Better Library and Learning Space

By Braunstein, Laura | Reference & User Services Quarterly, Fall 2014 | Go to article overview

Better Library and Learning Space


Braunstein, Laura, Reference & User Services Quarterly


Better Library and Learning Space. Ed. by Les Watson. London: Facet, 2013. 288 p. Paper $100. (ISBN-13: 978-1-85604-763-0).

How can libraries best plan, create, and maintain spaces that foster learning? Although many library buildings have classrooms for formal instruction, more and more libraries are developing and supporting informal spaces where learning takes place outside of the classroom, whether for groups of students or for individuals. This collection takes it as a given that libraries have always been learning spaces, but it specifically examines how two changes--our understanding of learning processes and the impact of technology on learning--have transformed the planning, organization, and management of academic library buildings.

The collection's scope is global; its first section focuses on case studies from six libraries in the United Kingdom, the United States, China, and Australia. Several commonalities emerge: These libraries all focus on situating the library as the geographic and symbolic center of learning on campus and connecting the library to its educational, environmental, and cultural contexts. They also offer a variety of spaces within the library--places for private study and public interaction, as well as semi-private spaces where learners can concentrate but also be energized by the community of learners around them. …

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