Laying the foundation – a space for learning

What is a learning commons?

It’s about space. It’s about learning. It’s about support. It’s about conversing and exchanging ideas and building a community, one conversation at a time.

The library has long been viewed as an information resource, and only one part of the entire educational experience. It’s generally been a place for passive, individual study. A learning commons builds on the existing resources of a library, by bringing in additional tools and services that enhance the learning experience – helping turn the library into a space equipped for a more active, social, and interdisciplinary educational experience.

Think of it as a “one-stop-study-shop,” which includes spaces for both individual and group study; provides educational support services, such as writing, study, or research workshops; and provides access to a wealth of information across a multitude of media. Combining existing expertise and enhancing current resources in a central location on campus will provide for a more active and efficient learning experience for students. By putting a greater emphasis on group study, the Learning Commons based in the Library will help foster a stronger sense of community among students, faculty and staff alike.

A more exhaustive explanation of the idea and pedagogical basis for a learning commons can be found in a report written by Librarian Emeritus of Yale University, Scott Bennett, Libraries Designed for Learning. (To view the executive summary, go to:

You may also wish to see how other universities both in Canada and the United States have implemented learning commons. To view a list of these schools, go to the Carleton University Learning Commons Web site at:

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This entry was written by Suzanne Jordan and posted in the issue. Tags applied to this article are: . Leave a comment, bookmark the permalink or share the following short URL for this article via social media:

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