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Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Resource Guide Collection

Developing a Library Building Program: Essential Elements

State Regulations say:

605 CMR 6.06(2)(a): A completed library building program using a 20-year horizon...shall include:

1. A current community analysis including demography, location, governmental organization and community structure.

2. An institutional analysis including history of the library, philosophy of library service, staffing, library collections, finances and a brief history of the previous and current planning efforts for improvements to the physical plant.

3. A section on facility space requirements including a description of space needs by program area and relationships between the areas, and addressing the requirements and implications of new technologies and new information formats.

4. A summary of facility space requirements in the form of a table.

Essential Elements

  1. A concise history of the library and the community
  2. Community analysis with demographics and 20-year projections
  3. The library's mission, values, and service roles
  4. Previous and current facility and organizational planning efforts, if applicable
  5. Description of the existing building
  6. Analysis of current collections and services
  7. Pertinent trends and statistics, including staffing and public use
  8. Special circumstances for your library and/or your community
  9. A Needs Assessment
  10. Area descriptions & adjacencies
  11. Site & exterior considerations
  12. Requirements for:
    • Sustainability
    • Accessibility
    • Security
    • Acoustics
    • Data & Telecommunications
    • Lighting & electrical
    • Furniture, fixtures & equipment
    • Ergonomics
    • Signage
  13. Photographs with descriptive captions (site, building exterior, building interior) of existing facility as well as potential new locations, if applicable

What, not how

The building program must concentrate on telling the architect what must be done, not how it should be done! The major contribution made by the architect to the project is skill in design. Therefore, the program should deal in concepts, information and data. No attempt should be made to draw floor plans or to use other devices to force a particular solution on the design professionals.

--From Planning Library Buildings and Facilities: From Concept to Completion (1989), p. 44, by Raymond M. Holt