Sunday, March 03, 2013

Designing Interactive Library Spaces

Brian Pichman is one of the creators of the Evolve Project, which aims to get libraries ready for the 21st century and beyond.

Competitors to libraries:

  • Amazon --their website says no waiting for ebooks
  • Google
  • Wikipedia
  • Internet access at home

How do you get people to come in if they can get everything at home? Offer an experience. Create new ways to learn and explore. Be engaging! Learn from museums and schools and steal their best ideas.

Pichman discussed a project to redesign the children’s room in the Mokena Public Library in Illinois to make it more fun and interactive for kids. The budget was $165,000  for everything -they did all the manual labor themselves.

They decorated the library in bright colors and moved shelves around to make it seem bigger. Outfacing shelves make browsing more appealing--we all judge books by their covers! A white wall with special dry-erase paint  lets kids write a review of their favorite books or create collaborative artworks. Kiosks with Xbox & Wii have no enforced time limits, but staff encourages kids to try something new if they have been playing for a long time. A Microsoft Kinect and a television allow Gesture Based Computing -- kids can play videos, paint, dance,  all without touching. When not in use, it can promote library events.

The goal is to encourage innovation--original, disruptive acts. Kids who have never met before interact and discover things on their own. Collaboration makes libraries more like Fab labs or makerspaces.

Interactive Programs:

  • Laser Tag in the library! It takes place after hours. Ammo packs are hidden in the library and kids have to follow clues to their location -- they learn the layout of the library while having fun.
  • The Menager-E: e-readers and tablets are made available to patrons. It promotes Overdrive e-books while letting patrons try out devices without any sales pressure. They didn't lock the devices down because they didn't want to discourage people.
  • Showing one movie in a loop all day. If you have an activity room that is only used part of the day -- why not have it open all day long? include related books with a  "map" to find them. Have a craft activity and let patrons “check out” what the kids made.

Recommended Technology:

Spero - a sturdy, waterproof ball that can be moved with a smart device for games and even giving a tour of the library.

Sifteo Cubes - “smart tiles” that can be used for games or creating a maze.

Lego We-Do - robotic Legos that teach programming.

Smart Tables - interactive smart touch screens --up to eight people can play games at a time.

Sound Egg -a music station that keeps sound from bleeding out without closing users off.

Ideas for the future:

  • Replace traditional end panel signs on shelves (e.g. A-F)  with a tablet. Record patron reviews and letting patrons scan the end panels to hear the review.
  • The Game of Books: participants get different "points" for reading types of books.
  • Checking out pots and pans for cooking
  • Growing a garden together.

The webinar is archived here:

--Andrea @Central

No comments: