Many institutions of higher education are designing spaces to facilitate learning. Libraries have created information or learning commons to support this activity. This article draws from the literature and best practices to explore this new direction. Academic libraries have focused on student learning and the teaching of skills and strategies that develop information literacy competency. Although there is an assumption that learning commons facilitate student learning, there is a need to more closely connect this new environment with information literacy and pedagogy and to demonstrate its merits in enhancing learning. A basic premise is that each learning commons that is planned well will be unique. This is because a key component of the planning process is to understand the campus perspective, student learning styles and preferences, and the role of the campus library. The combination of those factors will result in a learning commons that supports its own institutional priorities and profile in a specialized manner.

This article is in the form of a panel discussion that explores possible relationships between the learning commons and student learning, pedagogy, and information literacy. The “panel members” are the authors who represent three different perspectives that should be interrelated when planning learning commons. These perspectives are (1) the scholarly perspective that provides an empirical foundation for decision-making, (2) the perspective of a library administrator who builds the relationships needed for successful external collaboration, and (3) the perspective of a librarian who implements the vision for a learning commons. The panelists discuss a number of topics including (1) the scholarly basis for a learning commons as a focal point for enhancing student learning, pedagogy, and information literacy, (2) how a library administrator can create and communicate a vision that focuses on information literacy and student learning, (3) how a practicing librarian can promote information literacy, pedagogy, and student learning through a learning commons, and (4) engaging all stakeholders to promote consideration of pedagogical approaches through the learning commons. Finally, there are recommendations for research and practice about the learning commons and information literacy.


information commons, information literacy, learning commons, learning spaces, pedagogy, student learning, academic libraries

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College & Undergraduate Libraries Vol 17 issue 2: 192-212

Date of this Version