Title: The Living Library: An Intellectual Ecosystem
Authors: Patricia Steele, David Cronrath, Sandra Parsons Vicchio, and Nancy Fried Foster
Softcover: ISBN: 978-0-83898-740-7 , $42 ( The e-book edition and the print/e-book bundle of this title are also available.)
Imprint: Chicago: ACRL, 2015
The Living Library describes the evolution of one possible future for academic libraries: as laboratories for cross-disciplinary investigation. At the University of Maryland, a collaboration among the Libraries, the School of Architecture and the Department of Anthropology led to the participation of students, faculty and staff in an initiative to design a full renovation of the main library building with the guidance of professionals in anthropology and architecture. As part of the process, Anthropology students and library faculty and staff investigated how the broader university community undertakes its work in the library. Architecture students in graduate design studio analyzed the findings along with the building and then created a series of designs to support faculty, student and staff work practices. All of the work was reviewed by a leadership committee from a variety of disciplines. The authors – the library director, the dean of architecture, a practicing architect and an applied anthropologist – describe the project, explain the methods, and review the outcomes, sharing their experiences of the living library.