Mar 22 2024

Library Spaces for Today’s College Student

Today’s college libraries are gathering places as much as they are spots where students come to read. When it came time to renovate Sam Houston State University’s Newton Gresham Library, staff knew that the focus was going to be on a lot more than books.

After five decades serving students, the library was ready for an upgrade — and not just in the way its visitors perused their reading material. The original library was designed primarily for the needs of individual learners, who needed quiet spaces to read and study, but that’s not what today’s students are looking for. Higher education is an increasingly collaborative environment, and for students looking to work on group projects, share projected images on screens and interact together while learning, larger, more flexible rooms are a must.

SHSU built out those rooms, and they quickly became popular spaces: Students would see their colleagues working together and ask library staff how they could do the same. This approach is helping to drive the next round of renovations and innovations in library spaces, which will continue to evolve.

READ MORE: Libraries evolve to support future needs.


    Eric Owen, Executive Director of Library Services, Sam Houston State University

    Erin Owens, Associate Director for Library Public Services and Scholarly Communications Librarian, Sam Houston State University

Video Highlights

  • Library leaders designed the new spaces at the Newton Gresham Library with group work and flexibility in mind.
  • Flexible, easy-to-move tables and chairs are in the new rooms, along with a large whiteboard and a large digital display that students can connect to for easier collaboration.
  • Interest in the rooms has been high enough that library leaders are looking to build out more collaborative spaces in the next round of renovations.