Library design and planning has undergone a significant change since the beginning of the 1990s. Library spaces and services have been reconfigured to satisfy the demands of an increasingly diverse array of customers, no longer simply the traditional academic researcher. These trends, along with flexible design elements to allow for technology upgrades, has produced a paradigm shift in our understanding of the form and function of library facilities. Moving away from the traditional “repository” conception of library as storage centers for materials, the new facilities are more complex, enhanced interactive and research environments many of whose spaces can assume a multitude of functions. This article surveys the paradigm shift, and presents new developments – especially the incorporation of a “learning café” within library facilities.
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