The following article appears in Library Hi-Tech (Vol. 31 No 2).
We’re sharing the full text of the “accepted for publication” version of the article.
Libraries as Co-Working Spaces: Understanding User Motivations and Perceived Barriers to Social Learning
Mark Bilandzic & Marcus Foth (2013)
Abstract: "This paper aims to inform design strategies for smart space technology to enhance libraries as environments for co-working and informal social learning. The focus is on understanding user motivations, behaviour, and activities in the library when there is no programmed agenda. The study analyses gathered data over five months of ethnographic research at ‘The Edge’ – a bookless library space at the State Library of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, that is explicitly dedicated to co-working, social learning, peer collaboration, and creativity around digital culture and technology. The results present five personas that embody people’s main usage patterns as well as motivations, attitudes, and perceived barriers to social learning. It appears that most users work individually or within pre-organised groups, but usually do not make new connections with co-present, unacquainted users. Based on the personas, four hybrid design dimensions are suggested to improve the library as a social interface for shared learning encounters across physical and digital spaces. The findings in this paper offer actionable knowledge for managers, decision makers, and designers of technology-enhanced library spaces and similar collaboration and co-working spaces."
Via Karen du Toit