Subject Area

Library science


The Commons concept, developed in the early 1990’s, has evolved over time, taking different shapes and involving different resources and services as it has evolved, including the Information Commons, the Learning Commons, the Library Commons and the Research Commons. There are numerous similarities among the various iterations of the Commons and some clear differences.

This presentation describes the basic foci and components of the Commons, found in most all iterations.

The presentation then delineates and describes the variations among the different types of Commons as they move from library-centric and tactical initiatives to institution-wide and strategic.

The Information-, Learning- and Library-Commons are designed primarily with students (mostly undergraduate) in mind. The Research Commons is designed with upper-level graduate students, faculty and researchers in minds.

Examples of each type of Commons will be provided, as well as links to collections of Commons implementations, resources and bibliographies.











This presentation was given at the International Conference on Information and Learning Commons: Enhancing its Role in Academic Learning and Collaboration held December 10-11, 2007, Hong Kong, organized by The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Library.

From the conference description: “Information and Learning Commons at universities provide learning and collaborative spaces as well as information service and technical assistance to foster individual learning and group collaboration. This conference will share experiences about IC/LC, review partnerships between the library and other campus units, and examine their evolving roles and impact on academic learning and intellectual inquiry. It will also explore and identify best operational approaches and assessment practices to enhance the role of information and learning commons in advancing learning and collaboration on campus.”

For more information about the Conference please visit For a complete list of programs and presenters please visit For more information about this presentation visit

Bailey-Tierney-InformationLearning CommonsBibliography-2007.doc (61 kB)
Selected Commons Bibliography

DRBailey-Library+CommonsHandout.pdf (94 kB)
Sample Marketing/Promotion Document for the Commons

DRBailey-Library+CommonsGraphicsHandout.pdf (516 kB)
Sample Branding Document for the Commons