource programming.


Regarding Steve Jobs’ approach to product development, he was known for his passion for creating products that he and his friends would want to use. This approach was a key factor in Apple’s success and helped the company to develop innovative and popular products. Certainly, it’s important to keep in mind that different communities have different needs and preferences. Our library programming methods help make decisions.

Planning Process

During the planning process, it’s important to allow space for creative thinking and to consider different possibilities and potential solutions. Prototyping and testing can be a valuable way to explore different ideas and gather feedback from the community. This can help to identify what works well and what can be improved, and can ultimately lead to a more effective library design.

Design Thinking

Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD Design Thinking Workshops can be a powerful tool for engaging with the community and involving them in the planning process. Our strategic services workshops typically involve a collaborative, iterative approach to problem-solving that emphasizes empathy, experimentation, and co-creation. We involve the community in this process, and gather diverse perspectives and insights that inform the development of the library program.

Basically, the goal of library planning is to create a space and program that meets the needs of the community and inspires a culture of learning and sharing. We incorporate library user input and feedback from a variety of sources. We help the library engage in creative problem-solving and design thinking. Developing a library program that truly serves the community and helps to build an enduring legacy is where we succeed.