Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2018

Publication Title

Reference Services Review


Library and Information Services



The purpose of this paper is to review a selection of articles and books that highlight aspects of spatial theory and literacy from various disciplinary perspectives, along with a review of library space studies.


This study reviews library literature that uses spatial literacy and its related tools. The authors searched in two databases: Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts, and SCOPUS. The paper records were analyzed to find primary research studies, published between 2010 and 2017, which study patron use of library space using various single and hybrid methodologies.


The findings of the literature reveal that of the 26 studies reviewed, 23 have a descriptive research question and three have a relational research question. Based on the analysis of the research methodologies used, there is more that can be done in support of a librarian’s research efforts as well as the arenas in which research is conducted.

Practical implications

These findings highlight ways in which library and information science researchers and those who educate them can broaden knowledge within the profession regarding spatial theory, literacy and applicable research methodologies for studying library space.


Current and best practices for designing library space studies that use spatial literacy to collect and analyze data are identified along with a discussion of future directions for researchers to better assess space and communicate the value of physical space in libraries.