York University, Toronto
York University, Toronto (Photo: Levitt Goodman Architects)

Claire Shaw, writing for the Guardian Higher Education Network, says: "This drive to refurbish, redesign and rebuild university libraries plays into a wider shift occuring in higher education – the change in the way students, researchers and academics are accessing and studying information."

"Pedagogy is the driver for the changes in library design," says Ann Rossiter, director of the Society of College, National and University Libraries – "changes to the way undergraduates are expected to study, for example, including more social spaces, more social learning and group learning. The way that library buildings are changing is designed to reflect that."