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  • Writer's pictureNoni Harrison

Designing a 21st century learning space

Updated: Jun 10, 2023

The design and the goings-on of an effective 21st century library go hand-in-hand. 21st century future-proof libraries must be equipped with furnishings and resources that reflect and enable these learnings to occur. Having said that, what happens in the space is of utmost importance.

The following webpages provide examples of 21st century library spaces and how to plan for spaces that meet form and function:

Also, Steven Johnson’s (2010) TED Talk Where Do Good Ideas Come From? reminds us of the ideas banks of times gone by and the power of the coffee shop design. Libraries are for the people to gather, collaborate, share, exchange, examine, explore, so should be designed for such activities to happen.


Holland, B. (2015). 21st-century libraries: The learning commons.

Johnson, S. (2010, July). Where do good ideas come from? [Video].

Lippincott, J. (2018). The link to content in 21st-century libraries.

Smith System. (2016). Learning commons: How technology is changing 21st century library design.

Wisken, A. (2012). Library learning spaces: One school library’s initial design brief. Synergy, 10(2).

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