study commons

In a meeting with my boss she told us about universities in Hong Kong which have so called study commons. Specially reserved areas for students to study. In these commons you can find areas for using computers; There are people there to help you do your research, including help with the actual writing.  There are also career services and other auxiliary services.

But no books.

It seems to me as though these study commons are libraries without books. They are a meeting place for students and staff, there is help with research. There are reading rooms and quiet areas.

If books were included that is what a library normally is. But crucially in Hong Kong these commons, mostly, were not in the library but in different places on campus.

There is a lot of discussion about what a library is for at university. Can there be a library without books? To me, what I heard about these commons, however little, sounded something like this:

My first reaction was to think that this is what may make a library obsolete in time. If most information can be found online and people have access to it, then surely a depot could be enough for the physical collections. And the rest of the libraries’ services would be taken over by the study commons. But until the access is sorted out properly and freely you need library folk to deal with that so the academic folk don’t need to.


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