The University Library: Places for Possibility

Patrick ODonnell, Lorraine Anderson

Research output: Contribution to specialist publication or web blogArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)
100 Downloads (Pure)


University libraries are constituted in the literature by a range of overlapping and shifting conceptual models that are deployed to capture, express and legitimise their repurposing, progressive status and function within the university campus. Over the last two decades university libraries have been increasingly characterised as highly responsive and receptive to the fast-moving currents of technological innovation, and emergent teaching and learning paradigms. This paper charts and discusses the evolutionary trajectory of the university library set within an historical context, exploring the discursive influences that have both stimulated and propagated what might be described as progressive transformation. The paper seeks to portray and unpack the Zeitgeist of the academic library that has been cultivated in contemporary times; positioning the university library against a backdrop of global developments that have shaped the university sector from the early 1990s, and offering a macro-level exploration of the increasing status of the university library.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
Specialist publicationNew Review of Academic Librarianship
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2021


  • COVID-19
  • digital technology
  • globalisation
  • learning commons
  • learning spaces
  • pedagogies
  • social constructivist learning
  • information commons


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