New ACRL Occasional Report examines Building with Purpose

For Immediate Release
Thu, 02/19/2015


Kathryn Deiss

Content Strategist


CHICAGO – The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is pleased to announce the first in a two-part set of Occasional Reports on academic library construction and renovation. Authored by Christopher Stewart, "Building with Purpose: A Quantitative Overview of U.S. Academic Library Construction 2000-2014" presents a rich set of data on, and analysis of, new library construction over the past 14 years. A forthcoming second report will cover academic library renovations in the same period.

While some argue that the academic library building has been unfairly characterized as a legacy structure, inflexible in its primary role as a space for physical materials, others point to the ongoing transformation of the library space as a center for collaboration, multi-modal learning, discovery and social and cultural life. As the conversation about the evolving role of the library space widens, a broad, quantitative overview and analysis of new library construction and/or renovation activity across U.S. higher education is useful in helping us understand the pace and scope of investments in new library space across different types of institutions.

The analysis presented in Stewart’s report examines new library construction through a framework of institutional characteristics, which provides an opportunity to identify patterns in terms of where libraries are investing in new space. This information also provides evidence of shifting institutional intentions and aspirations for the library building.

Stewart is also the author of the 2010 ACRL publication "The Academic Library Building in the Digital Age: A Study of Construction, Planning, and Design of New Academic Library Space."

"Building with Purpose" is freely available on the ACRL website.


The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for librarians. Representing more than 11,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products and services to help academic and research librarians learn, innovate and lead within the academic community. Founded in 1940, ACRL is committed to advancing learning and transforming scholarship. ACRL is on the Web at, Facebook at and Twitter at @ala_acrl.