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RLUK Digital Shift Forum - Hiral Patel, Cardiff University

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RLUK’s Digital Shift Forum brings together colleagues to discuss the future of the digital shift in collections, services, and audiences.

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“This building is never complete” – a tale of space, users and technologies

Hiral Patel, Lecturer and Architect, Cardiff University

Library buildings are always in a state of flux. They have been continuously adapted in response to emerging technologies, pedagogical innovations or creation of new library services. This talk will discuss the evolution of a library building over the last 50 years in response to changing user needs and digital technologies, taking the example of the University of Reading’s library. The talk will conclude with provocations for the future role of library spaces, particularly in the context of rapid digital transitions instigated by COVID-19 pandemic. The proliferation of technologies in our daily lives will have a profound impact on ways of learning and the use of libraries. Rethinking library buildings as interactions between users, technologies and physical spaces will become even more pertinent.

Get involved: Libraries in 2040

As part of this talk, you are invited to contribute your visions of a library of the future. The purpose of this activity is to gather themes that need further exploration and dialogue. Send your postcard from the future here https://padlet.com/patelh18/librariesin2040

Suggested readings:

• Patel, H. and Tutt, D. (2018). "This building is never complete”: Studying adaptations of a library building over time. In: Sage, D. and Vitry, C. eds. Societies under Construction. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 51–85. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-319-73996-0_2

• Patel, H. (2019). Are we looking at the same thing? Multiple methods to frame ‘occupancy’ of a library building. In: 35th Annual ARCOM Conference, 2-4 September 2019. Leeds. http://orca.cf.ac.uk/126618/

• Patel, H. (2019). Learning-space compass. London: Higher Education Design Quality Forum. https://www.hedqf.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/HEDQF_A4-Framework_ExecutiveSummary.pdf

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This event will be held via Zoom. Attendees will be sent joining details the day before the event, and should check their junk folders if no email is received.

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