Last week, the KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology) academic library opened for the first time in Saudi Arabia. The academic library illustrates that the “library as place” is as important as ever to the incubation of student success.

During an inaugural tour of the campus, new students told me that the value of having a central 24 hour research space on campus is important to get work done. They told me that the physical components such as flexible space, collaborative workrooms, high tech work areas, copy center, cafe and periodical area for meetings are components that the students need for scholarly research and intensive study.

We have to be mindful that the library is the only flexible research space designed as such on campus. Students use it to create their own working environments regardless of the information format.

We need to tell the critics that the library is changing into a new form and that the ‘library as place’ has taken its place. KAUST is a great example of the 21st century’s latest library design.

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