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Publisher Description

The library as space and place, and more recently the idea of a 'third place', has emerged as a key concept in the literature. This concept provides a background for the current trends in library redevelopment. Many university libraries have transformed their spaces into new environments that support the changing information needs of twenty-first century students, and many more are preparing to undergo this transformation. The digital shift has greatly impacted how students find and use information and the university library has had to adjust the kind of services and facilities it offers to cope with these changes. Key design concepts in the literature include a good layout, flexible and configurable study spaces, one information/service desk centred in an information/learning commons, extended hours, a library cafe, and a connection to the broader campus community. The 2009-2011 refurbishment at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Library has incorporated some of these elements, focusing on a revamp of the furniture and space with the addition of more group study rooms, media booths with plasma screens and multimedia facilities, informal lounge areas, additional seats with power points, and new carpeting. The final stage of the refurbishment involved replacing the information desk with a welcoming "Help Zone". The Library now has over 3,000 seats, nearly double than before, and a tenfold increase in power points. This research was inspired by the idea of libraries as a 'third place' and the critical role that physical spaces in libraries continue to play in the digital age. Before building renovations to improve spaces, library planners need to understand the information needs of students now and attempt to plan for how they will change in the future. The purpose of this research was to examine the 2009-2011 refurbishment at the UNSW Library and evaluate its success in meeting the user needs in terms of space and place, while also suggesting areas for improvement. The objectives of the research were:

Professional & Technical
December 1
Australian Library and Information Association

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