Since approximately 1990, the Information Commons has emerged as an effective model of integrated library public services. The Information Commons combines traditional, paper-print, high-touch library services and resources with computer technologies and digital resources in a relatively seamless service environment. Extensive computer resources for Web research, free Web resources and proprietary electronic databases complement the full spectrum of productivity software and specialty scanning, digitization and multimedia resources. Numerous examples from North America and elsewhere and links to others will be provided.
The Information Commons model considers change and evolution in patron needs vis-à-vis 1. staff training and attitude, 2. quantity, quality and type of information resources, 3. unmediated access and personal control in patron learning and research (especially in search technologies), and 4. architectural layout and aesthetic nature of the library facilities.
The learner and researcher share many needs, but the complexity of high-level research often warrants special consideration. High-level research needs and knowledge creation are the focus of the budding Research Commons at a few institutions. The Open Access (OA) movement pays special attention to evolving research and scholarly publishing needs.