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Academic Library Building Design: Resources for Planning: Space Planning

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 April 2024


Barclay, D. A., & Scott, E. D. (2011). The Library renovation, maintenance, and construction handbook. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers.

Bazillion, R. & Braun, C. (2001). Academic libraries as high-tech gateways: A guide to space & design decisions. Chicago: American Library Association.

Carr, M. & Carr, S. (2013). The greening of America's libraries: LEEDing the way. ACRL & LLAMA. Chicago: American Library Association.

Chronicle of Higher Education. (2020). Rethinking campus spaces: How to prepare for the future of learning and work. 

Deyrup, Marta Mestrovic (Ed.). (2016). Creating the high-functioning library space: expert advice from librarians, architects, and designers. Santa Barbara, California: Libraries Unlimited, an imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC.

Doucett, Elizabeth. (2020). 100+ ideas to inspire smart spaces and creative places. ALA Editions.

Freeman, G., & Council on Library and Information Resources. (2005). Library as place: Rethinking roles, rethinking space (Perspectives on the evolving library). Washington, D.C.: Council on Library and Information Resources.


Gisolfi, P. (2018). Collaborative library design: From planning to impact. Chicago: American Library Association.

Griffey, J., Kung, J. Y. C., Bradley, J., Tomlin, P., Mathews, B., & ALA TechSource. (2018). Library spaces and smart buildings: Technology, metrics, and iterative design.  Chicago: ALA Editions, an imprint of the American Library Association.

Hamilton, A. (2015). Library expansion/renovation checklist: Creating today's ARC takes more than forty days and forty nights. Chicago: Association of College & Research Libraries : Library Leadership & Management Association.

Hickerson, T. H., Lippincott, J. K., * Crema, L. (2022). Designing libraries for the 21st century. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries, an imprint of the American Library Association. Available at:
sites/ content/publications/

Kellert, S. (2018). Nature by design: The practice of biophilic design. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Kellert, S., Heerwagen, J., & Mador, M. (2008). Biophilic design: The theory, science, and practice of bringing buildings to life. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

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

Kowalsky, M., & Woodruff, J. (2017). Creating inclusive library environments: A planning guide for serving patrons with disabilities. Chicago: ALA Editions, an imprint of the American Library Association.

Kroski, E. (Ed.). (2017). The Makerspace librarian's sourcebook. Chicago: ALA Editions, an imprint of the American Library Association.

Margeton, S. (2017). Designing law and other academic libraries: Building upon change. Getsville, N.Y.: William S. Hein & Company.

Mathews, B., Soistmann, L., & Association of College and Reference Libraries (U.S.). (2016). Encoding space: Shaping learning environments that unlock human potential. Chicago: ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association).

Moore, D., II,, & Shoaf, E. (2018). Planning optimal library spaces: Principles, processes, and practices. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.

Piotrowicz, L. & Osgood, S. (2010). Building science 101: A primer for librarians. Chicago: American Library Association.

Redesigning the college library. (2018) New York: Primary Research Group. 

Sannwald, W. W. (2024). Checklist of library building design considerations. Seventh Edition. Chicago: ALA Editions.

Schlipf, F. (2020). Constructing library buildings that work. Chicago: ALA Editions.

Schlipf, F., Huberty, J. & Moorman, J. (2024).  The practical handbook of library architecture: Creating building spaces that work. Second Edition. Chicago: ALA Editions, an imprint of the American Library Association.

Schmidt, A. & Etches, A. (2014). Useful, usable, desirable: Applying user experience design to your library. Chicago: ALA Editions.

Sternberg, E. (2010). Healing spaces : The science of place and well-being (First Harvard University Press paperback ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Stewart, C. (2010). The Academic library building in the digital age: A study of construction, planning, and design of new library space. Chicago, Ill.: Association of College and Research Libraries.

Vinjamur, D. (2020). Library space planning guide. Chicago, Ill.: Public Library Association.

Watson, W. (2010). Better library and learning spaces: projects, trends, and ideas. London: Facet Publishing.

Wilson, E. (1984). Biophilia. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Woodward, J. (2010). Countdown to a new library: Managing the building project. Chicago: American Library Association.

Yee, R. (2012). Educational environments. 5. New York: Visual Profile Books.


Asher, A. D. (2017). Space Use in the Commons: Evaluating a Flexible Library Environment. Evidence Based Library & Information Practice12(2), 68–89. Retrieved from

Bedi, S., & Webb, J. (2017). Through the Students’ Lens: Photographic Methods for Research in Library Spaces. Evidence Based Library & Information Practice12(2), 15–35. Retrieved from

Bieraugel, M., & Neil, S. (2017). Ascending Bloom’s Pyramid: Fostering Student Creativity and Innovation in Academic Library Spaces. College & Research Libraries78(1), 35–52.

Blummer, Barbara, Kenton, Jeffrey. (2017).  Learning Commons in Academic Libraries: Discussing Themes in the Literature from 2001 to the Present. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 23(4), 329-352.  Retrieved from

Cha, S. & Kim, T. (2020) The role of space attributes in space-choice behaviour and satisfaction in an academic library. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 52(2), 399-409. Retrieved from: DOI: 10.1177/0961000618794257
Chao, Z., Borelli, S., Neupane, B., & Fennewald, J. (2019). Understanding user experience in bring your own device spaces in the library: a case study of space planning and use at a large university library. Performance Measurement & Metrics, 20(3), 201-212. Retrieved from: DOI: 10.1108/PMM-07-2019-0027
Chow, T. (2011). Design Implications: How Space Can Transform the Library and Its Public. Progressive Librarian, (36/37), 71–76. Retrieved from

Dexter, N., Mullenbach, J., Lorbeer, E., Rand, D., Wilcox, M., & Long, B. (2019). Building new twenty-first century medical school libraries from the ground up: challenges, experiences, and lessons learned. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 107(1), 6-15. Retrieved from: DOI: 10.5195/jmla.2019.493

Eldermire, E. (2019). Data-driven space planning: using Suma to collect data. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 107(4), 611-612. Retrieved from: DOI: 10.5195/jmla.2019.757

Elmborg, J. K. (2011). Libraries as the Spaces Between Us: Recognizing and Valuing the Third Space. Reference & User Services Quarterly50(4), 338–350. Retrieved from

Guevara, Senovia. (2018). Redefining Library Space. Computers in Libraries, 38(7), 4-8.  Retrieved from


Hillman, Christina, Blackburn, Kourtney, Shamp, Kaitlyn, & Nunez, Chenisvel (2017).  User-focused, User-led: Space Assessment to Transform a Small Academic Library. Evidence Based Library & Information Practice, 12(4), 41-61. Retrieved from


Hollandsworth, Bobby. (2018). Library Space in the Digital Age. Against the Grain, 30(3), 1-12. Retrieved from  (full-text: )

Kahn, M., & Underwood, P. (2018). Space planning in libraries: for students, by students. Education for Information, 34(2), 163-174. Retrieved from: DOI: 10.3233/EFI-180177


Kane, C.M., & Mahoney, M.H. (2020). Using evidence-based library space planning for long-term student success. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 26(2-4), 291-303. Retrieved from:  DOI: 10.1080/13614533.2020.1785517

Khoo, M. J., Rozaklis, L., Hall, C., & Kusunoki, D. (2016). “A Really Nice Spot”: Evaluating Place, Space, and Technology in Academic Libraries. College & Research Libraries77(1), 51–70.

Latimer, K. 2050: a library space odyssey: planning the future library. (2018). Legal Information Management, 18(4), 203-209. Retrieved from: DOI: 10.1017/S1472669618000439

Ojala, M. (2008). "Libraries as Place and Space: An IFLA Satellite Conference." Information Today, vol. 26, no. 9, 34-35. Retrieved from    direct=true&db=buh&AN=44408421&site=ehost-live

Oliveira, Silas M. (2018).  Trends in Academic Library Space: From book boxes to learning commons. Open Information Science, 2(1), 59-74.  Retrieved from 

(full-text: )

Ozburn, L., Kirk, J., & Eastman, T. (2020). Creating collaborative library spaces through partnerships with campus organizations. Journal of Library Administration, 60(6), 600-612. Retrieved from: DOI: 10.1080/01930826.2020.1748432

Prentice, K. & Argyropoulos, E. (2018). Library space: assessment and planning through a space utilization study. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 37(2), 132-141. Retrieved from: DOI: 10.1080/02763869.2018.1439213

Sarjeant-Jenkins, Rachel. (2018). A Position of Strength: The Value of Evidence and Change Management in Master Plan Development.  Library Leadership & Management, 33(1), 1-14. Retrieved from (full-text: )

Schlipf, F., & Moorman, J. A. (2018). REPURPOSE WITH A PURPPOSE: Converting nonlibrary spaces into public libraries. American Libraries49(9/10/2018), 34–39. Retrieved from

Sens, T., & Moll, K. (2021). University library research results: what you don't know might hurt you. University Business. Retrieved from:

Spencer, M.E. & Watstein, S.B. (2017) "Academic library spaces: advancing student success and helping students thrive." portal: Libraries and the Academy. 17 (2), 389-402. Available at:

Tewell, E., Mullins, K., Tomlin, N., & Dent, V. (2017). Learning about Student Research Practices through an Ethnographic Investigation: Insights into Contact with Librarians and Use of Library Space. Evidence Based Library & Information Practice12(4), 78–101. Retrieved from

Wortman, B. (2012). What Are They Doing and What Do They Want: The Library Spaces Customer Survey at Edmonton Public Library. Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library & Information Practice & Research7(2), 1–22. Retrieved from



White Paper

Stewart, C. (2015). Building with purpose: A Quantitative overview and analysis of new U.S. academic library construction, 2000–2014.  Retrieved from


Web Sites and Webcasts:

Academic Library Impact: Improving Practice with Essential Areas to Research.


Library Leadership Administration & Management Association (Producer). (2018). Evolution of Library Interiors: How Design Supports the Expanding Role of Libraries [Video webinar], Retrieved from

ACRL-Choice webinar, "Physical Spaces, Transition Tactics, and a Look at the Data," which is sponsored by Taylor & Francis.   

Additional resources: 

Tutorials website: 

A few interactive tutorials:

Organizations:  Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture


ALA/IIDA Library Interior Design Award

LLAMA ALA/AIA Library Building Awards