Yorba Linda Public Library Space Needs Assessment and Building Program Summary

To view the complete 195 page report, click here.

Summary of Findings

The Yorba Linda Public Library Space Needs Assessment and Building Program confirmed earlier reports' findings that the current, heavily-used library facility has been outgrown by the community and lacks the infrastructure to support the community's service needs. The building's overall size, aging infrastructure and complex interior layout restricts/constrains public demand for library services. Serving the City's 69,273 residents in a building with 28,350 square feet, the facility offers an average 0.41 square feet of building space per person served. Current library industry standards suggest 0.6 to 1.0 square feet as the recommended range for successful, functional library facilities that serve communities similar to Yorba Linda. The current Yorba Linda Library building offers the community 50% less space on a per-capita basis.

The space deficit is compounded by the building's awkward, multilevel interior layout, the result of three successive expansions over the past five decades. Operational functionality has been compromised and, as the building ages, it is increasingly unable to support service innovations or technology requirements.

To meet community library service needs, both current and into the future, the following facility-related service levels are recommended:

         Seating capacity of 290 or 4.1 seats for every 1,000 people served

         Increased public computer access, utilizing both desktop and laptop technology, to provide 104 workstations or 1.5 computers for every 1,000 people served

         Enhanced public programming space, including a large meeting room, dividable into three separate spaces with seating capacity for 300, adequate storage and current AV projection technology

         A Homework Center to facilitate the completion of school assignments by children

         A computer lab to offer hands-on technology training

         A Teen Zone to provide space specifically for teenagers with an adjacent area specifically for pre-teenagers

         A children's storytelling space that seats 100 children

         Six enclosed group study rooms for students, tutoring and similar uses

         Shelving to accommodate a 15% increase to the physical collection of books and AV media for all ages or 3.0 volumes per capita with at total collection size of 210,000 including 12.5% in digital collections

         Open, accessible, easy to navigate public spaces organized on two floors with noisy, active areas clustered on one level and quieter areas for sustained study and research on the other

         Increased incorporation of self service technologies for improved staff productivity

         Efficient interior layouts that enable operation of a larger facility with no staffing increases

         Functional, flexible staff and volunteer work spaces

         Parking to accommodate 153 to 204 vehicles

To accommodate and support the community service needs, the Library will require a facility of approximately 50,820 square feet. Using the City build-out population of 70,000, a facility of this size will provide Yorba Linda residents with an average 0.73 square feet of building space for every person served. Understanding the financial scale of such a major project, staff reduced an earlier recommendation of a nearly 56,000 square foot facility without compromising the fulfillment of all community service needs. The building program section, found on page 28 through 145, identifies general design considerations, spatial adjacencies and all space descriptions for 50,820 square foot new facility.

Library History

To increase the quality of life in the community, public library service has been available in Yorba Linda since 1913. The north side of the current Library facility opened in 1959 at 6,000 square feet to serve a population of 1,198. By the late 1960s Yorba Linda's population had grown to more than 11,000, and a three-story, 18,000 square foot addition on the Library's south side was built and opened in 1971. By the 1990's the population reached 52,000, and a major renovation of the building was conducted to maximize existing space and to add an extra 4,000 square feet which were primarily designated for a used book store run by the Friends of the Library as well as an added entrance and lobby/display area. The renovated facility which opened in 1992 brought the total square footage to 28,350 square feet - only cosmetic improvements (i.e. carpet, paint, etc.) have been made since then**.

In 2003, when the population reached 62,600, a 6,000 square foot addition to the Library's northwest side was considered. However, due to the fact that such an addition would result in loss of parking and would only add space in one section of the Library, the plan was deemed inadequate for the Library's current and future needs.

An initial needs analysis, conducted in 2005 by consultant Leslie Nordby, did not include community input, but determined that every area of the Library needed to be expanded. "A single addition... in one area of the Library will be inadequate to meet the space requirements. In addition, due primarily to the structural constraints involved in two expansions and the aging building, there are deficiencies difficult or unfeasible to correct in the current facility. These include issues of visibility and traffic flow, parking, security, accessibility, temperature control and energy efficiency, location and adjacency of services, and technology infrastructure." The findings of the 2005 needs analysis concluded that at least an additional 11,240 (primarily assignable) square feet were needed to serve a population of 70,000. This recommendation did not include a 30% assumption for non-assignable square feet that is the industry standard for a new facility.

** In 2008 the Library underwent repairs for structural damage due to the failure of several glue-laminated wood beams. The reason for the failure was determined to be the overstressing of the beams that support the upper story. Even though the beams were engineered to support the weight of the building, the beams were overstressed by approximately forty percent. Structural steel improvements were needed to reinforce and secure the affected portion of the upper story. The overall cause of the failure, however, remains undetermined since an invasive infrastructure analysis, which would significantly disrupt service, is necessary.

Library Strategic Plan 2010-2014

In late 2009 the Yorba Linda Public Library Strategic Plan 2010-2014 was adopted and included the following notations in regards to the current facility:

         Library square footage per capita is two-thirds of standard and use of space has been maximized.

         The existing facility and grounds, though attractive and well-used, have many insufficiencies related to the limitations of space that deter attendance including:

   »    parking & seating to meet current demand;

   »    adequate space for collections, programming, storage, library functions, and staff work;

   »    an overbooked community room.

         The Teen Room is a former closet and is inadequate for the emphasis on services to teens.

         The Adult Services area is dark and due to competing uses, noisy.

         The existing facility has other limitations related to its design and age:

   »    structural limits constrict functionality;

   »    space that cannot be well utilized (i.e. around pillars);

   »    congested traffic areas;

   »    service desk locations that are confusing;

   »    an elevator that is 40 years old and functions as a freight elevator;

   »    a facility that is not "green";

   »    not enough electrical outlets to support technology uses.

Additionally, the Library's roof and HVAC system are overdue for replacement, and the inadequate number of restroom facilities needs to be addressed.

In light of these conditions, a major goal was established in the Strategic Plan to ensure that "visitors to the Library will enjoy a comfortable, functional, and inviting facility equipped with innovative technology" by exploring the possibilities of "either a relocated Library building, a branch in the east-end or an expansion of the current library to address the Library's space challenges and lack of adequate parking."


As the Strategic Plan recommended, a space needs assessment and building program were commissioned in July 2010 to address the Library's facility needs to serve a community of the General Plan's build-out population of 70,000 as well as to identify the costs associated with design and construction of a new facility. A library space planning consultant, Kathryn Page, was engaged to first work with Library staff to study the Library's current usage statistics, gather community input and analyze current best professional practices as they pertain to the needs of Yorba Linda. Then, based on the results of this needs assessment, a building program and cost model for a new facility were developed.

Public Input

One of the first steps in the needs assessment process was to gather community input through survey distribution, focus groups and interviews. A statistically valid response to the survey was received with 515 responses submitted either in print or online. A summary of the survey results begins on page eight of the study and full results are found in Appendix A. Overall, respondents were very positive about the Library's services, with 88% noting that the Library met their needs "very well"or "well." There were numerous follow-up comments, however, that suggested an awareness of the need for more space, including requests for "more room in every section", "better parking", "more computers in the adult department", "more books in the teen section"and similar comments.

The focus groups, which are described on pages twelve through fourteen and meeting notes are found in Appendix B, were designed to capture input along generational lines. The groups were assembled as follows: parents to represent children; teenagers; the Library Commissioners to represent the baby boomer generation as well as to contribute their vision for the Library; and members of the Friends of the Library to represent seniors. Approximately 50 people total participated in the focus groups and contributed information about their needs, priorities and recommendations for the future of Yorba Linda's library.

The space planning consultant also interviewed key staff, volunteers and customers to garner further input.

Data Analysis

An analysis of Yorba Linda's demographics as well as the Library's current usage statistics and patterns was the next step in the space needs assessment process. Library usage has increased significantly in the last five years as shown on pages five through seven of the study. Also noteworthy are the increases in all major service areas since the facility's last renovation in 1992: materials circulation has increased by 71%, in-person visits by 54%, program attendance by 342% and computer usage by 688% (public computers were first made available in 1998).

Then, to complete the needs assessment process, the current conditions of the facility were analyzed and compared with current best planning practices for libraries. All areas of the facility were examined - collections/shelving, seating, technology, meeting room/programming space, parking, and operational efficiency in staff work spaces.