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Academic Library Building Design: Resources for Planning: COVID-19 Facility Changes

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


Updated March 2023

Tuggeranong Library, Set Up for Social Distancing

Tuggeranong Library, set up for social distancing. There is one chair at each table, and blue stickers on the floor reminding patrons to stand six feet apart. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Other Guides and Guidelines

American Institute of Architects. COVID-19 resources for architects: design and practice. Available at:

American Library Association. Dewey Decibel Podcast: Library Architecture and Design. Available at:

Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS). COVID-19 Resources for Libraries and Museums. Available at: This is an index of guidelines and information from a large number of museum and library organizations, including ALA, ACRL, ARL, the Library of Congress, and the National Library of Medicine. 

Articles and Books about Libraries

Buschman, J. (2022). COVID-19 doesn’t change anything: Neoliberalism, generation-ism, academic library buildings, and lazy rivers. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 48(4), 1-5.

Ewen, L. (2020). Virus-responsive design: in the age of COVID-19, architects merge futurefacing innovations with present-day needs. American Libraries, 51(9/10), 36-40.

Kehnemuyi, K. (2021). Effects of COVID-19 on disaster planning for academic libraries. Journal of Library Administration, 61(5), 507-529. Retrieved from: DOI: 10.1080/01930826.2021.1924530

Khan, A. (2022). Better by Design: An introduction to planning and designing a new library. London: Facet Publishing.

Marrioti, I., Marino, M.D., & Bednar, P. (Eds.) (2023). The COVID-19 pandemic and the future of working spaces. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Rodgers, E. (2020). Reopening libraries: Designing for health. Library Journal, 145(7), 16-17.

Sauers, M., & Yonker, K. (2021). The new normal for makerspaces. Computers in Libraries, 41(1), 17-21.

Todaro, J. (2021). The Post-pandemic library handbook. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. 

Vinjamuri, D. & Huberty, J. (2020). Re-opening under COVID-19: a space planning approach. Public Libraries, 59(3), 29-36.  

Articles about Architecture

Chayka, K. (2020). How the coronavirus will reshape architecture. The New Yorker, June 17, 2020. Available at:

Giacobbe, A. (2020). How the COVID-19 pandemic will change the built environment. Architectural Digest, March 18, 2020. Available at:

Gillen, N., Nissen, P., Park, J., et. al. (eds.) (2021). RETHINK design guide: Architecture for a post-pandemic world. London: RIBA Publishing.

Shapiro, G., (2021) What's next: Post-vaccine architecture. Architect. February 18, 2021. Available at: 

Tingley, K. (2020). How architecture could help us adapt to the pandemic: the virus isn't simply a health crisis; it's also a design problem. The New York Times Magazine, June 9, 2020. Available at: