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Internet Librarian 2011: Designing for Optimal UX

Nate Hill and Chris Noll

Libraries are moving from the consumption of knowledge to the creation of knowledge.  There is no publicly funded institution that supports content creation.  This is a role that libraries can, and should, fill.  People with ideas need the resources and knowledge to be able to share those ideas with others.  Nate and Chris talked about their Library Lab project – a modular collection of structures that supports content creation.   We are moving from a read environment to a read/write environment.  Noll is part of Noll and Tam Architects, and they work on many projects with libraries to build services that work for their users.  One project they worked on is the Library-a-Go-Go at the Contra Costa County Library – a book vending machine that they put out in BART transit stations and shopping malls.  The Washington County Library in Minnesota has a manual version of that.  The Redmond Ridge Library Express has a small unstaffed library that you have to swipe your card to get into.  The Boston Chinatown Storefront Library was a one-year pop-up branch, with furniture designed and fabricated by architecture students.  In Houston they have Library Express—a few bookshelves and chairs, but a way of getting some kind of library presence in the neighborhoods they serve.  DC Public Library offers small library kiosks.  The Greenbridge Library is part of the community center.  London has Idea Stores—focusing on healthy living, employment, and traditional library services.  (Sarah’s Note: Nice!  I want to rename my library the Idea Store!)  They get very high satisfaction ratings from users and very low costs for services.  Chris also showed the Morgan Hill Library’s Grab and Go services, and libraries in a phone booth and at a bus stop, and a Denmark library’s Mindspot trailer library.  Onto Library Lab.  Digital collections and services are great, but we still need a physical space to facilitate community contributions to this digital collection.  Library Lab was originally proposed as a DPLA Beta Sprint project, but rejected.  But it’s still a cool project!  So, there are 11 modules, each of which offers 3 levels of scaling.  Modules include things like: collaborate, scanner, audio remix & record, video remix & record, display, printing, hardware checkout, digital design, etc.  The modules are distributed with a creative commons license and are all designed to be hackable.  They’re designed to be constructed out of flexible Penrose tiling.  The 10 basic panel shapes make every iteration of the different modules.  They are all flexible, movable, and changeable.  I WANT THIS NOW!

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