This presentation was given at the 10th Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries conference held in Chania, Greece in May, 2018.


Today’s academic libraries must accentuate the interdependent relationship of the libraries and academic units, creating innovations that advance teaching and learning on their campuses. In August 2017, the Libraries at Purdue University opened the Thomas S. and Harvey D. Wilmeth Active Learning Center (WALC), a 164,000-square-foot facility that houses the Library of Engineering and Science (LOES) and 27 classrooms designed for active learning. The WALC represents a new approach the design of academic libraries, allowing new opportunities to extend informal learning in library spaces placed next to innovative active learning classrooms. During the envisioning stage, Purdue Libraries worked with an anthropologist to conduct a participatory design study to inform design elements of WALC based on insights into student, instructor, and Libraries faculty and staff perceptions of their library space needs. Building on the research done in the envisioning stage, teams planned spaces to reflect the interdependency of classroom space and library space. Since its opening, preliminary research in WALC focuses on gaining insights into the use of the informal learning spaces, classroom utilization & occupancy, and instructor perceptions of active learning classrooms. Future directions for research of WALC include classroom observations to examine pedagogic usage, including how students engage with information to learn in active learning environments.


active learning spaces, informal learning spaces, learning environment

Date of this Version