Our academic library database encompasses over 80 institutions and includes general contextual information, programming information, and detailed seat count and type analysis. We bring this data to bear on the design and planning recommendations that we make for our current library clients by identifying their peer group and drawing comparisons. Each institution is of course unique, so we use this peer group assessment as a benchmarking tool and a way to ask questions about why/how/what our client may need. We find that our balanced approach, in which we bolster anecdotal information and observations with empirical evidence and analysis of peer institutions, resonates with our higher education clients from librarians, to trustees, to administrators, to faculty and students.
Approximately half of the libraries in our database date from the last decade, and the balance from before that time. This 10-year window gives us a good inflection point that we use to understand current and established trends in library design and planning, as compared to older projects. Although concentrated in New England, the spectrum of academic libraries that we survey spans the country.