Libraries and Learning: A History of Paradigm Change


The transformation of information from a scarce to a superabundant commodity has driven three paradigms in the design of library space. These are the reader-centered, book-centered, and learning-centered paradigms. The first two competed inconclusively with one another throughout most of the twentieth century. Revolutionary changes in information technology have only recently made a third design paradigm possible, one focused on intentional (or autonomous) learning. This paradigm frees us from a schoolwork approach to learning and from mere trafficking of information. The challenge before us is to align library space design with the transformational character of intentional learning.