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Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Resource Guide Collection

Developing a Library Building Program: Data Collection Tools

Where to begin?

This downloadable questionnaire helps you focus on what your current building does right and what could be improved. It's a good place to start when embarking on a Needs Assessment.

Field Trip List

Shelving calculation spreadsheet

How do people use your library building?

This "sweep form" enables staff to conduct an exhaustive observational study. For a two-week period, staff members do an hourly sweep of the library, recording patron activity. This data can be collated and will help inform your space allocation decisions for seating, tables, computer stations, etc.

If your library has significant seasonal variations in use, conducting the study once per quarter can help you understand the building and staffing needs at different times of the year.

The form can be tailored to your library's needs, reduced in scope and/or adapted to focus on individual areas or activities. Thanks to the North Vancouver District Library for this document.

Summary Table

One of the requirements for the MPLCP grant program is the inclusion of a "summary of facility space requirements in the form of a table." The link below leads to an Excel spreadsheet with a suggested format, including formulas for total square footage and reader seats. The chart uses the complete list of spaces shown at right; feel free to edit it to fit your needs.