Neighborhood bookstores aren’t the only ones losing the battle in today’s digital age. Libraries are losing patrons, as well, as those things we fondly remember as books cake over in dust quicker then we can download Dickens to our Kindle.
“The biggest issue is bringing people back to the library,” says Lizzie Hedrick, Harvard Library’s Communications Officer. “The current perception of what a library is isn’t what people are looking for in the 21st century.”
Which is why a group of students from the Harvard Graduate School of Design have re-imagined today’s libraries, cooking up a new kind of pop-up space: a LABRARY.
The LABRARY is an outgrowth of the School’s “Library Test Kitchen” course, taught by Jeff Goldenson, Jeffrey Schnapp and Ann Whiteside. They worked in conjunction with the Harvard Library and the Library Lab to bring a library to life that could withstand the 21st century’s move to digital.
The space was designed to bring together librarians, students, faculty and community members, and has been the host of workshops, discussions and co-working since mid-November.
Nine different projects are being showcased in the LABRARY, ranging from “Graham Grams”—an edible telegram made with a graham cracker and icing printer—to “Bookface”—an online photo opera that allows visitors to pose in a murder mystery photo booth and experience “death by technology.”
As Hattie Stroud, a master’s of architecture student, told the Harvard Gazette:
We are moving from exclusivity of content to exclusivity of experience. Now that [the idea of the library] has been so radically destabilized by the Internet, what the libraries have to offer is prime space for engagement. The library will best serve its community—academic, social or otherwise—by providing unique experiences.
To see those unique experiences for yourself, swing by 92 Mt. Auburn Street between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday from now up until December 21st. As Hedrick is quick to point out, the LABRARY is right across from Harvard Square haven Felipe’s Taqueria.
Curious to see what other projects you’ll find? Check out the slideshow below, with descriptions courtesy of the Library Test Kitchen class.