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Applying spatial literacy to transform library space: a selected literature review

Juliet Kerico Gray (Research Commons, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville, Illinois, USA)
Melissa Burel (J.F. Drake Memorial LRC, Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, Normal, Alabama, USA)
Marlee Graser (Technical Services, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville, Illinois, USA)
Karen Gallacci (Technical Services, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville, Illinois, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 21 June 2018

Issue publication date: 21 August 2018

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review a selection of articles and books that highlight aspects of spatial theory and literacy from various disciplinary perspectives, along with a review of library space studies.

Design/methodology/approach

This study reviews library literature that uses spatial literacy and its related tools. The authors searched in two databases: Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts, and SCOPUS. The paper records were analyzed to find primary research studies, published between 2010 and 2017, which study patron use of library space using various single and hybrid methodologies.

Findings

The findings of the literature reveal that of the 26 studies reviewed, 23 have a descriptive research question and three have a relational research question. Based on the analysis of the research methodologies used, there is more that can be done in support of a librarian’s research efforts as well as the arenas in which research is conducted.

Practical implications

These findings highlight ways in which library and information science researchers and those who educate them can broaden knowledge within the profession regarding spatial theory, literacy and applicable research methodologies for studying library space.

Originality/value

Current and best practices for designing library space studies that use spatial literacy to collect and analyze data are identified along with a discussion of future directions for researchers to better assess space and communicate the value of physical space in libraries.

Keywords

Citation

Gray, J.K., Burel, M., Graser, M. and Gallacci, K. (2018), "Applying spatial literacy to transform library space: a selected literature review", Reference Services Review, Vol. 46 No. 2, pp. 303-316. https://doi.org/10.1108/RSR-02-2018-0023

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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