How 2 Library Directors Have Transformed Their Academic Libraries

illustration of an article

As our article “The Library of the 21st Century” attests, the academic library continues to evolve at a rapid pace, and library administrators across higher education continue to wrestle with the question of how best to adapt their libraries to changing student and other user needs on campus. There is a lot of uncertainty about how best to revitalize the library space so that it becomes — or continues to be — student-centered, flexible, and reflective of the institution’s academic mission.

At Academic Impressions, we have engaged hundreds of library directors in conversation — with us and with each other — in our annual library revitalization conference, which we founded in 2007. Recently, we sat down with two directors — Karen Clay (Library Director of Pierce Library at Eastern Oregon University) and Sara Bushong (Dean of University Libraries at Bowling Green State University) — to learn how they continued that conversation on their own campuses after the event, and what approaches they have taken to successfully modernize their own libraries to meet current user needs.

In this interview, Clay and Bushong present slideshows of “before and after” photos of their academic libraries, and discuss in detail how they were able to:

  • Improve upon library infrastructure to maximize space
  • Collocate academic services
  • Repurpose/rethink the use of traditional materials to create more flexible study spaces
  • Re-assert the library’s position as an academic hub on campus.

We hope these two case studies will be useful to you as you consider your own academic library revitalization project.


We invite you to participate in our next annual library revitalization institute: