LIBR 578 (3) Planning and Design of Libraries


MLIS and Dual MAS/MLIS: completion of MLIS core

MAS: completion of MAS core and permission of the iSchool Graduate Advisor


  • Examine the role of libraries as spaces for patron and community interaction and engagement;
  • Identify ways in which we can evaluate and assess the needs of communities and how they use library spaces;
  • Explore elements of library design that contribute to patron and community engagement;
  • Investigate the processes involved in planning new library buildings and renovation projects that are consistent with community needs and emerging trends of how people interact with information.


Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Identify, analyze and assess the information needs of diverse individuals, communities and organizations with respect to the planning and design of information spaces [1.1]*
  • Discuss key historical and current ideas in library design and architecture that contribute to how people think about and use information spaces for different purposes [1.2]*
  • Understand the role of the librarian/library in library planning and design projects, including how to work with other professionals such as architects and building teams [1.3, 3.1, 3.2]*
  • Design/redesign a space within an information organization, including considerations of layout, lighting, shelving, furniture, technology infrastructure, etc. [1.1, 1.3, 4.1, 4.2]*
  • Provide a budget and budget justification for the design/redesign of an information space [3.2]*
  • Identify and apply methods for understanding how people use library spaces [4.1, 4.2]*
  • Assess the ways in which context/organization type influences/constrains information practices and behaviours within information spaces [1.4]*
  • Evaluate design trends and their application in libraries, including green buildings, technology, inspiration or maker spaces, etc. [1.1, 1.3]*

* Course objectives are stated in terms of student learning outcomes and reference the iSchool Statement on Graduate Competencies.


  • The library as place
  • Library engagement and the user experience
  • Methods for understanding how people use physical space
  • Library planning processes
  • Pragmatic components of library planning and design, including working with architects and building teams, library aesthetics, selecting lighting, shelving and furniture for high use spaces and multi-use collections
  • Safety, security and disaster planning
  • Environmental considerations for library buildings
  • Technology and maker spaces
  • Tours and discussions with information professionals who have experienced library construction and renovation projects
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