Document Type

Book Chapter

Original Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

Advances in Library Administration and Organization



First Page


Last Page




Date of Submission

February 2017



This essay explores the recent trend in libraries: that of the establishment of spaces specifically set aside for creative work. The rise of these dedicated creative spaces is owed to a confluence of factors that happen to be finding their expression together in recent years. This essay examines the history of these spaces and explores the factors that gave rise to them and will fuel them moving forward.


A viewpoint piece, this essay combines historical research and historical/comparative analyses to examine the ways by which libraries have supported creative work in the past and how they may continue to do so into the 21st century.


The key threads brought together include a societal recognition of the value of creativity and related skills and attributes; the philosophies, values, and missions of libraries in both their longstanding forms and in recent evolutions; the rise of participatory culture as a result of inexpensive technologies; improved means to build community and share results of efforts; and library experience and historical practice in matters related to creativity. The chapter concludes with advice for those interested in the establishment of such spaces, grounding those reflections in the author’s experiences in developing a new creative space at Virginia Commonwealth University.


While a number of pieces have been written that discuss the practicalities of developing certain kinds of creative spaces, very little has been written that situates these spaces in larger social and library professional contexts; this essay begins to fill that gap.

Recommended Citation

Eric D. M. Johnson, (2016), The Right Place at the Right Time: Creative Spaces in Libraries, in Samantha Schmehl Hines, Kathryn Moore Crowe (ed.) The Future of Library Space (Advances in Library Administration and Organization, Volume 36) Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.1 - 35


© Emerald Group Publishing

Is Part Of

VCU Libraries Faculty and Staff Publications