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Georgia Tech Library: Library Next Revolutionizes Georgia Tech’s Spaces and Services

By Ameet Doshi, director, Service Experience & Program Design, and Cathy Carpenter, head, Architecture Library & Community Engagement and Scholarly Outreach

In 2014, the Georgia Tech Library launched Library Next, a renewal project to transform our physical spaces, library services and organizational processes to meet the evolving research, teaching, and learning needs of Georgia Tech. Library Next is transforming the Library from a space primarily dedicated to storing print collections to a 24-hour accessible, multimodal physical and virtual engagement environment. Library Next is taking the opportunity to show what a library really can be, and what research librarians and archivists really can do, like no other research library in America has yet done.

A majority of the Library’s physical print collection — the very core of all preconceived notions of what a research library is and how librarians serve — has left the Georgia Tech Library space. This is possible because of an innovative public-private partnership with Emory University to develop a shared collection that is rapidly accessible to both campuses (the “Library Service Center”). This Library Service Center preserves scholarly materials for future generations in ways their original home could not, and to make space for new formats that can hold data sets, visualizations and applications far beyond the limitations of a bound book. But it is also because the Library’s core model of customer interaction has flipped, from a focus on physical print products to an organization that embraces the digital present and future.


The new, re-imagined Georgia Tech Library building will be a space to provide many new physical, informational, and technological resources to do just that. The physical space of the Library brings users together, inviting them to model innovative methods of research and scholarship for each other. The new library service ethos is forward-facing and predictive. We aim to proactively engage Georgia Tech’s students, faculty and researchers to help them succeed in their scholarly endeavors.

As noted by Catherine Murray-Rust, dean of libraries, in her September 2017 piece for American Libraries: "The biggest challenge to our transformation was organizational. We soon saw that we had to change the culture of the library from passive to active, and we had to retire models that focused narrowly on the library rather than those that supported the larger institution. We had to commit to organizing in a way that envisions a future that is digital.”


The Library Next experiment will be fully realized in a few years. Stay tuned to learn more and how your library can benefit from our lessons learned. 

Copyright 2018 by Ameet Doshi and Cathy Carpenter.