A space needs assessment is a process that documents and analyzes the space needs of a library. A space needs assessment should be conducted by the library director and board. In some instances, a library could also work with a building consultant.
Libraries looking to meet the Future-Focused level of the North Dakota Library Coordinating Council (NDLCC) Standards for Public Libraries need to perform a space needs assessment every 3–5 years.
Benefits of a Space Needs Assessment:
- Advocacy – A library could use the findings of an assessment to advocating for new shelving, a new building, new children, teen, or adult spaces, etc.
- By conducting a space needs assessment, “librarians and trustees can obtain a general estimate of their library’s space needs based on their library’s underlying service goals” (Public Library Space Needs: A Planning Outline).
- With a space needs assessment, “planners can assess the adequacy of their library’s existing overall square footage…” (Public Library Space Needs: A Planning Outline).
- “An estimate of the library’s overall space need can be used to evaluate whether the existing space is sufficient or whether an expansion is warranted” (Key Issues in Building Design).
- Public Library Space Needs: A Planning Outline (Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction) – This narrative outline and corresponding worksheet can help public library staff and trustees estimate their library’s future space needs to determine whether more comprehensive facility planning should be conducted.
- Library Buildings and Construction: Library Space Planning (Connecticut State Library) – Using this Guide and its accompanying Worksheet, librarians and trustees can obtain a general estimate of their library’s space needs, and help initiate a larger facilities planning process.
- Resources for Space Planning in Libraries (WebJunction) – Whether you are planning a new building or renovating an old one, you will need to develop a detailed space plan that takes into account the actual space needs to meet your library’s mission and service plan. Library space planning expert, Linda Demmers of Libris Design has put together a guide to some of the best resources and tools for library space planning as well an an introduction to the lingo.
- Key Issues in Building Design (IFLA – the space needs section starts on page 6) –Based on the IFLA Library Buildings and Equipment Section’s Library Building Guidelines, this short publication summarizes the key points to take into consideration when designing a new or refurbished library building.
Worksheets, Spreadsheets, & Forms:
- Library Space Planning Guide Worksheet (Connecticut State Library)
- Managing for Results Facilities Workforms (E-Learn Libraries)
- Space Needs Worksheet (Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction)
- Simple Space Planning Spreadsheet (WebJunction)