Price Gilbert

A majority of the Library’s physical collection — the very core of all preconceived notions of what a research library is and how librarians serve — left the Georgia Tech Library space.

Even without these books, we are still a research library.

The Library is still a place that facilitates access to information to produce useful knowledge, just as it always has been. The Library is a space and a network of services that accomplishes this mission, even without the print copy books directly located on site. There have been many gains in the digital access to information in recent years, and the Georgia Tech Library has the space and services to match these digital gains.

Why call it a Library?

A lingering challenge from the early design phase to the present has been to clearly and appropriately define the word “library” for stakeholders. When faced with a novel question or challenge, the culture within our library encourages taking a reflective approach in order to allow the requisite space and time for knowledge to coalesce and wisdom to emerge. With respect to the word “library,” a small group of librarians developed an influential white paper that characterized the new Georgia Tech Library as an evolutionary step for Georgia Tech’s campus and the institution of research libraries. The authors write: “[j]ust as the term ‘theater’ once signified a space where Greek drama was performed and now connotes a space where digital images are projected, the activity within a library space may change, but the label and the place retain their informative, symbolic power.”

Given this semantic claim, the authors of this white paper make the case that “[t]he reimagined and renewed Georgia Tech Library will continue to be the important hub for campus knowledge creation, collaboration, and scholarship that it has always been. Every great academic institution relies on the spaces, services, staff, and symbolic value of the ‘library’ to serve that purpose, regardless of the form its library may take.” As a result, the new facility will indeed be called a library, which stands as a rather important signifier, given the fundamental change in programmatic focus of the building.

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Read more about the Library Next project here.

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Our Focus

The Library is interdisciplinary, neutral, and open to all. No other space or unit on campus is committed to enhancing and promoting the scholarship and learning of all academic disciplines in the same way.

As an academic library, the Georgia Tech Library has a mission that is easy to state and hard to define: Define excellence in the creation, preservation, curation, and connection of  scholarship. Through this work we create new paths of  learning, knowledge, information, and resources to  develop leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition..

The Library fulfills its mission through a variety of services and resources that are developed and refined by Library faculty and support staff  in collaboration with the Library’s constituency: the students, faculty, and staff of Georgia Tech.


Like the quad ruled pages of a laboratory notebook or the tight-knit components of an integrated development environment, the Library is a template, a didactic structure, a platform for innovation.

The physical space of the Library brings users together, inviting them to model innovative methods of research and scholarship for each other. The space directs users to the services that are there to support them and even suggests tactics that can help them succeed.

Quiet study carrels and rooms say, “sometimes you will need solitude and silence to focus on your scholarship.” Reconfigurable couches and rolling tables inside a multimedia room say, “other times, you will need to rearrange your environment to support both in-person and virtual collaboration and to examine your research question from a new perspective.”

User Research

The Library partnered with Brightspot Strategy, a user-centered design consultancy, to assist with the user research process and develop a shared vision to inform the architectural design and programming of the renewed Library. At a high level, the objective of the User Research Study was to understand the research, teaching, and learning needs of various groups on campus and identify space and service opportunities to support those needs. Review the following documents to learn more: