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Bringing users back to the library: a case history

Kara J. Gust (Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)
Clifford H. Haka (Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 1 March 2006



To provide a description of renovation and promotional efforts applied by the Michigan State University Libraries during the 1990s in an attempt to bring users back into the physical library.


A number of specific steps taken by the Michigan State University Libraries to reorient and refurbish the first floor of its main library are described in detail and supported with evidence from other studies and library renovation projects. Each section focuses on a different aspect of the renovation: relocating reference, adding a café, adding new carpeting and furnishings, expanding library hours, providing alternatives for coming to the library, and greatly increasing computer technology.


Provides information about each step taken in the renovation project, along with considerations for taking each action. Recognizes that these actions may not ultimately alone result in increased patron usage of the library's physical location, but have increased patron activity and numbers in the MSU main library and have made it a more welcoming environment.

Practical implications

Provides very useful information for university library administrators who may be facing the challenges of declining library usage and looking for ways to encourage users back into the library through renovation or promotional means.


This paper fulfills a need for practical solutions to administrators of large university libraries looking to make building improvements to increase both the usage and aesthetics of their library's physical space.



Gust, K.J. and Haka, C.H. (2006), "Bringing users back to the library: a case history", New Library World, Vol. 107 No. 3/4, pp. 141-148.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited