The idea of the information commons as a space for students to gather and work with technology has been with us for over a decade now. Carving out these areas has allowed many university libraries to remain relevant in the academic lives of students. Just as libraries have historically provided reading rooms for users to access and work with print collections, they now provide common spaces for them to access and work with digital collections. The information commons is a natural extension of the library's traditional mission in a wired world.
The information commons itself must adapt and evolve to meet changing expectations and technological capabilities. How well do these environments currently support social learning and promote collaborative work? To what extent do they employ flexible design and take advantage of wireless technology? Do they encourage creativity and discovery and inspire users? Do they offer services and features that students don't already have in campus residence halls and computer labs?