Lippincot, J. (2012). Information commons: meeting millennials’ needs. Journal of Library Administration, 50(1), 27–37. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01930820903422156
Information Commons are popular with millennial (also called net generation) students, who often work in groups, use technology avidly, and combine their academic and social lives. Enhancing the configuration of services for the Information Commons can assist in leveraging the value of the available content, hardware, software, and physical setting to support learning and academic programs. Understanding millennial students’ lifestyle is key to developing a robust service program to engage and support them.
Changing habits and academic practices of millennial students influence a change in library priorities and design considerations; especially given the evolution of the traditional library into information commons spaces. Focus is given to the connection between the information commons and the way that millennials conduct their lives suggesting that the commons design should address this connection.
Specific considerations include space flexibility, accommodation of group activity and collaborative learning, space that reinforces community, access to technology and instruction on technology use, as well as the inclusion of some more traditional instructional and presentation space.
The definition and preferences of millennials is addressed, as are the many misconceptions and stereotypes of this age group. Knowing who the millennials are and how they differ from students of past generations provide insights into how libraries can best support this dynamic population. Focusing on how students ideally will use the space takes priority over purely aesthetic considerations for commons design and will allow future information commons to address the needs of all students.