The Library of the 21st Century


Here are four key tenets of 21st century academic library design – and a checklist of key areas to consider under each.

This past month in Philadelphia, nearly 60 library administrators, academic leaders, and facilities personnel gathered to discuss trends characterizing modern library spaces. These participants in our 2 ½ day Academic Library Planning and Revitalization Institute reached consensus on four key areas needed in order for modern academic libraries to better serve student users. From there, we collectively brainstormed how to provide these four key items through both physical design and programmatic choices.

We want to share with you the product of that group brainstorming exercise:

Infographic: Most critical elements to include in a modern library
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While library revitalization projects do vary significantly in size and scope, institutions with diverse academic missions and student populations were in agreement that these four core principles must be accounted for in facility design. And while many of the individual ideas on this template are hardly new, it is exciting to have participated in a group of 60 leaders of library revitalization projects who worked to bring these ideas together into one template for library visioning.

We hope that you can use this map of our participants’ vision for library facilities to start some vigorous conversations on your own campus. For specific case studies of institutions re-envisioning the library, see: