Library Design | News

Harvard Innovation Lab Shows Off 'Library of the Future'

Harvard University's "Library Test Kitchen," recently showed off student projects that could one day turn up in libraries. Among the offerings:

  • A "Bureau-to-Go," a fabric desk that folds up and gives library patrons a way to "stake out" their own territory at communal tables;
  • An "Object Lens," which allows a user to view a magnified image of an object and talk about it, while the commentary is recorded;
  • "Speed Reader," which offers cameras linked to location software to show where a book is taking place as it progresses; according to campus coverage by Corydon Ireland, the demonstration used Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days as an example for the prototype; and
  • Library Island, a hillock covered in fake turf that allows patrons to lounge in a variety of positions.
  The Bureau-to-Go is a fabric desk that allows library patrons a way to
The Bureau-to-Go is a fabric desk that allows library patrons a way to "stake out" their own territory at communal tables.
 

The students who participated in the open house received extra credit for the course, which is an advanced seminar offering of Harvard's Graduate School of Design. The Library Test Kitchen immerses students in the library world and is intended to be a fast prototyping lab for the future of library spaces and services.

The latest iteration of the course focused on "library machines. As the course Web page describes, a library machine is a "mechanically or electronically operated device for performing library functions." They may be "experiences, instruments, applications or efficiencies. They may be found in reading rooms, on the reference desk, deep in the stacks or outside the library altogether."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

comments powered by Disqus