Reimagining Library Learning Spaces, or Risking Digital Piracy in Universities: Students Views on Spatial Boundaries, Time, and Self-Study Modalities in the Post-Digital Era of AI


  • Michael James Day University of Greenwich



Piracy, Literature, Education, Higher Education, International Education


Higher education (HE) is changing. Students are crossing boundaries, such as physical (those of countries) or digital (through distance learning). During COVID-19, the concept of a learning space was redefined, for many studied at home. As the student experience changes, so does the use of learning spaces. This article focuses upon ‘post-digital’ learning spaces and goes on to frame a narrative about how our HE institutional environments need to sharpen the now much hazier boundaries between the physical, digital, spatial and temporal realms; by drawing upon research with 103 Chinese postgraduates in a Sino-British university, it demonstrates piracy of ebooks as one indicator – and disruptor – of a shift in post-digital lived experience (analysis shows how students turn to online ‘shadow libraries’, to save not just money, but time and space too, redefining universities, reading and information retrieval practices); it concludes by discussing how institutional repositories need to be transformed into multifunctional spaces where students can access resources in various ways, not just in hard copies of books. In consequence, it positions the need for a future ‘post-digital library’ in universities as a place of collaboration, creativity, enterprise and critical thinking, not as one of stacked shelves.

Author Biography

Michael James Day, University of Greenwich

Associate ProfessorALEILSUoG


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