What is a Learning Commons?

A Learning Commons (LC) operates as a student-centered space with seamless, coordinated resources and services. LC's provide a new vision of libraries as students come together to study, learn, and socialize in a comfortable, flexible place.

The following research provides more information on the development of the Learning Commons concept.


  • Bailey, R. (2009). Bibliography: The information commons and beyond. Library Commons Basics.
  • Held, T. (2009). The information and learning commons: a selective guide to sources. Reference Services Review, 37(2):190–206.
  • Sinclair, B. Collaborative learning spaces. http://sites.google.com/site/collaborativelearningspaces/

Learning Commons: Blending Libraries and Learning Support

  • Adams, N. E. and Young, J. B. (2010). Users learning from users: Building a learning commons from the ground up at a new university. College & Undergraduate Libraries, 17(2-3):149–159.
  • Dewey, B. (2008). Social, intellectual, and cultural spaces: Creating compelling library environments for the digital age. Journal of Library Administration, 48(1):85–94.
  • Dickerson, C., Kuerbis, P., and Stiles, R. (2007). Learning centers, libraries, and IT: Providing integrated support services in a learning commons. EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research - Research Bulletin, 2007(5).
  • Fitzpatrick, E. B., Moore, A. C., and Lang, B. W. (2008). Reference librarians at the reference desk in a learning commons: A mixed methods evaluation. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 34(3):231–238.
  • Franks, J. A. (2008). Introducing learning commons functionality into a traditional reference setting. Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship, 9(2).
  • Hinchliffe, L., & Wong, M. (2010). From services-centered to student-centered: A “wellness wheel” approach to developing the library as an integrative learning commons. College & Undergraduate Libraries, 17(2/3), 213-224.
  • Holmgren, R. A. (2010). Learning commons: A learning-centered library design. College & Undergraduate Libraries, 17(2-3):177–191.
  • Lippincott, J. K. (2006). Chapter 7. linking the information commons to learning. In Learning Spaces. EDUCAUSE.
  • Lippincott, J. K. and Greenwell, S. (2011). Seven things you should know about the modern learning commons. EDUCAUSE.
  • Long, P. D. and Ehrmann, S. C. (2005). Future of the learning space: Breaking out of the box. EDUCAUSE Review, 40(4):42–58.
  • Love, E. and Edwards, M. B. (2009). Forging inroads between libraries and academic, multicultural and student services. Reference Services Review, 37(1):20 – 29.
  • Mahaffy, M. (2008). Exploring common ground: U.S. writing center/library collaboration. New Library World, 109(3/4):173–181.
  • McMullen, S. The learning commons model: Determining best practices for design, implementation, and service. http://faculty.rwu.edu/smcmullen/.
  • Moore, A. C. and Wells, K. A. (2009). Connecting 24/5 to millennials: Providing academic support services from a learning commons. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 35(1):75–85.
  • Schmidt, N. and Kaufman, J. (2005). Learning commons: Bridging the academic and student affairs divide to enhance learning across campus. Research Strategies, 20(4):242–256.
  • Scott, B. (2008). The information or the learning commons: Which will we have? The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 34(3):183–185.
  • Spencer, M. E. (2007). The state-of-the-art: NCSU libraries learning commons. Reference Services Review, 35(2):310–321.
  • Stark, M., & Samson, S. (2010). Organized spontaneity: The learning commons. College & Undergraduate Libraries, 17(2/3), 260-272.
  • Waxman, L., Clemons, S., Banning, J., and McKelfresh, D. (2007). The library as place. New Library World, 108(9/10):424–434.
  • Wolfe, J., Naylor, T., and Drueke, J. (2010). The role of the academic reference librarian in the learning commons. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 50(2):108–113.

Information Commons: Blending Libraries and Technology

  • Bailey, D. R. and Tierney, B. (2008). Transforming library service through information commons : case studies for the digital age. American Library Association, Chicago.
  • Beagle, D. (2006). The information commons handbook. Neal-Schuman Publishers, New York.
  • Boyd, R. (2008). Staffing the commons: job analysis in the context of an information commons. Library Hi Tech, 26:232–243.
  • Dallis, D. and Walters, C. (2006). Reference services in the commons environment. Reference Services Review, 34(2):248–260.
  • Whitchurch, M. J. (2009). Evaluating group use of the information commons. College & Undergraduate Libraries, 16(1):71–82.
  • Zink, S. D., Medaille, A., Mundt, M., Colegrove, P. T., and Aldrich, D. (2010). The @one service environment: information services for and by the millennial generation. Reference Services Review, 38(1):108–124.