What Is a “Program”?
The program defines the uses and other functional requirements for the new library. It is the vision for the new library reduced to words and numbers that the architect then implements through the architectural design process. The program is what the building is used for stated in terms of types of uses, programs, how many books and other materials, how many patrons, staff and so on that we require.
While discussions were still going on with the Galvan Foundation leading to the Memorandum of Understanding for building a new library at the Armory, the Board of Trustees undertook the development of a vision and program for the new library. To support this work the Board hired a library design consultant, Kimberly Bolan & Associates, LLC (rethinkinglibraries.org) , in December 2011 to help develop the program for the new library.
Kim Bolan provided two main services.
Kim provided a structured methodology for gathering information about the present state of library functions and a path to develop a new vision, the program for our new library. This included comparing our present library and the future vision for the library with national standards for libraries of our size.First, an introduction and exploration for the Board, staff, and community about trends in the development of new 21st century libraries around the country and in other parts of the world. This turned out to be a key step because it informed us of the possibilities and opportunities facing us in thinking about a new library.
Lead by Kim, the staff, Board members and volunteers held many meetings and work sessions. A series of focus groups brought almost eighty people from the community, business and government to six sessions where Kimberly gave a presentation on the 21st century library and then lead a discussion to produce more feedback about community requirements. An online survey added the opinions of more than a hundred to the process.
Here is a summary from the consultants report:
The findings of the consultant after four months of study and interaction with the library staff and board and Hudson Library users and non-users indicate that the following (not listed in priority order) need to be key areas of consideration for the Hudson Area Library and are reflected as such in the Space Needs Analysis.
- Significant changes in collection size, quality, and budget must be addressed as outlined in the Collection Analysis. The collection is currently undersized for a library of this service population. Turnover rates are also extremely low. Material quality is also an issue.
- A more streamlined, interactive customer service model should be implemented. This is of particular concern due to the number of volunteers helping to staff the library on a regular basis. This model would include implementation of supported self-service options and rethinking of daily operations and service points.
- Updated, more attractive meeting space, including consideration of a large dividable meeting space for up to 100 people that can be divided into smaller spaces. Small meeting room space was expressed as a need.
- The overall appearance and functionality / technology of all meeting spaces needs to be improved. This not only provides increased opportunity for the Library to become a community gathering space, but also opens up options for potential revenue generation and collaborations with the community.
- In addition to meeting “rooms”, flexible, semi-private collaborative spaces (for 2 – 4 people) for small meetings, individual work, tutoring, etc. should be incorporated.
- Create a “Popular Library” near the entrance of the Library (adjacent to the new main service point) that includes new fiction and nonfiction and all media formats for adults and teens. This should be a highly visible browsing collection.
- Create a main computer area for adults adjacent to the main service point.
- Continue to enhance accessibility and content in the Local History collection.
- Create a multi-functional library environment with quiet areas as well as interactive social spaces.
- Separate computers for teens and children in their own areas.
- Embrace an updated more comfortable look and feel through décor, color, furniture, and better lighting.
- Incorporate a variety of comfortable and flexible and up-to-date furniture options whether tables and chairs, soft seating, etc.
- De-clutter the overall space.
- Install clear, easy-to-understand signage that enhances the user’s experience as well as the overall look and feel of the library. Incorporate digital signage at service points.
- Create an interactive, zoned children’s area that is appealing to ages 0 – 12 as well as parents. Zone the overall children’s space by general age group (e.g., Early Literacy ages 0 – 4, Young School Aged ages 5-8, and Pre-teen ages 9-12), making the content and décor appropriate for all its users. Expand children’s programming space within the Children’s Area to accommodate story times, craft programs, and other general programming for under 30 children.
- Create a separate, appropriately sized, interactive space for teens.
- Provide outdoor access for patrons/customers to read, talk, etc.
These findings with the Space Needs Analysis which provided a guide to how many square feet should be dedicated to each of the functions, how many feet of book shelves and other storage and many more details were forwarded to the architect to be the basis for the design of the library.