At UT, the biggest challenge has been changing antiquated notions of a library's role in learning. "While most people have been hugely supportive of this idea, some have been sort of grieving over this iconic loss of the undergraduate library. I think what they are really grieving is the passing of the book as the means of scholarly communication," says Fred Heath, vice provost for the general libraries, adding that UT is the nation's fifth-largest academic library with more than 8 million volumes.It's not as though they took the volumes all out into the main concourse and had a giant bonfire, after all - they've been moved into other collections.
I've seen this coming since when I was in school and "portable computer" meant you could pick the damn thing up without a forklift, if you were lucky. The busiest study areas were always the lounges and the coffee shops, places where you could eat and work at the same time - and the library was constantly fighting a losing battle with people ignoring the ban on food and drink. In addition, UT has one of the top Information Science (nee Library) programs extant, so I'm not surprised to see the school as a whole putting some of that theory in to action.
The most interesting aspect of the article to me, though, was the assertion that the institution of Undergraduate Library itself was fairly young. The 1950s, it claims, was when universities began to open the stacks to undergraduates, and build collections more focused on those areas of study. News to me, but it does explain some of the oddities of the UW library system and Interlibrary Loan, and some of the quirkiness in the language.