Space in the university library – an introduction

The university library has been described as being ‘at the heart of the university’ (Urquhart 1977: 2). In recent years, however, the purpose and very existence of the building itself has been questioned (Campbell 2006). A number of trends have influenced this discussion, including technological changes such as the growth in e-resources, the changing student population, developments in learning and teaching, and diminishing budgets. At the same time, there has been a great investment in university library space both before and since the millennium, with major projects in England such as, for example, Lanchester Library, the University of Coventry (Noon 2008), the Information Commons at the University of Sheffield (Lewis 2010), the David Wilson Library, and the University of Leicester (Fyfe 2010) attracting attention and awards. The same is happening elsewhere in the world as can be seen from chapters elsewhere in the book [...continues].