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A nationwide survey of students reveals what they want in library design and what they use it for most

University library research results: What you don’t know might hurt you

A nationwide survey of students reveals what they want in library design and what they use it for most
“Research findings

The number one reason why students visited the library was to study alone (selected by 55% of students), followed by studying with friends (42.2%). Most students (58.6%) preferred quiet study spaces in the library. The top five areas where students spent their time in the library were: quiet study space (58.6%), computer lab (37.8%), reading room (35%), café (33.8%), and group study space (32.2%).

Students were asked what physical change the library could make to encourage them to use it more frequently. The responses included more comfortable seating and more places to relax, more individual rooms or independent workspaces, and collaborate space rooms. Students may perceive the “formal” design of older or not recently renovated libraries as less welcoming and relaxing. In fact, students wrote in suggestions such as, “make the furniture a little more modern,” “make it more open, instead of too formal,” and create a “more home-like feeling.” The challenge is incorporating these diverse kinds of areas in libraries not designed for these accommodations and those facing budget constraints with any kind of a renovation project.”


Students expect their libraries to have a variety of study spaces, including quiet places to study alone, spaces to be able to study alone together, and collaboration areas where they can participate in group activities. They also require space to accommodate distance learning or viewing online lectures. Incorporating a diversity of spaces in the library allows students to see that the space is “theirs.” These needs may vary depending on any number of criteria including the culture and focus of the college or university, the location of the school, and the patrons of each library. To make the best use of the space, determine what students require in these spaces, such as flexible and moveable furniture, multi-dimensional lighting, and additional power and data outlets.

Today’s students want to see and be seen in a space where they feel welcomed, comfortable and inspired. Rethink the traditional big, fixed, and, in some instances, intimidating circulation desk and instead establish an experiential sequence so students immediately feel they want to be drawn into the library when they take their first steps inside.

Another recommendation is to consider the functionality of the library and overlay it onto the students’ emotional needs in the space. For example, a formal study room with a row of 100 chairs at a table may be functional but may not be the most successful or engaging setting for most students to study. Instead, the study results support designing relaxed, comfortable, and calm study spaces. This is accomplished by using innovative furniture solutions to create the environments desired by students.”

Posted on: July 27, 2021, 6:45 am Category: Uncategorized

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