With the technological innovation dominating higher education, the university libraries, as physical spaces, continue to play a crucial role in connecting students with knowledge. The emergence of the “Learning Commons” serves as a catalyst in the design of library spaces, renewing libraries’ roles and missions and making them popular to Millennials for new reasons. This study aims to record Greek librarians' views on the current situation in Greek academic libraries regarding physical space design, services provided and the existence of the “Learning Commons” model characteristics.
This study was conducted through an online survey structured questionnaire (closed-ended, five-point Likert scale, multiple-choice and statements questions). This study population comprised librarians working in 37 academic institutions and colleges. The collected data were subjected to descriptive statistical analysis. The research questions were answered using variables creation and the tests, t-test, ANOVA and Kruskal–Wallis. The groups of questions were tested for their reliability using the Cronbach's alpha coefficient.
In total, 186 librarians responded to this study. The responses revealed that participants were willing and ready to accept and support a different approach to academic library physical spaces use, according to the shared learning spaces model. However, this requires changes in the organization's vision, further growth and evolution. Although recently most Greek academic libraries have made significant progress in developing their services to function as information and digital hubs, they do not function as learning collaborative hubs, since the “Learning Commons” model is not reflected in their buildings.
The creation of new academic libraries according to the “common” model is a rapidly evolving issue that affects Greek libraries. This paper highlights the characteristics of libraries that should be adopted in the modern era, the new roles of academic librarians and the importance of an appropriate design of the physical space to achieve optimal learning outcomes. At the same time, this paper is one of the few that illustrates librarians', and not users', perceptions of these changes. This paper is a good research example, and the methodology for measuring this type of context could be used by other future research approaches in other countries.
The authors would like to thank all library staff and institutions that participate in this research.
Funding: This research did not receive any grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Garoufali, A. and Garoufallou, E. (2022), "Transforming libraries into learning collaborative hubs: the current state of physical spaces and the perceptions of Greek librarians concerning implementation of the “Learning Commons” model", Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/GKMC-04-2022-0086
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