Roger Williams University

Library Learning Commons Assessment and Plan

Location: Providence, RI
Client:  Roger Williams University
Architect:  Icon Architecture

Project Description:

Roger Williams University Library was originally built in 1991 and by 2012 the faculty and administration were concerned that it was no longer a vital part of the campus community.  Library stacks were rarely accessed and a new student union coffee shop competed with traditional library carrels for study space.  As utilization decreased over time, campus administration added overflow office space for disparate learning departments and stakeholders, including the AV/IT Department, Academic Technology/Instructional Design Staff, Campus Tutoring, Library Science Departments, and the Campus Media and Graphics Department.

Vantage facilitated workshops with stakeholders to help establish a common vision and new inter-departmental collaborations, and develop a technology program to support a learning commons renovation in the library.  New policies were established to capitalize on common interests within the library and to improve outreach community initiatives.

Vantage teamed with Icon Architecture to recommend renovations to the library over several implementable phases. On the first floor are a central Information “Concierge” desk and an expanded Information Commons, including an Academic Technologies service center (media, instructional design, and IT), an e-Studio and an Instant Theater.  Librarians’ offices are accessed directly off the Information Commons, a Café and Flexible Exhibition Gallery.  The second floor houses expanded tutoring services, a digital newsroom, and several AV-enabled group study spaces. The third floor retains a traditional quiet study library environment.


  • Systems Assessment
  • Facilitated Workshops and Visioning Sessions
  • Organizational Development
  • Technology Program Development
  • Strategic Planning


  • Audiovisual Systems
  • Digital Signage
  • Video Capture
  • Media Post-production Systems
  • Digital Asset Management
  • Digital Content Distribution


  • Highly flexible learning environments for formal and informal learning
  • Enables experimental pedagogical styles
  • Informs the technology upgrades for the rest of the campus.
  • Phased, implementable renovation strategies
  • Rejuvenated campus center with vibrant library community
  • Coherent mission with collaborative learning commons stakeholders