Building Assessment Overview


A building program statement is designed to be a set of instructions to an architect for the size and configuration of library facilities and furnishings.  Planning to build is not the same as building planning, of course, and we understand the differences.  We are not architects and we do not draw up architectural plans.  We help libraries to assess their building needs.  Our reports provide architects and builders with important guidelines on the needs that the public and library staff for the effective design and layout of modern library facilities

Long range planning requires thoughtful analysis of the library’s present building and equipment situation as well as projections for the future.  A good plan will detail the replacement cycle for such things as computer workstations and the roof as well as whether there is a need for building upgrades or replacements during the timeframe of the planning period.  We will expect the staff to provide the necessary data for presentation to focus groups and for us to analyze.

Please note that we recognize that while large issues like building or remodeling can be considered in focus groups and surveys, it is the right and responsibility of the Library Board and the City Council to include or not include such items in a Long-Range Plan.  Planning Committees need to understand this.

Some states allocate federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds to provide public libraries consulting on space utilization. These grants pay for professional advice from impartial consultants who provide guidance and recommendations to library staff, city officials and the community about use of existing space. Some states also allocate funds for building planning and limited construction funds.

Including a preliminary building program statement with strong planning committee support can be crucial to local building campaigns.

  • Space needs assessment of current facility: We will help make the best use of the space in the library, and determine the area needed for the library’s programs and services
  • Building Program Review: We will assist the library in writing and/or reviewing the library’s building program statement.
  • ADA compliance – evaluation and planning: We will advise on the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for libraries.
  • Technology assessment and capital planning: We will assist in an inventory of current technology and needs.  We will also suggest a planning cycle for that equipment as well as for building maintenance.
  • WE DO NOT: Provide architectural drawings or detailed building plans!

 Building related tables that we can provide:

We can provide the following reports based on information we gather from the library board and administration.  We will use Chapter 7 of Hennen’s Public Library Planner.  (This chapter, in turn, was based extensively and with permission on the planning document recommended by the state library Building Space Needs Planning)

  • Public library Space Needs Worksheet: Provides summary data on needed square feet for new or expanded building, including meeting rooms, staff workspace, and so forth.
  • Reader Seating Worksheet: Provides summary data on reader seating needed in a new building. Uses national comparison data as well as local input.
  • Public Access Workstation Worksheet: Provides summary data on workstations needed. Uses national comparison data as well as local input.  Note that wireless as well as wired installation options need consideration.
  • Staff Computer Workstations Worksheet: Provides summary data on staff workstations. Uses national comparison data as well as local input.  Note that wireless as well as wired installation options need consideration.
  • Building and Materials Costs Projections: Using a copyrighted interactive spreadsheet, the consultants can provide rough estimates of the total costs for buildings and furnishings by using national cost comparisons that can be refined with state and local considerations.

Building Size Listing

These numbers tell us important things about library buildings in each region of the country.  For example, the smaller the population of the community, the more square-feet per capita we find available.  Librarians that are planning buildings should keep this in mind.  They must also remember when planning a new building the square footage should be above average because the building must stand for the future.  The Southeast and Southwest have the smallest buildings relative to population, while the libraries in the Great Plains have the largest.

 Population   Far West   Great Lakes   Mid Eastern   New England   Plains   Rocky Mts   Southeast   Southwest   Average 
Over 500,000               0.3               0.8               0.6               0.8               0.5               0.7               0.5               0.4               0.5
250,000 to 499,999               0.4               0.7               0.5               0.5               0.3               0.5               0.4               0.5
100,000 to 249,999               0.5               0.6               0.5               0.8               0.4               0.6               0.4               0.4               0.5
50,000 to 99,999               0.5               0.8               0.6               0.7               0.5               0.6               0.5               0.4               0.6
25,000 to 49,999               0.7               0.9               0.6               0.8               0.7               0.7               0.5               0.5               0.7
10,000 to 24,999               0.8               1.0               0.7               0.9               0.8               0.8               0.6               0.5               0.8
5,000 to 9,999               0.9               1.1               0.8               1.1               1.0               1.0               0.7               0.7               0.9
2,500 to 4,999               1.1               1.2               1.0               1.0               1.3               1.1               0.8               0.9               1.1
1,000 to 2,499               1.5               1.6               1.6               1.4               1.7               1.6               1.2               1.3               1.6
Under 1,000               5.8               5.5               4.4               2.2               2.9               2.8               3.2               3.4               3.4
Grand Total               1.6               1.3               1.1               1.2               1.8               1.2               0.7               0.9               1.2



Region State
Far West AK, CA, HI, NV, OR, WA
Great Lakes IL, IN, MI, OH, WI
Mid Eastern DC, DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA
New England CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT
Plains IA, KS, MN, MO, ND, NE, SD
Rocky Mountain CO, ID, MT, UT, WY
South East AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV
South West AZ, NM, OK, TX