Transforming Academic & Corporate Libraries for a Digital Age

Libraries are in the midst of a dramatic metamorphosis into vibrant information centers designed for collaborative learning and work. Everything about a library is changing – from the way information is being provided and used, to the way that people are working, to the functions that furniture and spaces must perform.

At the 2009 EDUCAUSE conference, Syracuse University Dean of Libraries Suzanne E. Thorin bluntly said: “Let’s face it: the library, as a place, is dead. Kaput. Finito. We need to move on to a new concept of what the academic library is.”

Simmons 300x200 Transforming Academic & Corporate Libraries for a Digital Age

These carrels at Simmons College were crafted to fit together in flexible arrangements while providing ample surface space for technology.

Clearly, libraries as quiet places of solitary research packed with stacks of books are vanishing. But does that mean that libraries are dead?  Far from it.

In a June 2010 report, the Association of College and Research Libraries outlined the following top 10 trends:

1. The definition of the library space will change as physical space is repurposed and virtual space expands.

2. Changes in higher education will require that librarians possess diverse skill sets.

3. Increased collaboration will expand the role of the library within the institution and beyond.

4. Libraries will continue to lead efforts to develop scholarly communication and intellectual property services.

5. Technology will continue to change services and required skills.

6. Explosive growth of mobile devices and applications will drive new services.

7. Academic library collection growth is driven by patron demand and will include new resource types.

8. Digitization of unique library collections will increase and require a larger share of resources.

9. Demands for accountability and assessment will increase.

10. Budget challenges will continue and libraries will evolve as a result.

Academic and corporate libraries are in the midst of a dramatic transformation that shows no signs of slowing down.  As change becomes the new norm, it becomes more important than ever to design and furnish spaces for maximum flexibility.

For a copy of our complete white paper entitled, “Transforming Academic & Corporate Libraries: How Furniture and Facilities are Adapting to a Digital Age,” please email your request to:


Author: Dovetail

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