Information commons, Academic libraries, General reference, Staff training, Student technology and reference support


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to show that the idea and implementation of information commons is becoming more prevalent in the academic library community. Many of these have been implemented in what were once General Reference areas of libraries. This paper discusses the process and experience of the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University, including concept development, acceptance and implementation. In addition, the first 18 months of operation and our visions for the future of our implementation are contained herein. One of the major themes of the paper is that change in an information commons is inevitable. Design/methodology/approach: The paper is a case study of the information commons implementation done at Brigham Young University. Findings: The paper shows the implementation of the information commons at Brigham Young University has been very successful and it will continue to adapt as higher education practice at the University continues to change. Practical implications: The paper show that the jury is still out as concerns "best practices" in information commons design, Brigham Young University's experience constitutes a case study, which may very well emerge as an example of "best practice." Originality/Value: Shows that the experience at Brigham Young University will help other academic institutions as they consider implementing an Information Commons or changing a current implementation.

Original Publication Citation

Reference Services Review, Vol. 34 No. 2, 26, 261-278.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Emerald Group Publishing Limited




Harold B. Lee Library