Public Library Space Needs: A Planning Outline

Anders C. Dahlgren, President
Library Planning Associates, Inc.

© June 2009 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.

Note: The following contents links jump to corresponding pages within the PDF version of the publication at The Space Needs Worksheet is available as an Excel worksheet at


Author's note
Preliminaries: Design Population
Step 1 Collection Space
Projecting Collection Size
Calculating Collection Space
Step 2 Reader Seating Space
Step 3 Staff Work Space
Step 4 Meeting Room Space
Step 5 Special Use Space
Step 6 Nonassignable Space
Step 7 Putting It All Together
Step 8 The Next Steps
Appendix A: Selected Bibliography
Appendix B: Space Needs Worksheet
For questions about this information, contact John DeBacher (608) 267-9225