Building Blocks: Size and Condition


Some principles about size
The size of a library is fundamentally related to the population served.
Population *3 growth increases the need for library service. Both new libraries and larger libraries are needed.
Library use will increase in response to increasing population.
Improved hours, improved collections, and more public use terminals also increase library use.
Like many public agencies, library facilities are most economical (due to economies of scale) when they serve more densely populated areas. However, the rural nature of a substantial portion of the County and the lack of public transportation in rural areas makes smaller facilities in outlying communities essential. Our goal is to provide equitable balanced service countywide.
What is the right size? There are two methodologies for determining library space needs.
Per Capita Method. The projected population is multiplied by .5 square feet to achieve a total square foot size. This is a nationally accepted standard in use for decades. This is quick method, but not community specific nor does it meet the needs of a modern day library with a high need for computer labs, spaces for children and teens, meeting room spaces, and computer terminals.
Service Needs Assessment. This method is more time consuming, but more accurate, and reflects the true needs of the community. We have chosen to use this method. A table in Appendix F lists the details for each library. At this time the sizes are proposed based on standards. Before a library is built, library staff holds numerous meetings with community citizens to refine the program to meet the specific needs of that community. A description of the components of service and their corresponding standards follows.
  • Anticipated Collection need.
  • Electronic Services
  • Tables and Seating
  • Library Programming Space: In Fresno County, library specific goals are set by type of library for the kind of library program to be offered for children, teens and adults. Some of the programs are appropriately given in meeting rooms; others are given in spaces designed specifically for that purpose such as a children’s programming area.
  • Library Service Desks: Small libraries provide all services (that is, information, registration, check in and out) to all age levels from a single service counter. Larger libraries provide multiple service counters: Reference, teens, children, check out, and check in. Self-service counters for check out and check in are also provided in libraries where the purchase of a self-check in machine is cost effective. Each public service desk requires a minimum of 175’ square feet per person.
  • Meeting and Conference Rooms
  • Staff Work Space
  • Adjunct Services: many organizations and businesses offer products and services that complement a public library’s offering. Examples include a copy or print service, a Friends of the Library gift shop and used book store, coffee or refreshment service, restaurants, and other businesses who target education and/or continuing education. Such partnerships meet the needs of users by providing products and services when and where they are most convenient. Such partnerships emulate the service of successful retail ventures. An additional amount of square footage has been added to Central, Regional and Branch Libraries for these adjunct services.
  • Miscellaneous Equipment and Furniture: Dictionary, atlas, display cases, book security systems, art and exhibit galleries.
  • Storage calculated at 5 percent of net square feet.
  • Finally, 25% of the total building size is needed for non-assigned or non designated spaces including electrical, data, and telephone rooms; terminal servers; corridors; rest rooms; lobbies; stairwells; mechanical and equipment rooms; and custodial closets.
  • The Headquarters Library provides administration and support to all the libraries and has special space needs. The Central Library provides unique and countywide services. The space requirements of both of these spaces are outlined in a building program for the Central Library and Headquarters.
  • For the Talking Book Library for the Blind the components of the building are taken from the Revised Standards and Guidelines of Service for the Library of Congress Network of Libraries for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, 1995. This service may be co-located with another branch or Central or with another service agency or stand alone as a library. Final choice among these options should be made with input from members of Talking Book Library for the Blind's community. The community wishes to consider many options and work towards the solution, which is most immediate. See Appendix K for details.
  • The table on the next page shows projected population and size of library locations for the year 2020. The table is arranged in order of need from highest to lowest.

Facility Condition: several criteria were used.

General Facility interior and exterior condition, maintenance, and appearance, including safety for public and staff, bracing and anchoring of shelving and other equipment for earthquake safety. A public library is a community asset and should be designed and maintained accordingly.
Parking Lot Size
Compliance with American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Heating, Ventilation and Air Condition (HVAC) needs
Structural Issues

The table in Appendix C provides detailed information about each location related to facility condition.

*3 Population Projections: the population projections used in this document are based on traffic analysis zones, as these provided the level of detail needed for projecting populations for the library’s 33 locations. Actual population growth and the location of the population growth will depend on the economy and political decisions made by the governing agencies of the County and the cities in the county. For example if there were a heavy emphasis on agriculture, growth would shift to the westside of the county, a de-emphasis would limit population growth.

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