Use research to build people-friendly libraries

Contact: Larra Clark

Project Manager, ORS

(312) 280-2129


For Immediate Release

Updated May 30, 2008

Use research to build people-friendly libraries

Georgia Tech’s Robert Fox added to panel

CHICAGO – Planning for new or renovated libraries has changed dramatically during the past decade. Design now places users at the center of planning, and successful libraries must understand how patrons currently use our spaces.

At “Your Library, Your Space: Using Research to Make Libraries People Friendly,” a panel of public and academic librarians and a space planner will discuss how to use qualitative research methods to enhance institutional missions and social dimensions of learning and community. The program will take place 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Monday, June 30, as part of the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif.

Librarians and architects traditionally have used surveys, demographic information and other quantitative criteria to build functional spaces. In this session, participants will learn how qualitative methods – such as observation, focus groups and interviews – can be successfully deployed to inform renovations and new building design.

Karen McPheeters, director of the Farmington (N.M.) Public Library, and Sharon Rowlen, designer, space planner and owner of Group3Planners, will discuss research methods used to design new public libraries. In a speaker update, Robert Fox, associate director of the Georgia Tech University Library & Information Center, will review the renovation process the library used to better support the changing needs of students and faculty, as well as the evaluation methods used to measure success. Rochelle Logan, chair of the ALA Committee on Research and Statistics (CORS), will moderate.

This program is the first in a series created by CORS to present practical applications of qualitative research. CORS is the advisory committee to the ALA Office for Research and Statistics,, and facilitates research and related activities in all units of ALA, especially activities related to library statistics.