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Designing a Law Library to Encourage Learning

(Forthcoming) Journal of Legal Education

28 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2013 Last revised: 8 Apr 2014

Lee F. Peoples

Oklahoma City University

Date Written: April 1, 2013


For centuries the traditional approach to library design has focused on allocating sufficient space for the collection, study space, and staff offices. In contrast, the process of designing a library to encourage learning begins by building institutional consensus around important learning behaviors and creating spaces that encourage those behaviors. Several university libraries have adopted the design for learning approach over the past decade. Law libraries have yet to explore this concept.

The article begins with a brief historical introduction to law library design. Design for learning is introduced and discussed in the context of law libraries. Examples of how the concept can be used to ensure compliance with accreditation standards and enact reforms mentioned in the Carnegie Report are provided. Specific design traits that encourage learning by fostering collaboration and allowing students to balance the social and communal aspects of study are discussed. The article concludes with an exploration of how high quality law library spaces can increase enrollment and encourage generous alumni support.

Keywords: law libraries, library design, design and learning, learning commons, planned collisions, intentional learning, active learning, Carnegie Report

Suggested Citation

Peoples, Lee F., Designing a Law Library to Encourage Learning (April 1, 2013). (Forthcoming) Journal of Legal Education. Available at SSRN:

Lee F. Peoples (Contact Author)

Oklahoma City University ( email )

800 North Harvey Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
United States
405-208-6030 (Phone)

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