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Space development: A case study of HKUST Library

Diana L. H. Chan (University Library, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong)
Edward Spodick (University Library, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 6 May 2014




The purpose of this case study is to describe the space transformation of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Library (HKUST Library) into a learning commons and how learning activities have been substantially multiplied by engaging academic and supporting units. This experience is used to posit a number of anticipated directions for library space planning.


This paper focuses on the design elements of the learning commons and how these elements have created an effective platform for a variety of learning activities. It outlines an assessment study on how students liked the transformed space and viewed its added values.


In the digital era, academic libraries can be transformed for new, effective and collaborative use. By integrating technology and flexible design, the new space excites existing scholars and attracts a broad range of new users. Students, faculty and administrators react positively to the new space, as it offers effective learning ambience. By engaging and co-creating with university partners, the new space functions as an active facilitator of learning – a hub that supports interaction and an effective platform to support pedagogy towards team projects, multimedia work and whole-person development. Future library spaces need to exhibit characteristics tailored to various user groups and their specific usage needs.


The experience of the HKUST library will have broader implications for other academic libraries embracing their mission-critical nature and assets. It shows that libraries can embrace challenges in the digital and virtual world by creative and innovative use of their physical space.



L. H. Chan, D. and Spodick, E. (2014), "Space development: A case study of HKUST Library", New Library World, Vol. 115 No. 5/6, pp. 250-262.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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