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The academic library building in the digital age: A study of new library construction and planning, design, and use of new library space.
This study investigated recent academic library construction across U.S. not-for-profit, four-year or above colleges and universities. The first phase of this study identified 85 stand-alone academic library buildings or significant additions completed between 2003 and 2008. Statistical procedures were used to identify relationships between institutional...
This study investigated recent academic library construction across U.S. not-for-profit, four-year or above colleges and universities. The first phase of this study identified 85 stand-alone academic library buildings or significant additions completed between 2003 and 2008. Statistical procedures were used to identify relationships between institutional variables and new library buildings. The second phase of the study consisted of a survey sent to each of these new libraries. This survey investigated planning factors motivating new library projects; specific attributes and characteristics of the space; and usage. Results of the first phase of this study indicated a decline in new academic library construction over the past 12 years. Between 2003 and 2008, the highest concentration of new libraries was built at private, residential institutions, although these numbers did not exceed expected values based on the number of these institutions in the U.S. higher education population. Public, doctoral granting-institutions building new academic libraries far exceeded expected values based on the number of these institutions in the population. There was also a slightly higher percentage of library construction at undergraduate institutions than in previous periods. Results also indicated significantly higher building costs per student and greater square footage per student for libraries at private institutions. Results from the survey showed a shift in emphasis from space for physical collections to information technology and the changing needs of students as the strongest motivators for planning new buildings. In addition, the majority of respondents reported that their libraries were either maintaining static levels or reducing the amount of print material purchased for collections. Results also showed that significantly more learning space is being included in new academic libraries. Multiuse is also becoming more common, as is the library's role as a center of campus cultural and social activity. Finally, results indicated significant increases in current and anticipated use of these new libraries compared to the old facilities. Conclusions from this study will support decision-making by providing university leaders, library planners, and practitioners with comprehensive information on recent academic library construction as well as emerging and important trends in library planning, design, and use.
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