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Modern university libraries serve as neutral spaces for collaboration and access to shared resources.

The number of formal study seats on campus is sufficient, however, demand for study space continues to grow, with a particular emphasis on group study. These environments require more space per person to provide flexibility, and some spaces should also support multimedia and teleconferencing.

The assessment shows a need for decentralized study and collaboration spaces throughout campus. This type of space is needed in each academic and research building to support modern pedagogies and research environments. It creates “sticky” space environments where students can work together, students and faculty can meet outside of class times, and faculty can informally meet with each other. Complementing dispersed clusters of general purpose resources, other more specialized resources require a strategic approach to create shared centralized hubs. The campus’ approach to makerspaces, for example, embodies a centralized approach for specialized resources and should continue to be used as the demand for these types of spaces grows.

Embedding specialized libraries within the departments offers advantages, primarily related to proximity of main users. The University has successfully centralized some departmental libraries in the past, but plans to centralize further will need to be carefully considered with buy-in from users. The libraries continue to add book volumes across campus, and compact shelving has been used to expand storage capacity, while minimizing the collection footprint where possible with notable physical limitations in the Law and Davis Libraries. There is a need for decentralized collaboration and study areas that are not contained within any of the formal libraries.

686,097 NASF
Study Tables
Study Space
NOTE: Circle sized by total library and study space NASF in each building

  • Orange: Stacks
  • Red: Processing Room
  • Green: Open Stack Study Room
  • Blue: Study Room
Library Space
Library + Study Space NASF Actual Service as Percent of Study + Stack Space
Central Study + Stack Space 504,460
Central Service Space 88,159 17%
Central Library + Study Space 592,619
Departmental Library + Study Space 93,478
Total Library + Study Space 686,097

Library Collection

Print Volumes
Electronic Books
AV Materials
Graphic Items
Manuscript Items

Service Space Metric

15% of total library space

Study Space
Study Space NASF Percent of Total Space NASF Per Student Number of Seats NASF Per Seat
Central 155,231 67% 4.89 7,292 21
Departmental* 76,386 33% 2.41 Unknown
Total 231,617 7.30
*Includes formal (e.g., the Law Library) and informal (e.g., Geography) departmental study space.

Target Metrics

  • Seats for 25% of total student headcount
  • 35-39 NASF/Study seat

UNC Actual

  • Seats for 23% of student headcount
  • 21 NASF/Study seat