I was fortunate to attend the Re-Think It: Libraries for a New Age Conference. Learning about the big and little transformations happening at libraries around the country was great. I loved being involved in the exchange of ideas between librarians, architects, furniture designers and other researchers. 
 
Libraries have been active in creating a Design Think mentality within their organizations to facilitate physical changes that support changes in learning and library services. As architects, at least at QEA, this human-focused approach to design is not new. But for many librarians the switch from spaces focused on housing collections to spaces focused on patron needs is a change. The variety of projects libraries are doing that study patron needs, create prototypes to fulfill the needs, evaluate the results and iterate the process to improve was impressive.  
 
The Chicago Public Library has even developed a Design Think Toolkit for Libraries. http://designthinkingforlibraries.com/ 
 
Many of the presentations described prototypes that have been created in libraries and the evaluation of these spaces. Two interesting new spaces are the immersive interactive design wall at Georgia State University Library (seen in photo) and the active learning classroom developed at the University of Arizona library. While these prototypes are being replicated in other parts of campus, it was clear throughout all the presentations that the library is a specific special place for students and other users. There is something about being in "The Library" that creates an atmosphere of engaged learning. 
 
For copies of presentations and more information on speakers the conference site is: http//:scholarworks.gvsu.edu/rethinkit