Exploring recent trends in Australian library design in the global design context - Library Design Trend Report project begins

Canberra, 27 AprilWe are excited to share that the Australian Library Design Trend Report research project is now underway, led by a cross-disciplinary research team with expertise in information behaviour and user experience design, library design and services and design practices.

The project will explore recent trends in Australian library design in the global design context, drawing from the ALIA Library Design Awards archives.

The report will highlight the ways in which UN Sustainable Development Goals are shaping library and architectural practices, through examples of sustainable, user-focused designs.

The project team will be led by Professor Lisa Given and includes Dr Kirsten Day, Professor Helen Partridge and Dr Katherine Howard.

Professor Lisa Given said, “The project fully aligns with our work exploring how people live, study, and work in communities, including how the library serves as an informing space and how architectural design shapes human experience.

“While the project focuses on the Australian context, research evidence and design exemplars will highlight global trends relevant to global audiences. This will showcase Australian innovation in library design ahead of the 2023 Awards.”

The project will run for the next six months, and the publication will be a valuable resource for educators, practitioners, and researchers, to inform innovative, future library designs that best meet users’ information-related activities.

About the team

Professor Lisa Given, Professor Helen Partridge, Dr Kirsten Day & Dr Katherine Howard.


Professor Lisa Given, is Director, Social Change Enabling Capability Platform and Professor of Information Sciences at RMIT in Melbourne. She is an expert in people’s information behaviours, user-centred design, and mixed methods. As a senior research leader, funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC), her publications span scholarly, professional, and community venues, including several reports for professional stakeholders. Her research explores people’s use of physical spaces to seek information for work and personal needs. Professor Given co-created the award-winning “seating sweeps” methodology to assess people’s use of library spaces, which is used by library managers to inform space design.

Dr Kirsten Day is a lecturer in Architecture at the University of Melbourne and previously Course Director at Swinburne. She is also a Director at Norman Day + Associates Architects with 20+ years’ experience as a registered architect. She has designed libraries for primary, secondary, and tertiary educational settings, and chairs the Education Committee of the Victorian Chapter, Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). Dr Day’s fieldwork incorporates stakeholder consultation and futures scenarios, including design for neurodiversity and the value libraries for people living with disabilities. She was instrumental in establishing the Gregory Burgess Archive (Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne) and her current ARC grant brings her expertise in architectural media to the GLAM sector.

Professor Helen Partridge is the Pro Vice-Chancellor Teaching and Learning at Deakin University with expertise in the library sector and design practices. From 2007 to 2013 she coordinated Queensland University of Technology’s ALIA-accredited programs and subsequently oversaw the University of Southern Queensland’s library services, where she established the library’s makerspace. Professor Partridge was twice elected to ALIA’s Board of Directors and appointed a Fellow in 2012. She led a project involving 11 educational institutions, which established a framework for educating Australian information professionals for the twenty-first century.

Dr Katherine Howard will be the research fellow for the project. She is e-Research Analyst at Intersect and completed her PhD at Queensland University of Technology.


The report is due to be released by the end of 2022.