Academic Library Planning and Revitalization Institute

Academic Library Planning and Revitalization Institute

March 12 - 14, 2018
Malibu Area, CA


Learn how you can incorporate elements of modern academic library design into your own campus.

Learn how you can revitalize your institution’s library to ensure that it remains a vibrant academic hub and learning space on campus for twenty-first century students. This learn-and-work event will provide attendees with an integrated and practical approach to library planning and design. Throughout this event, you will:

  • Envision what can make your library design most responsive to student needs
  • Analyze the latest in library design and learning-space theory
  • Explore a variety of student services increasingly co-located in libraries
  • Uncover processes for working with project stakeholders and promoting campus involvement

Hear how two of our past attendees transformed their libraries!


Site Visit and Panel Discussion: Payson Library at Pepperdine University

As part of your conference experience, you will have the opportunity to visit the Payson Library at Pepperdine University. After a fifteen-month comprehensive renovation, the library has reimagined study spaces, created a seamless technology-rich environment, and developed a new special collections wing. The tour will give you an opportunity to explore the Academic Center for Excellence, Sky Lab, Genesis Lab (makerspace), study spaces, and so much more.

Bring Your Library Planning Committee

Based on past attendee feedback, we strongly encourage you to bring your library planning committee, as well as senior level decisions makers responsible for funding and sourcing.  An effective institutional team may consist of the dean or director of libraries, the primary advocate for the library project, and other stakeholders from library, information technology, academic affairs, and facilities management.

To encourage team participation, when you register two people, a third can attend for 50% off!

Testimonials from Past Participants of this Event

“This was an exciting, engaging, and inspiring experience to share and discuss the future of the academic library in a relevant way and using a perfect format!! Loved it!”

Anne M. Wood, Assistant Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Juniata College

“The speakers provide vital information about how and what makes a modern academic library.”

Greg Paveza, Dean of Graduate Studies and the Library, Southern Connecticut State University

“AI made good on its promise and provides a great opportunity for learning.”

John Ernst, Director of the Success Center, Thomas More College

“Solid conference. Useful information. And, I would recommend the experience to others!”

Dr. James A. Wilson, Jr., Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Director of the Honors Program, Prairie View A&M University

“This conference was the complete package: relevant topics, philosophical and practical applications, fantastic speakers, fantastic location. One of the BEST conferences I've ever attended. It is what a conference should be! Full of collaboration, networking, and solutions.”

Megan Lowe, University of Louisiana at Monroe

“The conference brought to light a vision for the future of libraries and where they are headed to add value to the learning experience.”

Steve Petersen, Campus Architect, Harper College

“This conference really helped our institution identify some solid starting points in planning our proposal for an expanded facility. The breadth of material covered, as well as the expert insight and experience, served to bring important considerations and talking points to the forefront. The inclusion of case studies and site visits really enhanced the experience.”

Jeff Campbell, Patron Services Specialist, James Madison University

“I feel like I gained a lot of knowledge that would make me a viable resource at my library.”

Irene Girgente, Multimedia Tech Specialist and Student Supervisor, Longwood University

“Academic Impressions provides valuable exploration of timely and pragmatic challenges to higher education institutions. The combination of impassioned subject matter, experts as presenters, and means of engaging conference attendees was potent.”

Colin Tennent, Associate Vice President of Facilities Management, University of Saskatchewan

“The thoroughness of the conference preparation was impressive and the conference packet was wonderful.”

Kathryn Boone, Learning Commons Operations Manager, Old Dominion University

“This conference was a great start for our college to review its own mission or vision to what a library role may be headed in the future. Great experts and speakers.”

Dale Saenz, Catalog Reference Librarian, Laredo Community College

“Great opportunity to network with other professionals in the field.”

Nicole Willard, Director, Library, University of Central Oklahoma

“This conference was the complete package: relevant topics, philosophical and practical applications, fantastic speakers, fantastic location. One of the BEST conferences I've ever attended. It is what a conference should be! Full of collaboration, networking, and solutions.”

Megan Lowe, Coordinator of Public Services and Associate Professor, University of Louisiana at Monroe

“The conference helped me take an abstract concept (info commons) and turn it into a real and feasible outcome.”

Dina Hornreich, Interim Library Director, Red Rocks Community College

“This institute provided a wealth of information ranging from general to vision-focused. Assessment was always a part of each presentation. Very appropriate use of ethnographic research. There was so much to learn from presenters, and ample to collaborate with other attendees/participants. The mentoring was an excellent opportunity to collaborate with peers from across the globe!”

Janice Peyton, Library Director, Lone Star College Montgomery

“Very effective presentations that gave me tools I can implement immediately in our Library Planning Process.”

Reuben Pinkson, Architect, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

“This is an inspiring, practically helpful, very encouraging event for anyone starting out on a library renovation or new build project.”

Sharon Brown, Director, Wilfrid Laurier University

“Wherever you are in the process of library renovation, this conference will provide the necessary tools for you to design your unique plan and move forward with confidence.”

Sharon Neal, Library Director, Alvernia University

“The presenters were experts and the conference was well thought through. I was provided with the information I needed to get my renovation started.”

Jacquline Neath-Foster, Director of Library Services, Atlantic Union College

“I found the conference by Academic Impressions concise and informative and the open format inviting for questions and problem-solving.”

Les Aho, Physical Plant Manager, Atlantic Union College

“Thank you! This was an excellent and worthwhile conference. It really helped me to see the planning steps that need to be taken for a major library remodel.”

Michele Ukleja, Coordinator of User Services, Harper College

“The AI methodologies of imparting knowledge and experience is a valuable one! My second time coming into contact with your material and I find it to be excellent!”

Racquel Anderson, Const. Technologist, UWI Mona Campus

“The AI conference was great! The staff was helpful, the faculty well-informed and spoke to the issues we're dealing with. I met people who are in the same phase and a little further into the process who helped me think differently about our project.”

Julia Lisuzzo, Manager of Summer Programs, Rochester Institute of Technology

“Having both practitioners and colleagues as presenters and as attendees was an essential, effective blend. I have work to accomplish. I got to learn from those who would work with me and from those like me who have work to do.”

Kathleen List, Director of Library Services, Ringling College of Art and Design


Day One: Understanding the Modern Library

Monday, March 12, 2018


12:30 - 1:00 p.m.


1:00 - 1:15 p.m.

Key Elements of the Modern Academic Library

1:15 - 3:00 p.m.

This introductory session will walk you through the key elements of the modern academic library. Much of the conversation will focus on the distinction between “then” versus “now.” An interactive group discussion will provide your institution focus for the remainder of the conference.


3:00 - 3:15 p.m.

Investigating and Addressing User Needs

3:15 - 4:15 p.m.

The most successful academic library spaces are those that help students, staff, and faculty members do their work well and pursue their academic goals. The alignment of library spaces, services, and technologies with rapidly changing academic work practices requires an ongoing commitment to conducting user research and using those insights in the planning process. During this session, you will learn:

  • User research techniques to identify and understand user needs
  • How to use the human-centered design process to generate and prototype space decisions based on user needs
  • Methods for post occupancy assessment and continuous improvement

Working Session: Conducting a Study on your Campus

4:15 - 5:00 p.m.

This working session will be a structured activity to conceptualize user research you may wish to conduct on your own campus.

Networking Reception (included in registration fee)

5:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Day Two: Designing from a Shared Vision

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Continental Breakfast (included in registration fee)

8:30 - 9:00 a.m.

Campus Visioning and Participatory Design

9:00 - 10:00 a.m.

After learning the fundamental user experience methodology to library design, you will hear how to build upon this data to create a shared context through an architectural charrette (interactive stakeholder meeting) as a participatory design mechanism. Our experts will walk you through this entire process so you can recruit the appropriate team to facilitate a meaningful session on your campus. You will learn how to:

  • Inform program elements and layout decisions while building campus alliances
  • Take advantage of previously collected data to establish a shared context before the charrette
  • Promote the findings after the charrette
  • Build campus and community relationships and further fund development


10:00 - 10:15 a.m.

Applying User Insights to the Furniture Selection Process

10:15 - 11:15 a.m.

Whatever the physical design of your library spaces, it is the furniture that can make or break how often the space ultimately gets used. Learn best practices and research-based insights from hundreds of hours of user observation at libraries across the country, and real-world examples of how these ideas can be applied to create learning-centered library spaces within any budget.

Strategies to Securing Philanthropic Gifts and Legislative Dollars

11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

This session will focus on important strategies for securing  philanthropic gifts and legislative dollars. Strategies include:

  • Collecting evidence and stories
  • Forging relationships and alliances
  • Developing messages and your case
  • Identifying strategies and priorities
  • Donor collaterals
  • Legislative requests

Lunch (included in registration fee)

12:15 - 1:15 p.m.

Site Visit and Panel Discussion: Payson Library

1:15 - 4:30 p.m.

Visit the newly renovated Payson Library, which serves as the main library for undergraduate students at Pepperdine University. The library underwent a comprehensive fifteen-month renovation, where every space was examined to create the library of the future. Library staff, in collaboration with students, faculty, and staff, reimagined new study spaces, a coffee shop, a collections wing and inclusion of other offices on campus. You will have the opportunity to see all these spaces and be able to ask questions of the Payson library staff.

Day Three: Actualizing your Library Project

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Continental Breakfast (included in registration fee)

8:00 - 8:30 a.m.

Debrief of Campus Tour

8:30 - 8:45 a.m.

Grand Valley State University - Mary Idema Pew Library Case Study

8:45 - 10:00 a.m.

The quality of your results depends on the quality of your planning. Included will be a walk-through of the library building process from top to bottom, focusing on the “Escape the Gravity of the Known” slogan that drove GVSU through their project. Narrative will include the library trends that GVSU incorporated in their project, the means through which they met the needs of their users, and the forward-thinking steps they had to undertake to realize their vision.


10:00 - 10:15 a.m.

Creating a Technologically Rich Library that Fosters Learning Experiences

10:15 - 11:15 a.m.

Imagine the level of creativity and rich learning experience that students get when they use a large scale digital wall to visualize research data, or an experiential learning space with high-end technology. This session focuses on two technology projects with distinctive approaches in terms of both scale and impact, all of which emerged from library redesign initiatives. The Discovery Wall implementation at Auraria Library is a large-scale digital display wall. The second example, the Cube at University of the Pacific Library, is an innovative new space for students, faculty, and staff, that provides space, technology, and expertise for digital projects. You will learn practical insights and lessons learned from the three case studies.

Panel Discussion: Committing to Action

11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

March 12 - 14, 2018
Malibu Area, CA


Hyatt Regency Westlake
880 S. Westlake Blvd.
Westlake Village, CA 91361

Room Rate: $179 + Applicable Tax
Room Block Dates: Nights of March 11, 12, and 13, 2018.
Rate Available Until: Tuesday, February 20, 2018.
Reserve Your Room: Click the link below or call 805-557-1234. Please indicate that you are with the Academic Impressions group to receive the group rate.

Please book early - rooms are limited and subject to availability.



Patrick Calhoun, AIA

Senior Associate

Patrick Calhoun offers insight into trends and strategies for effective planning of modern academic libraries.  He has more than 20 years of architectural experience in academic settings, with a focus on planning and user engagement in learning environments.  Leading Stantec Architecture’s Library and Learning Commons Research and Benchmarking Team, Patrick has been involved in both primary and secondary research on academic libraries, benchmarking best-practice facilities, speaking nationally, and applying innovative approaches to learning commons and libraries of all scales for both 2- and 4-year institutions.


Niraj Chaudhary

Director of Technology and Digital Initiatives for University Libraries
University of the Pacific

In his current role, Niraj Chaudhary is leading the technology planning and budget development for a comprehensive facility renovation of the Stockton campus library. Previously, he served as Head of Information and Educational Technology Services for Auraria Library, which serves University of Colorado Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and Community College of Denver. At Auraria Library, he provided technology vision and led many successful technology implementations, including the Discovery Wall during its comprehensive facility renovation from 2008 to 2016.


Kristin Meyer

User Experience Librarian
Grand Valley State University

In her current role, Kristin focuses on understanding and improving the student experience of the Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons. This state-of-the-art facility opened in 2013 and has been described as a model of twenty-first century learning. Kristin has conducted several post-occupancy assessment projects, all of which were designed to improve user experience within the space and, by extension, the academic experience of students. With fifteen years of library experience in both academic and public libraries, Kristin has a unique view on how spaces can support learning and community.

Lee Van Orsdel-15-x150

Lee Van Orsdel

Previous Dean of Libraries
Grand Valley State University

Lee has forty-five years of leadership experience in academic libraries in Alabama, Kentucky, and Michigan, including reorganization, staff development, leadership, program innovation, and library design. Recently retired, Van Orsdel was dean of university libraries at Grand Valley State University from 2005 to 2016. Under her leadership, GVSU libraries won the 2012 ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award for universities and the 2014 State Librarian’s Excellence Award. Van Orsdel supplied the vision for Grand Valley’s new main library, which was designed by Stantec Architecture. The sixty-five million LEED Platinum project opened in June 2013 and has since welcomed almost four million visitors. A multi-faceted post-occupancy study by Steelcase Corporation confirmed that the vision was fully realized. In September, the library was named a New Landmark Library by Library Journal.


Mary M. Somerville

University Librarian
University Libraries at University of the Pacific

Dr. Mary M. Somerville has served as University Librarian since 2016 for University Libraries at University of the Pacific—one university with campuses in San Francisco, Sacramento, and Stockton, California. At Pacific, she advances a comprehensive library facility renovation, her second. From 2008 - 2015, she furthered fundraising and vision-setting for design and construction of the Auraria Library, a shared facility academic library serving University of Colorado Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and Community College of Denver.


Mark Walters

Category Product Manager
Steelcase Education Solutions

Mark Walters is responsible for the product development and marketing of Steelcase products for secondary and higher education learning environments. Mark uses his diverse background to lead teams in creating product solutions that support improved student engagement wherever learning happens.

Since 2012, Mark has been applying design thinking principles to solve problems specific to library and student commons spaces on campus. Along with the Workspace Futures team at Steelcase, he has spent hundreds hours observing student behavior in scores of libraries and student commons spaces across the United States. Insights gained from this work have not only informed the development of products like Brody™ and Thread™, but have also influenced the design of effective learning spaces at Universities like Grand Valley State. Mark has a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Western Michigan University.

Main Conference for Higher Ed Attendees

$1,295 through Feb. 23$1,395.00

Learn how you can incorporate elements of modern academic library design into your own campus.

Main Conference for Corporate Attendees

$1,795 through Feb. 23$1,895.00

If you work for a private company rather than for a higher ed institution, this is the option for you.

Can't Attend? Buy the
Conference Binder

Purchase the conference binder, which includes all presentation slides, worksheets, action plans, and additional resources.

Note: Conference attendees do not need to purchase materials separately.

Questions About the Event?

Grace Spivak
Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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