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The Living Library: An Intellectual Ecosystem
Patricia Steele, David Cronrath, Sandra Parsons Vicchio, and Nancy Fried Foster for ACRL
Item Number: 978-0-8389-8740-7
Publisher: ACRL
Price: $42.00
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The e-book edition and the print/e-book bundle of this title are also available.

154 pages
7” x 10”
ISBN-13: 978-0-83898-740-7
Year Published: 2015
AP Categories: P
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.
Table of Contents


Chapter 1. The McKeldin Library in Context 1
Appendix 1.1: Project Process

Chapter 2. Ethnographic Study of the Library
Appendix 2.1: Interview Questionnaire

Chapter 3. Participatory Design of the Living Library

Chapter 4. Defining the Living Library

Chapter 5. Designing the Living Library
Appendix 5.1: Stakeholder Goals and Objectives
Appendix 5.2: Books as Heart Plans
Appendix 5.3: Bridges and Connection Plans

About the Authors

About the Authors

Patricia A. Steele, Dean of Libraries at the University of Maryland, provides strategic direction and leadership to an organization committed to addressing the changing needs of the academic community.

David Cronrath is Professor and Dean of the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at the University of Maryland. He is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University and the University of California at Berkeley. David has been an educator and administrator for over 20 years.

Sandra Parsons Vicchio, AIA, LEED BD+C, has her own firm that provides architecture, planning, and design services with a focus on libraries, cultural, and educational institutions. 

Nancy Fried Foster is Senior Anthropologist at Ithaka S+R, where she helps libraries and organizations use ethnographic and participatory methods to understand their users and then design spaces, services, and technologies to meet their needs. She has a Ph.D. in Applied Anthropology from Columbia University and a Diploma in Social Anthropology from the University of Oxford.


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