To read this content please select one of the options below:

The Learning Theater: A Library Space to Be Re-Designed by Patrons

The Future of Library Space

ISBN: 978-1-78635-270-5, eISBN: 978-1-78635-269-9

Publication date: 15 December 2016



This chapter discusses the Learning Theater, a flexible library space that permits substantial patron involvement in designing dynamic environments to meet diverse learning goals.


We use a case study method to describe and discuss the Learning Theater.


We found that many challenges associated with designing and building a radically different library space to support patron learning goals can be resolved by eliciting patron input in all phases of the process.

Practical implications

We offer three lessons for other libraries intent on developing dramatically new kinds of library spaces: engage the community of users early and throughout, new spaces require robust communications to convey the possible set of uses to the community, and a flexible infrastructure and a responsive staff are key to meeting demands for unanticipated uses.


Our experience in developing the Learning Theater as part of the library education program suggests that libraries can share greater control of new flexible facilities and partner in the creation of intellectual properties to make best use of those facilities in more powerful ways than has typically been done in the past.



Chae, H.S., Costello, L. and Natriello, G. (2016), "The Learning Theater: A Library Space to Be Re-Designed by Patrons", The Future of Library Space (Advances in Library Administration and Organization, Vol. 36), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 235-252.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017 Emerald Group Publishing Limited