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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the authors

The 21st century has seen a transformational shift in the design of college and research libraries, one focused more on user experience and engagement than on collections. Dramatic changes in library design have been driven by changes in the core functions of universities and colleges: the reliance on digital tools and content, integration of technologies into pedagogy and research, and emphasis on the active and social aspects of learning, inclusion, and community engagement. Planning for these vibrant spaces needs to incorporate new program and staffing strategies, robust technical infrastructure, human-centered design, and flexibility to enable ongoing change.

Designing Libraries for the 21st Century explores these trends and identifies promising strategies for new or renovated library space. The book features an impressive array of authors drawn largely from the conference of the same name, providing guidance, principles, and a wealth of creative ideas for spaces, technology, programs, and partnerships. Twenty-nine chapters packed with full color images and illustrations explore these themes:

  • 21st-Century Academic Libraries in an Evolving Environment
  • Aligning with the Institutional Vision
  • Working with Architects, Designers, and Planners
  • Key Issues in Planning
  • Collaborations and Convergence
  • Leadership, Organizational Change, and New Staff Roles
  • Programming for Research, Learning, and Community
  • Looking Ahead 

Often major building projects focus primarily on the physical facility, but this volume makes the case for designing libraries in a much more holistic fashion. Today all types of libraries are engaged in reimagining their roles and the spatial design through which this new vision will be realized.

Both inspirational and practical, Designing Libraries for the 21st Century is a must read for librarians, architects, planners, academic leaders, and anyone interested in the future of libraries.

This book is also available as an open access edition at

Tom Hickerson, Joan K. Lippincott, and Leonora Crema

Section I. 21st-Century Academic Libraries in an Evolving Environment
Chapter 1. Permeable Thinking and Design: Libraries and the Changing Knowledge Ecosystem
Tom Hickerson
Chapter 2. Library as Platform: The Transformed Library’s Impact on Teaching, Learning, and Research
Gregory K. Raschke
Chapter 3. Library as Laboratory: Transforming Scholarly Services and Spaces
Harriette Hemmasi
Chapter 4. 21st-Century Libraries for Students: Learning and Belonging
Joan K. Lippincott
Section II. Aligning with the Institutional Vision
Chapter 5. “A Positive Disruption within the Urban Fabric”: The Charles Library and Institutional Mission at Temple University
Joseph P. Lucia
Chapter 6. The University of Arizona Student Success District: Vital Signs of Library Alignment with the Institutional Vision at Scale
Shan C. Sutton
Chapter 7. Vision, Advocacy, Narrative, Outreach: Strategic Communication for New Library Buildings
John E. Ulmschneider
Section III. Working with Architects, Designers, and Planners
Chapter 8. Translations: Optimizing Collaborations between Librarians and Their Designers
Andrew Frontini
Chapter 9. It’s a Team Effort: Roles and Responsibilities of Project Team Members
Stephen Dantzer
Chapter 10. The Role of the Librarian on the Project Team
Patrick Deaton
Chapter 11. The Designer’s Lens: How Architects See Space
Janette Blackburn and Carole Wedge
Section IV. Key Issues in Planning
Chapter 12. From Collections to Connections: Rethinking the Print Presence and Use of Space on Campus
Leonora Crema
Chapter 13. Technology and Interactive Experiences
Kristin Antelman and David Woodbury
Chapter 14. Service Innovation from Outside In and Inside Out
Ameet Doshi and Elliot Felix
Chapter 15. Design Inclusive Spaces with Accessibility and Universal Design
Carli Spina
Section V. Collaborations and Convergence
Chapter 16. Cocreating the Commons: Campus Partnerships at the Heart of Two Library Space Design Projects at the University of Miami
Kelly E. Miller, Roxane Pickens, and Kineret Ben-Knaan
Chapter 17. A Renovation Solidifies a Partnership: The Odegaard Writing and Research Center
John Danneker
Chapter 18. The Convergence of Knowledge and Culture: Collaborations Creating a New Footprint for the Future
Tom Hickerson
Section VI. Leadership, Organizational Change, and New Staff Roles
Chapter 19. Effecting Transformational Change Leads to Transformational Spaces
Mary Ann Mavrinac
Chapter 20. It’s Not a Space, It’s a Philosophy: Designing a High-Purpose Culture within Your Learning Environment
Brian Mathews
Chapter 21. Reimagining the Library Workforce
Catherine Murray-Rust
Section VII. Programming for Research, Learning, and Community
Chapter 22. Foregrounding Users in Humanities-centric Labs
Catherine DeRose and Peter Leonard
Chapter 23. On the Edge: Balancing Space and Services in a Digital Scholarship Program
Liz Milewicz, Joel Herndon, and Brittany Wofford
Chapter 24. Reimagining Special Collections
Mimi Calter
Chapter 25. Supporting the Research Experience: Creating a Hub for Interdisciplinary Collaboration
John Brosz
Chapter 26. An Academic “Ecotone”: The Wilmeth Active Learning Center, Purdue University
James L. Mullins
Chapter 27. Serving the Broad Needs of Community through a Patron-Centered, Partnership-Focused, Inclusive Approach
Sarah Meilleur
Chapter 28. A 21st-Century Program for the Library: Serving the Broad Needs of the Community
Sohair F. Wastawy
Section VIII. Looking Ahead
Tom Hickerson, Joan K. Lippincott, and Leonora Crema
Appendix A. Interview with Tom Hickerson
Joan K. Lippincott
Appendix B. Saluting Joan K. Lippincott
Tom Hickerson
Appendix C. Remembering Susan K. Nutter
Gregory K. Raschke
About the Editors and Contributors

H. Thomas Hickerson

H. Thomas Hickerson’s career includes international leadership in library and museum administration, archives and special collections, technology innovation, and library building design. As an archivist, he guided the Cornell University Library’s archives and rare book programs, serving as President of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) and on the International Council on Archives Executive Board. As a technology innovator, he created campus and international collaborations using emerging technologies to expand access to diverse academic and cultural holdings. In 2006, Tom became Vice Provost at the University of Calgary with a mandate to lead the design of a new model for university libraries. The $205M project to build the Taylor Family Digital Library led to broad recognition and to his founding role in the Designing Libraries for the 21st Century Conference series. His professional leadership includes serving on the Board of the Association of Research Libraries and as President of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries. He is a Cornell University Librarian Emeritus whose recognitions include being named an SAA Fellow and Computerworld Honors Program Laureate for “the use of information technologies for the benefit of society.”

Joan K. Lippincott

Joan K. Lippincott (BA, MLS, PhD) is Associate Executive Director Emerita of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), a joint program of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and EDUCAUSE. At CNI, Joan provided leadership for programs in learning spaces, teaching and learning, digital scholarship, ETDs, and assessment. She served on the boards of the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD), the New Media Consortium (NMC) and on the advisory board for the Horizon Report. Joan was the editor of the EDUCAUSE Review E-Content column and was chair of the Association of College & Research Libraries’ (ACRL) New Publications Board, and served as a member of the ACRL task force that produced the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. She served on the advisory boards of the Learning Spaces Collaboratory and the Learning Space Toolkit project. Joan has consulted with many academic libraries on their space renovation projects and has been on the planning committee for the Designing Libraries for the 21st Century conference since its inception.

Leonora Crema

Leonora Crema (BA, MA, MLS) is a Librarian Emerita at the University of British Columbia. She has exercised a leading role in the design of two new buildings on the UBC campus, the Walter C. Koerner Library and Library PARC, as well as numerous space renovations. Leonora’s roles at UBC have included serving as Associate University Librarian for Client Services, AUL for Planning and Community Relations, and Director of External Relations for the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. Active in professional associations, including as a past President of the British Columbia Library Association, she speaks regularly on topics such as service innovation and library space design. Her career recognitions include a national award for innovation from the Canadian Association of University Business Officers, and a Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries award for outstanding contributions to the consortium. Leonora has been an invited speaker and mentor at library leadership institutes, drawing upon her experiences in coaching early career professionals.