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Academic Library Building Design: Resources for Planning: User Studies

ACRL and LLAMA have joined forces to provide a basic framework for architects, planners, and librarians embarking on the planning and design of libraries for higher education.

User Studies

User-Center Studies 

Updated November, 2018

In addition to local studies, planners may want to consult studies which outline how users will likely use the space, considering the various types of library users as well as the role of technology. These sites are recommended:

ACRL. Academic Library Building Design: Resources for Planning.

Chan, Diana L.H., and Gabrielle K.W. Wong (2013). If You Build it, They Will Come: An Intra-institutional User Engagement Process in the Learning Commons. New Library World, Vol. 114 Issue 1-2: 44-53. doi: 10.1108/03074801311291956

Coleman, Roger, Clarkson, John and Julia Cassim (2016). Design for Inclusivity: A Practical Guide to Accessible, Innovative and User-Centered Design. CRC Press.

Dell’Era, Claudio and Paolo Landoni (2014), Living Lab: A Methodology between User-Centered Design and Participatory Design. Creativity and Innovation Management, 23: 137–154. doi:10.1111/caim.12061

Dempsey, Lorcan (2015). The Library in the Life of the User. OCLC Presentation.

ELI Learning Spaces (e-book, freely available)  This e-book has chapters on many aspects of learning space design, emphasizing learning principles, student needs and behaviors, technology and case studies. See especially Chapters 1-13.


Foster, Nancy Fried, editor. (2014). Participatory Design in Libraries


Foster, Nancy Fried and Susan Gibbons, editors. (2007) Studying Students: The Undergraduate Research Project at the University of Rochester.  Association of College and Research Libraries,


Grummon, P.T.H. (2009). Best Practices in Learning Space Design: Engaging Users. EDUCAUSE Quarterly, Vol. 32 No. 1.


McGlynn, Megan, Amanda Peters, and Shae Rafferty. (2012) If You Build It, Will they Come? Library Learning Spaces and Technology. EDUCAUSE Review. Oct 31.

Montgomery, Susan E, editor. (2017) Assessing Library Space for Learning. Rowman & Littlefield

OCLC. Perceptions of Libraries: Context and Community. (2010)

Proffitt, Merrilee, Michalko, James and Melissa Renspie (2015). Shaping the Library to the Life of the User: Adapting, Empowering, Partnering, Engaging. OCLC Summary.

Schmidt, Aaron and Amanda Etches (2014). Useful, Usable, Desirable: Applying User Experience Design to Your Library. Chicago: American Library Association.

Searing, Susan E., and Karla Stover Lucht (2006). The Library as Place: The Changing Nature and Enduring Appeal of Library Buildings and Spaces. UI Current LIS Clips: A current awareness service for the library and information community.

Part I, General topics and non-academic libraries. Internet Archive URL:

Part 2, Academic and research libraries. Internet Archive URL: This site includes many summaries and pointers to key articles and documents, with some focusing on users.

Wilson, Chauncey (2014). Interview Techniques for UX Practitioners: A User-Centered Design Method. Elsevier.