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Collaborations Beyond the Cave: A Consideration of the Sacred in the Creation of Collaborative Library Spaces

Ralph Lamar Turner recently wrote an article for the international, peer-reviewed Journal of Learning Spaces on libraries and space design.


This article examines the tensions and risks inherent in implementing new technologies and collaborative spaces while maintaining the library’s critical role as a “civic temple” and knowledge center that inspires and facilitates contemplation and deep thought.  New technologies present “disruptive” challenges, having already broken the library’s monopoly as an information center and now infiltrating what has been a more cerebral environment with the constant and chronic distractions of a “plugged-in” society.  The loss of the physical book presents an additional test to both library identity and library mission, robbing the institution of a vital symbol as well as a tactile gateway to a dialogue with the eternal.  Sacred architecture and library architecture share parallels of purpose, and the exploration of sacred architecture may offer clues to how to transition the library into the new technologically and collaboratively rich age.  

Turner, R. L. (2013). Collaborations beyond the cave: A consideration of the sacred in the creation of collaborative library spaces. Journal of Learning Spaces. (2), 1. Retrieved from

Published on September 18, 2013

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