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Developing learning landscapes: academic libraries driving organisational change

Leo Appleton (Library and Student Support, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK)
Valerie Stevenson (Library and Student Support, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK)
Debbi Boden (Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 16 August 2011




The purpose of this paper is to discuss the reasons and drivers for academic libraries affecting university strategy with regards to shaping and developing learning spaces in response to changing pedagogic behaviours.


A review of available literature within the context of academic libraries and their position to influence and lead institutional strategic change. This theory and practice is addressed and evidenced by four case studies of university libraries in the UK.


Many UK academic libraries find themselves able to lead on and influence their institution's strategic direction with regards to teaching, learning and research. This is particularly the case in the design and development of learning spaces within the university. Academic libraries are in a unique position within a university with a view to observing student behaviours, being responsive to ever changing demands from academics and students, spotting trends and benchmarking against comparative institutions. These practices make it possible for academic libraries to advise, guide and lead on teaching and learning strategy and lead on learning spaces developments within their institutions.

Practical implications

Academic libraries can use existing quality assurance, responsiveness and benchmarking frameworks to influence university strategy and decision making.


This paper focuses on the concept of academic libraries influencing change, rather than responding to change, within their university. The case studies provide examples of where this has been the case, and suggest ways and frameworks which can be adopted by other academic libraries.



Appleton, L., Stevenson, V. and Boden, D. (2011), "Developing learning landscapes: academic libraries driving organisational change", Reference Services Review, Vol. 39 No. 3, pp. 343-361.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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