Future of education: America's 7 most futuristic libraries
The Moffitt Library at UC Berkeley offers couches, nap pods and no food and drink restriction. Pic: Wikimedia Commons.

The digital age is taking American varsities’ libraries into the future.

On the inside, these new or renovated spaces are doing away with physical materials like books and journals to be replaced with more online content, in the forms of e-books and access to online journals.

On the outside, their exteriors are designed to reflect a more sleek and modern image, compared to the gilded and old Gothic architecture of days past.

In short, they’re great to use and impressive to look at.

Here are some of America’s most futuristic university libraries:

1. Moffitt Library, University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley)


Couches, nap pods, no restriction on food and drinks – these are a few of UC Berkeley’s favourite things at the school’s Moffitt Library, which was once described as “old and musty”.

2. Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, University of Chicago


This is where the best thesis is going to get written. With a giant glass dome enclosing the main study space streaming glorious sunshine in and a robot crane to get you your materials, this is a dream library to study in.

3. James B. Hunt Jr. Library, North Carolina State University (NCSU)

Opened just a few years ago, the state-of-the-art building is a technologically-rich space that boasts a robot to retrieve up to two million volumes of materials as well as two 3D printers.

Lucky NCSU students get to work in large, inspiring spaces with natural sunlight streaming in, and over 80 different types of chairs from which they can do some essential reading or nap.

4. Klarchek Information Commons, Loyola University Chicago 


Located next to beautiful Lake Michigan, this library was built with environmental concerns in mind. Hence its many environmentally-conscious features, such as natural heating and cooling system in the building and energy-efficient fluorescent lights.

“The building’s form, space, function, materials and construction all act to enforce and support each other in creating an environment that maximises comfort while reducing energy consumption by approximately 50 percent,” its website says.

5. Henry Madden Library, California State University at Fresno


In 2014, the library added the DISCOVERe Hub for students, faculty and staff to receive assistance or training with their mobile device or app. Its Media Lab also offers several iMacs with specialised graphics design and music-editing software.

6. Hannon Library, Southern Oregon University


At this library, students can locate and find materials in a variety of formats using the Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC), which can be used off and on campus.

According to its website, it also has electronic classrooms, secure and climate-controlled Special Collections/University Archives, fireplace alcoves, an art gallery, meeting rooms, and 22 group study rooms.

7. Malcolm A. Love Library and Information Dome, San Diego State University


SDSU’s main academic library boasts a state-of-the-art Media Center and two electronic classrooms.

Apart from being aesthetically pleasing, the school says it updated the computer labs and revamped some of its spaces to make it more open, brighter and usable.

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