Many college students across the country, in light of the impacts of the pandemic on teaching, learning, and the broader student experience, feel disconnected from their peers and institutions, and crave the right kinds of space—quiet space, in particular—for effectively completing their coursework. Fostering a sense of belonging and providing spaces for both collaborative and independent student work have long been top priorities of academic libraries and the individuals that lead them.
Yet, while libraries and publishers have built out robust digital tools, resources, and services over the past several decades, the work of translating physical library space to a virtual context has proven much more challenging. This is particularly noteworthy given that roughly half of academic libraries are still currently operating with limited hours or restricted building access. However, several colleges and universities are experimenting with new technologies to simulate various types of library space to foster a sense of community and enhance student productivity.
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