Dissertation Information for Catherine Closer-Crane
MPACT Status: Incomplete - Not_Inspected
Title: (Re)creating the academic library as place for the 21st century? A critical analysis of discourse in discussions of academic library planning and design
Abstract: Taking a critical realist constructionist perspective and using Norman Fairclough's critical discourse analysis as a methodology, the aims of this study were to: (1) identify and describe interpretative repertoires activated in a corpus of selected texts from the LIS literature on academic libraries planning and design; (2) describe and interpret the order of discourse constituted in those texts; (3) critically analyze the effects of the discursive construction of the academic library as space and place for learning; and (4) provide a perspective on what is involved in planning and designing academic libraries as meaningful places in the life of the users. Eight texts were purposively selected to constitute a corpus for discourse analysis (Beagle, 1999, 2004, 2009; Bennett 2003, 2006, 2008; Halbert, 1999; and Tramdack, 1999). The intensive analysis of these texts led to the description of three essential interpretative repertoires: (1) Libraries as Information Commons (IC); (2) Libraries as Learning Commons (LC); and (3) Libraries Designed for Learning (LDL). Further examination of discursive activity and of the context around discourse construction showed that the activation of these interpretative repertoires contributes to the constitution of a higher order of discourse, that of the Academic Library as Learning Place (ALLP). Critical analysis focused on the examination of the effects this discourse may have on professional practices and the planning and design of academic libraries; three types of effects were found to be relevant to practitioners: (1) the production by the LIS community of discourse on academic libraries of a sizable body of literature on the information commons and on the learning commons; (2) the construction of new types of libraries on the commons model proposed by Beagle; and (3) the metaphorization of the library as business. Finally, it was found that from the perspective of architectural planning and design, the texts failed to discuss architectural space and place in a meaningful way. In conclusion, it is suggested that future discussions need to address the desirable physical, emotional, and environmental qualities of library spaces designed so that learning can happen.
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