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Libraryspace blog

E-resources replacing print - What do we do with the created space???

by Faith Magwaza on 2018-05-30T15:25:49+02:00
by Nonkuthalo Ngcakaza 
Space is power!!
Although many library systems recognize the need for dedicated space for studying, and group discussion, there is growing interest in creating spaces to accommodate the broadening space use needs of the modern technology student generation.
 The construction of new spaces and remodeling of existing spaces often do not take into account the unique needs of students in university libraries and the way they desire to actively and naturally use space. We spend increasingly large parts of our budgets on electronic resources, but less thought about space. We as librarians see huge student demand for access to a variety of learning spaces.
Space at Medical School created by e-resource replacing print collection and weeding
This new shift from print collections to e-resources allows for a different balance in the use of library space, from collection storage to learning spaces for use by students. Learning Spaces focuses on how learner expectations influence such spaces, the principles and activities that facilitate learning, and the role of technology from the perspective of those who create learning environments.

Blocking the move between the shelves

Above is an example at Medical School. Students saw an opportunity to use space and they created apersonalized learning space by moving chairs between shelves, this is  evidence of the high demand for different kinds of learning spaces from traditional desks and chairs. The value of the library as a flexible space is needed to meet changing student needs.
Optimizing Learning Space for 21st Century generation
Every space that is available in a library needs to be appropriately used, for example different types of wall and  floor mounted tables with chairs, and plug points. This will largely benefit the undergraduates, as the Research Commons already caters for the postgraduates. These areas will become their learning space, as students gather around to charge their devices.

Interactive Spaces
Libraries should not be static places. For example, innovative companies have interactive spaces for employees to relax collaborate and have fun. Libraries can use Makerspace –which is a creative space where people with ideas can get together with people who have the technical ability to make these ideas become a reality. These spaces will enable the students to make use of the current technology trends such as 3D printing, 3D scanning, electronics and 3D design software.
  1. David W. Lewis, "The User-Driven Purchase Giveaway Library," EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 45, no. 5 (September/October 2010), pp. 10–11, <>.
  2. David W. Lewis, "A Model for Academic Libraries, 2005 to 2025," paper presented at Visions of Change, California State University, January 26, 2007, <>.
  3. Elizabeth Jordan and Tanya Ziebell, "Learning in the Spaces: A Comparative Study of the Use of Traditional and 'New Generation' Library Learning Spaces by Various Disciplinary Cohorts," and Keith Webster,

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