Thank you for attending our Webinar for LLAMA today. If you have questions, after you see the PDF of the presentations and read the Notes, contact us - we'll be pleased to help.

Posts categorized "DESIGN" Feed

Now where do we go?

Since the Towers fell in NYC; since I worked at a maximum prison; since my mother thought me how to carry my keys - points out - in my hand when walking to my car; I have thought a lot about my personal safety and what I would do, could do, "should anything happen".

Well "anything" happens all the time now. We are none of us as safe as we imagined we were yesterday or last year. After Orland_ Spaces

Tomorrow we present a Webinar for the Southern Ontario Library Service for librarians who are developing their management skills.  In it we talk about "The 3rd Place" and "The Commons" with respect to how librarians are providing space in their libraries for individuals in their communities so that they feel like they are a part of their physical community - not just the on-line one we are becoming so used to. 

Librarians are on the forefront of societal change especially concerning how we interact and how we find our place in our community.

In light of this article from the Atlantic - CITYLAB, our message rings both sickeningly hollow and loudly. 

How can we go into a public space and feel safe? Meeting stairs searsHow are these violent actions that are happening globally and involving our physical safety, affecting our behaviour in our cities, towns and in our libraries?


Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

When words aren't enough

NC and her Bees_2016-06-03My dear friend and brilliant sign maker / artist  - Noella, owner of Sign-It Signs in Cornwall, Ontario













sent me this today... Truer words have never been drawn! 2016-06-07_Andreas frm Noella

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

Researchers have made cheap, strong concrete out of “Martian” soil|MIT

cred: MIT TechRev

"...once humans arrive on the red planet, they will require high quality buildings in which to live and work...The first colonizers will quickly have to find a way to build structures using the planet’s own resources. But how?

The key material in a Martian construction boom will be sulphur, says the Northwestern team. The basic idea is to heat sulphur to about 240 °C so that it becomes liquid, mix it with Martian soil, which acts as an aggregate, and then let it cool. The sulphur solidifies, binding the aggregate and creating concrete. Voila—Martian concrete." 

Martian trowel

Read the full article here: from MIT Technology Review   

There is also a good article that helps to 'translate' the MIT piece for easier comprehension: from Fast Company

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

Poster Basics, Create a Research Poster - Research Guides|NYU

This NYU guide is easy to understand and can help you fashion and frame the information you need to get out to your patrons.

Screen shots from article demonstrate in an instant the difference between 2 densely designed information boards showing 'effective easy to understand' and 'messy confusing' layouts.

Also visit the Cooper Hewitt on line piece showing their exhibition demonstrating very clearly how poster ‎designers use visual keys to catch our eyes and minds.

Screen shots of posters: Cooper Hewitt







Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

In New York we skate on our books

BryantPkNYPL17 feet below ground, in a concrete bunker...the (NYPL) expanding.

Yes, the NYPL had to reevaluate and re-imagine expansion. The solution is clever, practical, secure and technically smart. NYPLSec

"The Bryant storage space consists of two floors, the first of which was put into use in the late 1980s, while the second floor, dug out but not finished back then, has lain fallow. Now, to accommodate the books long housed in the original 105-year-old stacks, a part of the library whose future is still under discussion, the second floor is being turned into a state-of-the-art storage hub."

Here's the link to the full article in the NY Times.

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

New Orleans 10 Years After Katrina~An Object Lesson For Planners and Architects

8 Maps of Displacement and Return in New Orleans After Katrina - CityLab (the Atlantic)

You can't plan anything unless you know:

  • where you are,
  • what you've already got
  • and where you want to go‎.

New Orleans hasn't got a handle on any of these criteria 10 years after Katrina. 

Now some individuals are beginning to put a sketchy picture together about where people went, why they didn't come back and what the city looked like before Katrina and ‎what it looks like now.

Lessons to learn from of a real, devastating, human tragedy.



Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

Audrey Thank you for writing this article

"I find it beyond challenging to turn out culinary masterpieces (or even just a nice meal) while guests are chatting around me in the kitchen, and also because I just don’t believe it’s a good time to “entertain” anyone while I’m wielding a knife and managing fire. Plus, I’m happier when my whole world—especially my living room furniture—doesn’t smell of bacon grease."

Ms. Brashich had me at the title of this article but by the time I got to this part about the smell of cooking invading the living room I was a devotee!

Closed kitchen
screen shot

She titles her Article: "I Hate the Open-Plan Kitchen—and Amazingly, I’m No Longer the Only One". 

... that's' because I'm the Other One!!!! 

I have always hated this ridiculous idea that it's such fun to have guests stand around and watch me sweat and screw up in the kitchen and then I have to sit down and look at the mess all evening or work like a dog all day and have everything cleaned up way before the guests arrive (because I have to have time to get myself looking presentable - preferably not in 'comfortable clothes' and needing a shower.!) so that I don't have to be reminded about - WHAT'S IN THE KITCHEN!

I've been waiting for this rant for 30 years. Thank you Audrey wherever you are.

Read Ms. Brashich's whole article HERE.

And here's another link to a 2013 article by By Shawna Dillon, ASID, Kitchen

screen shot / Dillon Article

Designer, Studio Snaidero Chicago. Click on the photo: I love it.

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

Can't afford books for your new library? You could have budgeted for them during your planning!

A new library building is not an end in itself.

The true purpose of your library is to provide programs and services that will meet identified community needs.

All libraries have Four Resources in common:





Screenshot-building birmingham www bbc com 2015-08-12 11-27-07
screen shot - BBC

This photo  accompanies an article from the BBC about the Birmingham Libraries reporting that they are not able to afford to buy new books for their new library.

A library is the sum total of its programs and services. Planning for the future of your library is about identifying your community's needs and assuring that resources are in place to fulfill those needs.

These Four Resources are marshaled throughout the planning process to ensure that you can deliver these services efficiently and cost effectively.

The Resources are not an end in themselves. If the cost of one or more of these resources prohibits your library from acquiring any of the other resources, it is an indication of short sighted or ill conceived planning.

If you don't plan well for instance ... you won't be able to buy new books.

Screenshot-www bbc com 2015-08-12 11-01-00

Shortsighted ineffective planning can lead to temporary or permanent disaster.



Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

Library-concrete building on the beach, in China~from 'Book Patrol'

June 24. Would be so good to visit here... and read.. and just be.



Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

When 'new' is not 'new'.

The following quote made news this week. I am amazed:

“It's time for a paradigm shift to one in which public leaders engage with their communities and take action based on the voices of their constituents. (And where communities demand that kind of interaction.) So go, get out there, engage your elected and appointed leaders, and use your voice to impact positive change.”

This quote is taken from “100 Great Ideas for the Future of Libraries -- A New Paradigm for Civic Engagement”, written by Rebecca Fishman Lipsey and “Co-authored by Francine Madera, MADERA inc." as reported in the Huffington Post on-line.  Posted: 01/29/2015 3:53 pm EST Updated: 01/29/2015 3:59 pm EST” 100 Great Ideas for the Future of Libraries -- A New Paradigm for Civic Engagement | Rebecca Fishman Lipsey

The ideas quoted are indeed ‘great’. I am so pleased you have discovered them, but they are not new. No, Ms. Fishman Lipsey and Ms. Madera, what you write about is not a “New Paradigm”, though I do admit each generation comes to the hard, cold truth in their own time. Congratulations! I hope the librarians who read your article do the research they do so well and discover the know-how, in existence for over 30 years, which leads them through this process that, among many other concepts, includes "Civic Engagement".

Many times have I heard this refrain and for years I have read articles urging librarians to use this or that 'innovative idea' to keep libraries fresh and in touch with their communities.  I am dispirited that intelligent people do not use common sense! Then I battle incredulity over the fact that such a well-educated and seemingly intelligent group of people can remain so ostrich-like in the face of tried-and-true, long used techniques to achieve success as librarians in their communities.

Why make your job difficult? Why reinvent the wheel? Why not use the body of knowledge passed on to you by your colleagues over generations to help you do your work? Perhaps it’s easier to read about ‘new ideas’ than to do the work of recognizing and adopting the planning process that has led to the success of librarians who have delivered truly brilliant and responsive libraries to their communities.

copyright PLAN22

For years, we and our esteemed colleagues have been guiding public librarians in the process of community building and outreach; preparing them to determine their needs and enabling them to talk effectively to their communities, boards and architects. This process includes Strategic Planning and architectural pre-programming.  I will not apologize for saying this even though each generation must come to learn the terminology the hard way.  Sometimes a strategic plan is quite simply a strategic plan. If community based Strategic Planning is not done, you will not achieve the type of library specific to your community's needs. Changing the terminology will not make it any easier to do.

All the issues Ms. Rebecca Fishman Lipsey and Ms. Madera bring up in their article are valid. However all these issues have been around since architects and librarians jointly conceived and built libraries in this modern age. Librarians, please read the vast amount of literature available that guides you, minute by in-depth step, toward a successful library building project. As librarians you have the skills to locate, read, grasp and avail yourself of this information. You have the intelligence and the knowledge to lead your library building project with the full support of your community, lawmakers and users. It is hard, constant, diligent, detailed, attention-demanding work. It is worth it.

The American Library Association (ALA) is open and clear in their support for you and your community to achieve the library that your community needs. The Library Bill of Rights Library Bill of Rights | Advocacy, Legislation & Issues supports all the work needed to achieve not only your library facility but also a satisfied constituency. Architects, Urban Planners, Interior Architects, Landscape Architects and other professional organizations that include the Project Management Institute PMI - the World’s Leading Professional Association for Project Management are resources available to you at every turn, and throughout your project. Use them. Research how these professionals actually do their jobs, you will find that they have the knowledge to support your work.


book cover

Sandra Nelson, of Sandra Nelson Consulting , is the author of Strategic Planning for Results and Implementing for Results: Your Strategic Plan in Action, the current Public Library Association strategic planning how-to book. Strategic Planning for Results - Books / Professional Development - Books for Academic Librarians - Books for Public Librarians - PLA Products - ALA Store 

To quote Ms. Nelson:

“The Strategic Planning for Results process has been refined by 30 years of public library planning experiences and reflects today's best practices. The process takes between three and four months and engages stakeholders from the staff, the board, and the community. The final plan describes the library's service priorities and explains how the staff will measure progress toward meeting those priorities. Creating a strategic plan is just a preliminary step in the real work of moving the library forward.(our emphasis) A plan is of little value unless it is implemented and Implementing for Results: Your Strategic Plan in Action is the most practical tool available to guide your implementation efforts.” 

While it may be exciting for each generation to discover a way of making library spaces better for their communities, it still remains that this process takes energy, research, determination, dedication and plain, hard work. No single news release is going to make it easy for anyone but perhaps it will inspire you to do the work that needs to be done. Good luck!

For a concise, easy to read outline of why you will meet success through tried and true, good old Strategic Planning try quickly reading this document by Ms. Nelson: tab_3_handouts.pdf

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

Cloudburst boulevards, St. Kjeld-Copenhagen

2015_01_26_ScrnSht_ClimateChngCpnhgn2Climate Change: Huge Opportunity to Build Greener Cities

 “Copenhagen City Hall is about to embark on an ambitious plan to make the whole city climate-change-resilient. Though there will be individual variations, each neighborhood will feature cloudburst boulevards and beautified squares ready for water-basin duty. One Copenhagen suburb is already building its own climate quarter, and Morten Kabell, Copenhagen’s deputy mayor in charge of environment and technology, reports receiving climate-quarter inquiries from mayors around the world. Following a catastrophic cloudburst in 2011 that resulted in damage of about $1 billion, this windy port city had little choice but to find ways of protecting itself.”

2015_01_26_ScrnSht_ClimateChngCpnhgn2_StKjeldMapIn the St. Kjeld neighbourhood, “city planners looked at the option of adding ‘gray infrastructure’ technologies that, in this case, would have included essentially more and bigger sewers, or of designing “green,” nature-based structures that collect the water and lead it away.’”

Flemming Rafn Thomsen of Tredje Natur, the Danish architecture firm chosen for the project reports that they “looked at St. Kjeld and thought, ‘That’s a lot of asphalt with no function. We can use some of that space for water.’ ”

“The answer, Rafn Thomsen and the city decided, was to tear up the neighborhood’s squares and replace their asphalt covering with what’s essentially a hilly, grassy carpet interspersed with walking paths. Should a storm, flood or rising sea levels hit the Danish capital again, the bucolic miniparks will turn into water basins…”


“Surrounding streets will, for their part, be turned into “cloudburst boulevards.” Under ordinary circumstances, they’ll just be ordinary streets with raised sidewalks, but during floods and megastorms, they’ll become canals, channeling rainwater away from the squares to the harbor. Millions of gallons of water will be dispatched back to the harbor on such above-ground waterways, St. Kjeld becoming a temporary Venice.”

From Aljazeera America: 'Cloudburst boulevards' and innovative bowl-shaped parks are designed to protect the city from rising sea levels, January 26, 2015 5:00AM ET, by Elisabeth Braw @elisabethbraw

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

openIDEO...signed on - better late than never

We just signed on to openIDEO ... "a place where people design better, together for social good. It's an online platform for creative thinkers: the veteran designer and the new guy who just signed on, the critic and the MBA, the active participant and the curious lurker."

OpenIDEO PDF presThey have just offered their 'OpenIDEO Impact Book' – in PDF, a collection of stories featuring real-world impact that has emerged from 21 OpenIDEO challenges over the past three years. The book highlights just a few examples of individuals, teams and organisations who have been inspired to realise OpenIDEO ideas and bring positive change to their communities.

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

ClassAct: Active School by actLAB NYC partnered with the St. Vincent Institute in the town of Maribojoc, Bohol, Philippines

screen shot

In the Philippines, actLAB NYC on KICKSTARTER (see our side bar on this site) has partnered with the St. Vincent Institute in the town of Maribojoc, Bohol, which was completely destroyed by back-to back catastrophes: the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that was immediately followed by super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) on October 15, 2013 in the largely rural region of Visayasand. The area remains largely on it's own to struggle without funding.

This partnership project is an attempt to rebuild space for 150 students of  the 1,134 classrooms that were destroyed.

school after twin disasters

"The structures combine local craftsmanship with modern engineering for maximum resiliency. The goal is to empower locals to maintain and repair the structure with their inherent building knowhow + innovate cottage industries [thus revitalizing the local economic ecosystem] while promoting sustainability."


ClassAct design
flexible design/local materials/local construction methods

Want to help? Click HERE too and go to 'Donate' on the far right at the ClassAct Foundation.

" actLAB is a New York-based collaborative design group working at the intersection of architecture, education, illustration and social entrepreneurship. We design for the the social effect we aspire architecture to instigate, and draw from urban complexities and shifts that architecture must respond to. | actLAB is lead by Australian registered architect & Columbia University GSAPP alum + academic, Aya Maceda ( with collaborators, Buzz Wei (architect/ GSAPP alum: and Sandra Javera (architect/illustrator: | 195 Plymouth Street, Dumbo Brooklyn, NY 11201"

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

Shout out to On-line Participants SOLS-APLL Librarians

2014_14July_ScreenShot_TitleSlide_Wbnr2SOLSWhat better day to learn how to document your needs for your new library (greatest ever cornerstone of Democracy) than Bastille Day?

Thank you, librarians from the APLL Institute at Southern Ontario Library Service, who participated in our webinar "The Library Program - Roadmap to a successful New Library Building". Or - Architectural Programming, the very short version!


We know it was a huge chunk of information to digest. 2014_14July_ScreenShot_WhyDoStratPlan_Wbnr2SOLS

It will all make sense once you begin your new project.

Keep on being your amazing, information-seraching, freedom-loving selves.

It will all work out - promise.

Special thank you to Anne Marie M! 

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

Rethinking architecture | MIT News Office

2014_14July_Mark Goulthorpe_screen grabMark Goulthorpe likes to see the world we occupy as a "physically reciprocal relationship between a person and the environment." Mr. Grulthorpe "teaches and practices new design and construction logics for the next generation of high-performance buildings ... that are not only resilient, economical, and visually stunning, but also offers insights into attaining environmentally benign buildings."

He is centering much of his reasearch on "thermoplastics. As the most benign class of fiber-reinforced polymers, they are rapidly entering broad market applications and hold the possibility to address a growing need. Current MIT estimations have the built environment doubling in the next 20 to 30 years, with the amount of urban housing needed likely to match that built in the previous 6,000 years."


Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

'Repurposing' or 'Adapting, as Libraries always have done'

There has always been movement in the library. Study grps

‘Repurposing the Library’ is today’s term for “That Flexibility Thing Libraries Have Always Done’. Librarians are experts about the subject of ‘Movement’ whether it is movement of people or the movement of relationships and adaptations between spaces to account for new ways people need to use existing spaces. It is so vexing to a librarian who is documenting the needs of her or his library to be able to forecast what the space requirements for the library will be in 10 or 20 years. But librarians have always met the challenge.

Flexibility that is built in to your design will help you, as the leader of your library design project, to cope with planning for the future of your library.

When you know your needs based on your plan to supply your community with what they need, you can lead your designer to solutions that you may have not imagined. The article gives you some examples of what flexible storage is available on the market today. With a well prepared architectural program and a clear budget, you and your designer can together make the library for your community's future.

Screen shot from Spacesaver site ref.

I like the INFO SHEET: THE REPURPOSED LIBRARY found as a freee download on the right column on this Spacesaver Link, because it is clear and short and it's about storage spaces, real concepts that people can easily grasp.  It emphasizes what we have been telling librarians, that you need a plan (a Strategic Plan to begin) that takes into account your community's needs and you need to gather data about what you have now to plan for what you need in the future. You need this information to establish a Budget and you and you staff are the most experienced and well placed persons to gather that information.

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

How did staff involvement in planning a library space help your project’s success?

I am developing a workshop to demonstrate the value of communicating with your library staff during the planning of a new library or l ibrary space.

I seek examples of successes (and as importantly, failures) that show definitively and with examples of how staff involvement in pre-planning and planning aided your project’s success; or because of the absence of communication with staff, the project did not meet expectations.

All communication will be held in strictest confidence.
Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

NYLA e-Bulletin is publishing PLAN22's 11 part series "Strategic Planning @ Your Library".

Members see: The e-Bulletin

This month's topic:
4-Rresources-GIF crpfrmLooking at your library - Your Library is one of the four RESOURCES common to all public libraries.

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

Got old date stamps?

Don't throw out thse date stamps (if you have any left.)

Look closely, see anything familiar?  Click on the image to enlarge.














Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

latest webinar...Building a New Library-Taking the Lead as Librarian

Participants in the Southern Ontario Library System (SOLS) - Advancing Public Library Leadership (APLL) Institute, joined their colleagues in our webinar to open up the conversation about the skills required to lead a library building project.

The APLL Institute "is designed to expand and advance the leadership capacity of public library CEOs and managers."   The "certificate program takes approximately two years to complete, with participating library staff undergoing independent course work in 12 key areas, complemented by highly interactive classroom sessions."

SOLS Course Overview lead slideYou may contact us for more information about this webinar.

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

QuickReport: Print Books vs. E-books

Is there a difference in how much a child understands and retains a story depending on the format of the book they share?  You may be surprised by recent findings, or maybe not. [CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE]No. of story details recalled_e-books vs. print

Researchers at the A Cooney Center  [ CLICK TO LINK],QuickReport by Cynthia Chiong, Jinny Ree, Lori Takeuchi, and Ingrid Erickson have completed a study to find out using "three book formats: print books, basic e-books, and enhanced e-books." investigating three issues:

1.  Parent-Child Conversation

2.  Story Comprehension and

3.  Engagement


1.  The enhanced e-book was less effective than the print and basic e-book in supporting the benefits of co-reading because it prompted more non-content related interactions. When adults prompt children with questions pertaining to the text, label objects, and encourage them to discuss the book contents in terms of their own experiences and curiosities, this elicits increased verbalization by the child and can lead to improved vocabulary and overall language development.

2.  Features of the enhanced e-book may have affected children’s story recall because both parents and children focused their attention on non-content, more than story-related, issues.

3.  The print books were more advantageous for literacy building co-reading, (BUT)...the e-books, particularly the enhanced e-book, were more advantageous for engaging children and prompting physical interaction.

The study leads to recommendations:

1.  For designers: Exercise caution when adding features to enhanced e-books, especially when those features do not directly relate to the story. E-book enhancements should also be designed in a way that allows parents to access and control settings to customize the co-reading experience with their children. 

2.  For parents and educators: Parents and preschool teachers should choose print or basic e-books to read with children if they want to prioritize literacy-building experiences over ones intended “just for fun.” Some of the extra features of enhanced e-books may distract adults and children alike from the story, affecting the nature of conversation and the amount of detail children recall. However, given that appeal is an essential building block for early literacy development, enhanced e-books may be valued for their ability to prompt less motivated young readers toward engagement when they might otherwise avoid text altogether.

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

Five times the Answer = more Questions

Stacked post-itsI agree...and...The 'NOTES' left in response to this article lead to some interesting add-ons to the practice of asking "Why?" five times to get to the root of any problem.

see: To Get To The Root Of A Hard Problem, Just Ask “Why” Five Times. Written by: at Co.DESIGN /

Charting the answers in some kind of diagram linking root causes explored to each question helps me to see where I've been with my querying quest.  Others point out that five "whys" may not be enough.

The 'take-away'? 

When you are faced with a design problem of any kind at your library, keep drilling down to the source of the problem until you see the underlying reason for your dilemma.  Only when you know why you have a problem, will you be able to explore how you may fix it.

image as per article credits.-Tx.

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

reading signs in your library

Visual impacts of your sign design can not be underestimated.

Cd DVD frm CircDEsk_MFL_Feb2012Signs set the tone and style of your library as much as the design affects your users.






Signs, their readability , quality and consistency of design will always be a primary interest of mine and I urge you to make it yours as well.  People do make up an opinion of you at first glance and they will do the same when they walk into your library. 

The premier quality of an effective sign is readability. If a sign cannot be read sufficiently from a distance to allow time to read it, then the message it carries is silenced.

As a general rule the Greatest Impact Readable Distance is 10 feet for every 1 inch of letter height.



Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

let's have a lot of fun today

It is my belief that I create and learn and produce better things and ideas when I have fun.

Who doesn't love a Rube Goldberg machine?  Melvin 2 Capture

The fun is just for itself.  The ideas that result can be for others' benefit too.

Here are adults having fun.  Wish I was one of the team.

Melvin the Machine

Start with the first machine   Melvin the Machine 1






and go to the second and most recent...  Melvin the Machine 2

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

do you know enough to plan for your library's future?


Heads up folks.  You may not have or want an Urban Greenhouse in your library but one day your neighbourhood could partner with a project in your community designed with the help of this Swedish company - Plantagon International.

I've only imagined a company that had a prospectus like this one - take a look at a future oriented business model. (click to enlarge)


 Plantagon took the initiative to develop the new offer Urban Agriculture within SymbioCity, and the offer is delivered in cooperation with Plantagon's partners SWECO, SAAB, Combitech and Tekniska Verken.   SymbioCity is a network of Swedish companies and organisations, within sustainable urban development, founded by the Swedish Government and Swedish Industry.

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

good design is named, flavour of the decade - LEED

Who would do good, sensible design if it weren't named other than a rose? 

I would, I do, but I gather the rest of the world needs a catchy handle. 



As a person who did her design education in the 70's I find this 'already-done-and-got-the-high-heels-like'.   Perhaps some building owners and trustees still haven't heard of any of this so here goes.


International Interest Grows in Green-Building Certification-By,Kate Galbraith. New York Times. Published: March 7, 2012

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

we just flip a switch. how does the rest of the world read at night?

"Solar Lantern Project" aims to provide rechargeable solar lanterns to rural Indian areas where electricity is still not available - Institute for Global Environmental Strategies.

Terrin lead

"TERI (Energy and Resources Institute) campaign uses solar lanterns that have CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) as well as LEDs (light emitting diodes) for dual purposes.  Each solar lantern in its useful life of 10 years replaces the use of about 500-600 litres of kerosene, thereby mitigating about 1.5 tonnes of CO2.  Rural entrepreneurs are trained to manage and run a central solar lantern charging/distribution centre where lanterns are rented. This creates financial opportunities for the entrepreneur. hostels for tribal children, funded by the government's universal education programmes, are equipped with solar lanterns to help children study at night."


Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

Need to replace your Library roof? Planted roofs revisited

Need a new roof?  Renovating your existing roof? 


BBG still from vid VisCentRoof The beautiful and leading edge Brooklyn Botanic Garden is showcasing their new 10,000 square foot roof garden with its installation of 40,000 plants on the roof of BBG’s new Visitor Center.


Here's their vid, showing construction sequence 

 The living roof will change throughout the seasons, its grasses, bulbs, and perennial wildflowers attracting local pollinators and visitors alike.

 Brooklyn ot gard art at gardenWhile you're at it why not look around the  BBG site?  It will warm you up and remind you that Spring will come.

Japanese Gate at BBG

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

show the world what your environment means to you




Check out this link to theUnited Nations Environment Programme logoUnited Nations Environment Programme UNEP environment for development.


They have teamed up with musicians and artists, treehugger and piictu. Here is a link to the page where you can sign up with  piictu on your iPhone or iTouch  to submit photos of the environment around you.


Add your 'insights', good or bad to the photo record.  Show others around the world what your environment means to you.  Piictu

Green economy UNDon't limit your photos to ones of the outside. The interior environment in your library is as important as the one outside your walls.

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

ProQuest offers free .pdf promotional materials for your Library

ProQuest has just published a Public Library Toolkit.

There are easy to edit .pdf files for your library to use.  You will also find sample Tweets!

You can "access...complimentary bookmarks, customizable posters and fliers, digital commercials, and other tools designed to help you promote your public library’s on-line resources" here on the ProQuest site

Here are some examples of posters and book marks designed to get your library users' attention and promote your library...

   ProQuest PDF BookMark1  Happy editing.

ProQuest PDF Poster 2

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

High-Tech 'Hackerspaces' in Libraries - the Maker Station

There's a 50-foot trailer in the parking lot of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, IN.

Inside you will find what Library director Jeff Krull says is "a resource to the community that individuals would not be able to have access to on their own."

Maker-station-interior_wide Fort Wayne Allen Co LibHe's right on the money!  In this trailer he is walking the talk - demonstrating his philosophy about today's libraries. 

Mr. Krull shows his community what he believes...that a "library as not being in the book business, but being in the learning business and the exploration business and the expand-your-mind business."

We love this!  Check out just what is inside this trailer - here's the whole article from NPR, 11 December 2011 audio of interview included.

Our thanks to NPR and  Viral Optimism, for their article

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

very cool site for sore eyes and spirits-librarians look this up

One of the coolest pro-library celeb photos I've seen.  A Prayer for Owen Meany is my favourite book and Gosling is from Cornwall, ON.  Awwwww!

HEY GIRL Ryan Gosling Owen Meany Capture

thank you:

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

Here to stay - in another form - keeping up to client needs

People are using libraries to fulfill different needs as we roar into the 21st Century. 2011-11-30-1103libraries percent internet usage HuffPost 1Dec11

This Huffington Post article sums it up well - all we have to do now is design physical spaces so that they are flexible.  Users needs morph - so must our buildings.

Here's the article: Good Read!

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

Prefab Straw Bale Building

U of Nottingham straw bale buidingUniversity of Nottingham has built   prefabricated straw bale building.

There are many ways to get the best building that meets your needs.  Don't limit your ideas at any tme during your design process.

See this little vid about the idea behind it and the way it is built in this film commissioned by Make and The University of Nottingham. from

Prefab straw bldg Nott U_gatwawalls.jpg.492x0_q85_crop-smart

 Here is the text from the Make website:

Construction was completed in May 2011 on a new building for the University of Nottingham which brings together the School of Biosciences and the School of Veterinary and Medical Sciences.

The project is the first stage of a 20-year visionary masterplan which aims to expand the Sutton Bonington Campus and enhance its reputation as a leading destination for the study of plant and animal sciences.The landmark building, with a value of £5.2 million, was designed to accommodate a wide range of different functions – offices, laboratories, seminar and computer rooms – while comfortably providing for many different users, including researchers, students, teachers and administration staff.

To maximise the use of the space, the efficiency of the floorplate reaches an impressive 80 per cent. Consciously contextual, the design was influenced by the campus's agricultural heritage and strong sustainability policy. Taking inspiration from the rhythm of the line of trees adjacent to the site, the facade is innovatively formed from prefabricated modular straw bale panels, locally produced using straw sourced from the University's own farmland.Each 14m long panel consists of a cross-laminated timber frame filled with compressed straw and finished externally with render to provide a breathable coating that prevents decay and protects the straw from the external environment. These panels were prefabricated in an off-site 'flying factory' using local labour and delivered ready to be put in place.

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

old rule - current application - make way for the new materials

When we talk to librarians about building new, renovating their spaces or moving collections, the first thing we stress is WEEDING THE COLLECTION. 

Having just helped restock shelves in a lovely, beautifully designed library I know the pain of placing hundreds of pieces of materials on to new shelves when they haven't yet been weeded!

Take a look at this little article in GOOD by to reinforce your commitment to making space for new materials in your library.

copy and paste to see blog post in GOOD on line


Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

Dynamic glass technology - SageGlass electronically tintable glass.

Builiding a new library or addition? 

 This dynamic glass (as in not passive energy technology) tints automatically or on demand to control sunlight, without shades or blinds. SageGlass® - SAGE

It takes less electricity to operate 2,000 square feet of SageGlass than it does to power a single 60-watt light bulb.  I think, if you have the will and the resources, this option is well worth a good hard look. 

SageGlass’ electrochromic coating consists of five layers of ceramic material. Applying a low voltage of electricity darkens the coating as lithium ions and electrons transfer from one electrochromic layer to another electrochromic layer.  How it Works - Technology - SAGE

Reversing the voltage polarity causes the ions and electrons to return to their original layer, causing the glass to return to its clear state

This solid-state reaction is controlled through a very low voltage power supply (less than 5V DC). A darkened state enables SageGlass to absorb and radiate away the sun’s unwanted heat and glare. A clear state allows you to maximize daylight and solar energy.

SAGE Electrochromics that can be switched from clear to tinted with the click of a button. The glass can also be programmed to respond to changing sunlight and heat conditions.  

Zoning is also an option, meaning that panes that are hit by direct sunlight can tint, while ones receiving indirect sunlight can stay clear. (ref: 4 High-Tech Projects Making Cities More Energy Efficient )

West holiwood library_sageglass

Here is an photo from the SAGEGLASS BLOG: Architecture Review: West Hollywood Library among top works - Uncategorized - Sustainability - Glass in Architecture - Daylighting benefits - Brilliant Views - SAGE



Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

Roadmap to a Successful New Library Building - the SLIDES & NOTES

LMIMakingTheCase_CoverSlide_10July2011 For those of you who are interested in accessing the slide presentation that we gave at the Library Management Institute at Arcadia University a week they are in .pdf format.

Download 2011-Library-Management-Institute-Conference

  Call out button on Adobe version of LMI Roadmap slide show




 To see the notes, right click or hover on the call out button at the upper left corner of the slide.


Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

A big thank you to our workshop participants and to Bob Kieserman at the Library Management Institute

Yesterday we welcomed seven people our workshop - Roadmap to a Successful New Building.  Thank you all for your participation and for sharing your experiences. I will have the slides and our notes posted here within the week.

Arcadia University is a little jewel of a campus with "more than 4,000 students choose from among 75 fields of study."  We were impressed with the physical therapy and physician assistant degrees that they offer.  They have a fascinating range of programs: Arcadia University








Bob Kiserman and Ms.Timothy of the Library Management Institute LMI, and the guest speakers were welcoming and accomodating; the roster of workshop topics was timely and useful; the presenters were steeped in the knowledge of their subjects that comes with years of life experience and we wish we could have stayed and gone to many of the workshops ourselves!

ArcadiaCastle_themostat_10July2011_1518 I can't resist adding this photo:  It's a thermostat on the marble wall of the 'Ladies' in the castle building - end of the 19th century technology!  Take a closer look at the bottom when you roll over the pop out image.

Our appreciation also to Ann Marie Mazdiack and the Southern Ontario Library System for allowing us to refer to their Library Development Guide #5 - Making the Case for your Library Building Project that we authored for them.  SOLS publications

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

What love can do! ShelvAR - augmented reality app finds books - are you ready for this?

Augmented Reality Library reshelving finding Are you ready to incorporate augmented reality (AR) apps to keep titles in order on the shelves in your library? 

The iPhone app, called ShelvAR, scans a dozen book spines at once and detects errant titles. Viewing the shelf through a tablet PC, the user sees incorrectly filed books highlighted, and on-screen arrows point to their correct place on the shelf. One Per Cent: Augmented reality app keeps libraries tidy.

Is the time and cost of placing labels on all the titles off set by the time wasted searching for mis-shelved books worth it?  Automatic sorters do this in large libraries that have automated book drop sorters.  Would this be worth it for your smaller library with volunteers or interns reshelving your titles?

Bo Brinkman is an associate professor of computer science and software engineering at Miami University, in Ohio. A specialist in augmented reality and computer ethics, he happens to be married to the university’s art-and-architecture librarian. Hearing his wife talk about trying to motivate student workers to do more shelf-reading got Mr. Brinkman thinking about creative solutions to the problem. The app he came up with, tentatively called Shelvar, relies on special tags—kind of like QR codes—attached to the books’ spines. Each tag “exactly represents the call number” of each book.

See video of Dr. Brinkman's demonstration at this link. Augmented reality - library tasks  

Information on this post taken from:

 The Chronicle of Higher Education website, "the No. 1 source of news, information, and jobs for college and university faculty members and administrators.    Based in Washington, D.C., The Chronicle has more than 70 writers, editors, and international correspondents.   Online, The Chronicle is published every weekday and is the top destination for news, advice, and jobs for people in academe. The Chronicle's audited Web-site traffic is routinely more than 14 million pages a month, seen by more than 1.7 million unique visitors."


NewScientist, OnePercent Blog.

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

we need to talk...

How are you going to plan the spaces in your new library when the very concept of a 'library as a physical place' is being redefined by how your community uses technology?

Steelecase area computer station 2 Librarians are talking.  In journals, newsletters, on LinkedIn, at conferences about how they can manage the demand placed on them, their staff and library buildings by patrons who expect their library to provide them the capability to use technologies to help them with research and homework, job searches and internet connectivity. 

Librarians are engaged in conversations about the future of libraries and the future of librarianship and recruitment of new people into the profession; people  who are equiped to deal with ever changing technological advances.

Central_lounge "There’s a cadre of LIS students coming up who would jump at the chance for jobs in digital media labs or the Information Commons. Before that can happen, however, library leadership must move beyond the lending/reference model to a broader view of what’s possible in a community-based space focused on helping people." (LJ, Apr 2011)

In a recent Library Journal article, Stuck in the Past | Office Hours, By Michael Stephens, Apr 15, 2011, about the reasons people want to become librarians, Mr. Stephens asks some hard questions about the roles and 'evolution of ...(the) services' provided by librarians of the future.  

Teenareaopen In our facilitations and webinars, we have been emphasising the importance of marketing libary services in communities and providing felexible spaces in library buildiing plans.  These concepts are also brought out strongly in Mr. Stephens' article.

"We need a course in library school devoted to teaching people to build spaces both physical and virtual (my emphasis) for constituents to come together. We need to prioritize marketing and branding these spaces and services consistently. Doing so will help us in creating, maintaining, and evaluating the Information Commons."

How do you see your library building and your staff meeting these needs, not in five years, not in two but next year at this time?

credit: steelecase multiperson workspaces

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

new meaning to 'blue sky' ideas

Morris Arboretum Tree adventure 2

Planning a new library?  Let your imagination soar.  Take inspiration from this adventurous and delightful design: the Morris Arboretum Tree Adventure. Morris Arboretum / ArchDaily

"Suspended 50 feet above the forest floor, this network of walkways (450-feet in length) provides a bird’s eye view of the forest, complete with a giant Bird’s Nest, Squirrel Scramble rope, and many vista platforms."

What a dream, to read in a tree house.  Even better, to have a whole library up there in the leaves and sky.  This brilliant little project is, unfortunately not a library...BUT designs like this one can inspire us all to new heights for our library design.

Morris Arboretum’s Tree Adventure exhibit Out on a Limb, designed by , was the 2010 AIA Philadelphia Design Excellence Gold Medal Winner, 2010 AIA Pennsylvania Architectural Excellence Award, 2010 “Best of Philly” Award, and the 2010 American Association of Museums Excellence in Exhibition Design Award.  

Morris Arboretum Tree adventure 3

Morris Arboretum Tree adventure 1


If you don't envision your perfect solution for your library's design challenges, you will not get a library that meets your community's needs.

When the serious design phase begins with your architect, you will make compromises. 

Your imagined ideas will come up against hard reality.


Let your imagination soar;  take it and your common sense with you throughout the design process and beyond. Morris Arboretum Tree adventure 4



credits:Architects: Metcalfe Architecture & Design
Location: , ,
Consultant: Forever Young Treehouse, Inc
Structural Engineers: CVM Engineering
Construction Managers: CVM Construction
Civil Engineers: Hunt Engineering Company
Lighting Designers: Grenald Waldron Associates
Exhibit Designers: Sparks Exhibits and Environments
Photographs: Paul Warchol

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

is it an album cover? is it art? yes, it's a book cover!

'Visual time/space' is where my mind lives.  As the 'visual' half of this team, I am attracted to aesthetics as much as I am to functional praticalities. 

Album sleves book covers   I am delighted by these book covers.  Take a look book covers/album sleeves echo the theme of the novel.  See more about the man behind the imagination in an interview with Professional Photographer in 2010 Interview.

You may recognise some of your favourite albums in this neat flip video of his collected covers The Record Books : Volume 1 | Book Preview.

Here's the article that first caught my eye Christophe Gowens reported - photo: Mother Jones, same site.



Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

'Greening' your library - start simply

Energy conservation in our libraries can be as simple as installing a timer equipped thermostat on your heating/air conditioning unit.

This article Timer on your Thermostat from warns us about the difficulty programming and using some programmable thermostats.

  Thermostat But Librarians are more than up to the challenge!  It's worth it in savings to your operating budgets.

source:Treeehugger main

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

To ad or not to ad...what will be the answer?

Miguel Helft of the New York Times asks, "Is the tantalizing dream of a universal library dead?" (Published: April 3, 2011).

Is it? Maybe not.  In March of this year, a New York federal district court judge, Denny Chin (now sitting as a judge in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit), acknowledged that “the creation of a universal digital library (by Google) would benefit many,” but said that the proposed agreement (by Google) was “not fair, adequate and reasonable.” because, "it would have granted Google a “de facto monopoly” and the right to profit from books without the permission of copyright owners". NYT 22 March 2011

Europeana_think_culture_logo_top_5 There are those who do want to have a universal digital library - without commercial advertisers.  Europe is already far ahead of the United States in an effort to digitize information to be read in a commercial free web site, Europeana, Europeana that already has some 15 million "works of art, books, music and video held by the cultural institutions of member countries".

"Unlike in Europe, where national libraries are usually centralized and backed by governments, the United States has a disparate network of independent institutions that have different missions and serve different populations", and is playing catch up in this field.

"...the settlement (with Google that) was rejected in federal court last month, in part because it turned copyright law on its head, giving Google the right to profit from a book unless its author or publisher objected. This was a particular problem for “orphan books,” out of print titles whose authors and publishers cannot be easily found. Since no one else would be able to obtain a license to those books, Google would have a de facto monopoly on millions of texts.

The digital public library will face the same problem" NYT 3 April 2011

No matter what happens, who does it or how fast this project evolves, the affect on our libraries as we know them will be profound.  I suggest that we will be well placed in our communities when we plan properly for and develop spaces for people to read and be together in our libraries.  The delivery system for knowledge and information will change but we humans will always seek each other out for company and discourse.  Libraries are already here and changing to meet these human needs.


Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

Whistler Public Library - first LEED® Gold certified library in Canada

Whistler BC

This is one beautiful library! Whistler Public Library

Respect for the surrounding landscape, the natural environment and the needs of the community (it has showers for bicycle and cross country ski commuters) has produced a stunning and ecologically efficient library design. 

Although I have not experienced the library myself, it looks like one that I would want to be in and appreciate - right up to it's grassed roof.


Check out this site and the photos.  WhistlerPL_7 Hughes Condon Marler Architects

You'll want to ski and hike and read all at once.



photos: Hughes Condon Marler Architects.

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.

How we get from here to there...signs are not the answer

Can you read a map? Can you find your way back out of a building that you are visiting for the first time?  

Wayfinding is not a skill all of us possess to the same degree.  For instance, I 'see' a building in 3-D; I know that restrooms are usually placed in a building's core - find the elevator - find the restroom. It's a snap.  For me.

Not everyone has this training or 'view'.  We all navigate through the streets and corridors of our days in whatever manner that serves us well and gets us to that important meeting, the elevator, the restroom - the exit!

I am a strong advocate for a clear architectural design that allows the occupants to navigate through a building easily and safely.  I believe that good design is simple and logical design. 

It seems cognitive scientist, Laura Carlson at the University of Notre Dame can back up my 'instinctual' practice with cold hard fact. Laura Carlson, Notre Dame I love it when that happens! She is "figuring out how we can stay un-lost" ...(when we figure out how to get where we want to go.)

WIRED magazine has a short piece about her work (April 2011, pg.38) written by Katherine Gammon.  Check it out.  Ms. Carlson points to various strategies we can use to  find our way through our built environment. We form pictures in our minds of the building and our route or we use a mental bird's eye view.  We navigate by paying attention to objects so we can use them to retrace our steps.  We 'fix' images of objects or intersections in our minds so that we can construct our mind's eye map.

This quote from her work best sums up my approach to design.  I thank her for it.  "If you see handwritten signs pointing you to an exit, that's a good indicator that it's not a well designed building."

When you are designing your library renovation or addition, keep this in mind.  Ask your designer how easily your patrons can find what they are looking for in your library. Man before maze

Helping you achieve the library design you need through experience and architectural programming.