If not books, then what ...

What would you put in a "bookless library"? An article in the Silicon Valley Mercury News reports that Stanford University is about to find out. The trend toward digitization, particularly in scientific journals, and the pressure for repurposing existing space have led Stanford to this point. Andrew Herkovic, director of communications and development at Stanford libraries offers a third reason:

"The role of this new library is less to do with shelving and checking out books - and much more about research and discovery."

Perry Dean has worked with multiple clients over the past several years looking to respond to demands for spaces that will support this research and discovery. Space types cited in the article echo what we hear from our clients:

"... saves its space for people, not things. It features soft seating, 'brainstorm islands', a digital bulletin board and group event space. There are few shelves and it will feature a self-checkout system."

In addition, we have heard pleas for group study rooms, cafes, multimedia suites, printing and large-format plotting stations, web kiosks. We have also been witness to alliances between libraries and other departments: information technology, centers for teaching and learning, tutoring or counseling centers, and other student support functions. These projects all fall loosely under the rubric, "information commons." Pictured below is one of our projects, the Research and Information Commons at Daemen College, completed in 2009, which is a great example of a library that has leveraged these alliances to their fullest.