"What bothers me is the use of the term “commons” and how it caught on like wildfire. Over the last decade every modern library had to have a commons. Toss in the descriptor of your choice: information, learning, research, knowledge, scholarly, group, library, etc.
Now I’ve always appreciated the concept of the commons but never the terminology. To me it dilutes the power and symbolism of the library. You don’t need librarians to run a commons. In fact, you don’t even need a library. I’ve seen commons scattered throughout various places on campuses. From a stakeholder point of view a commons is a computer lab and study/work space, and that doesn’t require a library. Politically I fear the word commons might have long-term damage to our reputation.
I get it though. Libraries like to be able to point to a shinny new area and say “hey look, we’re modern—we have a commons!” But I think the emphasis then becomes on the technology and furniture, (and not the activity) which could be relocated to the student center, dorm areas, or an academic building. A commons is a modular concept that can be copied and pasted elsewhere. I think the distinction of it being a library place is going to wane over time..."