Disruptive Technologies: Digital collections and the library space


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As we move towards digital content, the traditional design of the physical library space needs rethinking. The 2005 Council on Library and Information Resources  report on ‘Library as Place: Rethinking Roles, Rethinking Space’  concludes that, “while the information critical to scholarship and the public good is becoming more accessible than ever in the twenty-first century, access alone is rarely enough to serve the needs of scholarship, teaching, learning, and public inquiry today.”

The birth of the virtual library brought predictions that physical library space would no longer be needed. The 2015 ALA/IIDA Library Interior Design Awards saw award-winning libraries reflect this shift from print to digital in terms of responding to the way in which we information is sought. The world is still building bigger, and better libraries- or libraries without books (Bibliotech, Texas, USA). The library space is being redesigned in the bricks and mortar domain as well as the virtual domain. The Model Programme for Libraries lists some interesting case studies of public libraries redesigned.


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“Digital downloads, e-books, personal content, and live programming compete for space with books, periodicals, microfilm, audio, and video in today’s libraries. The library of the future will be shaped in ways that support and enhance navigation and exchange of these new forms of information. As more and more demands are made on people’s time, library services must be delivered in ways that are digitally based or conveniently located in public places for people on the go” (Ruth Baleiko, the Miller Hull Partnership).

Disruptive technologies can be turned into competence-enhancing influences (8, December 20140, CILIP Blog). Some examples of digital libraries are:

and the digital collections of the British Library, Library of Congress,  and the National Library of Australia.

Here are some questions you might like to discuss with your partner:

  1. Does your library plan to redesign the physical library space?
  2. What are some of the design considerations for digital collections in your library?

We would love to hear about them on our Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts.

Bhakti Gala, ILN Content Officer


Posted in Discussion topics, Round 2016B and tagged , , , , .

One Comment

  1. I think a library space will exist like always exist. it will be an information Commons where like minded people share ideas, collaborate and create products to express their learning. They may also problem solve or express themselves creatively.

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