Redesigning academic library spaces for 21st century users with special reference to CPUT Libraries
The use and design of library spaces in higher education is a theme that has come to the forefront of user needs in the past few years. Academic libraries are redesigning their spaces to accommodate the 21st century user. The 21st century user is often labeled as Generation Y and requires a different set of knowledge and skills. In today’s knowledge economy, core skills include creativity, problem solving and collaboration. Libraries are creating space to accommodate the needs of these new users. They are developing group work areas, relaxation or pause areas, technology hubs and discussion rooms. This study has investigated how to redesign academic libraries, using Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) Cape Town branch as a pilot study. The researcher used the concept of library "as place" or "3ʳᵈ place" as a theory. The framework interrogated the ten qualities of a good library space. The researcher used a mixed method research design to conduct this study. A questionnaire of which multiple copies were made, interviews and internal statistics were used to gather data. The results of the study reflected that the library is functional, can be adapted, the space is accessible and varied, it is conducive to motivating and inspiring people, it does promote interactivity between users and library services, and is environmentally suitable, flexible and has a wow factor. All of these characteristics conform to McDonald’s ten qualities of a good library space.