study spaces, study carrels, study desks, study experience, learning experience, prototyping, study, library space


Purpose – This paper examines student perceptions of new individual study desks (ISDs) and how they improved the students’ learning experience.

Design/methodology/approach – The study describes the process for developing new ISDs. When about half of the old ISDs were replaced with new ISDs, two parallel surveys were used to understand why students used the ISDs, what their experiences were and any suggested improvements.

Findings – Results indicate that the new ISDs were used by students for significantly longer periods of time. They enjoyed the ambiance and amenities of the new desks, including a whiteboard used by over 90% of students. Many students using new ISDs expressed a desire for more new ISDs, so it would not be as hard to find an available one; students using old ISDs called for improvements that would make the old ISDs more like the new ISDs.

Practical implications – This study has two practical implications. It emphasizes the importance of both engaging student patrons throughout the design process and conducting follow-up assessments to determine if changes make things better.

Originality/value – The value of this study is in understanding the optimal steps for developing new study spaces for students. These steps include integrating student input during development and design, prototyping a change and following up to determine the degree to which a change worked on the changes made.

Original Publication Citation

Zaugg, H. and Belliston, C.J. (2020), Assessing old and new individual study desks, Performance Measurement and Metrics, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Emerald Publishing Limited




Harold B. Lee Library

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor