A theme that keeps cropping up in our library-as-incuabtor world is reuse or repurpose. We see it in popular altered book programs like Austin Public Library’s Recycled Reads program, in the Recycled Holiday Crafts at North Park University, in Mel Kolstad’s collage for the Detritus Project, and many more. Artists, makers, and librarians have this in common – we tend to be a thrifty bunch, making do with what we have and finding new uses for old things. We haven’t talked much about repurposed technology in the library, so I’m particularly thrilled to share a program from Tarrant County College’s library, which as you’ll see, received some funding to create a digital exhibition space out of defunct computer equipment. How very appropriate for this time of year, in which we celebrate both National Library Week and Earth Day! ~ Laura

TCC Digital Exhibition1

Repurposed laptop screens get new life as digital media displays at Tarrant County College’s NE campus’ Bell Library.

TCC Library Digital Exhibition 2

Repurposed laptop screens provide gallery space to display digital media projects.

Ayyoub Ajmi is the Library Technology Manager at the J. Ardis Bell library, of Tarrant County College (Fort Worth, Texas) Northeast Campus. Ayyoub writes, “I have been awarded a Title III Grant to repurpose obsolete laptops into digital exhibition platforms placed throughout the library.

“A small number of the frames are used for library promotion displaying FAQs, new arrivals, and events. The rest of the digital frames are used for exhibition purposes open to students, faculty and staff.”

The program’s goals and objectives are outlined on the Repurposed Laptop Project’s webpage:

  1. Increase library attendance and use of its services to support student success.
  2. Promote the library services and events among students, faculty and staff.
  3. Build dynamic and long-term partnerships with other departments.
  4. Develop a digital exhibition program open to students, faculty and staff providing exposure and recognition.
  5. Provide exhibition users the opportunity to become part of a digital publishing project that will be housed in the TCC NE Library Archives.

The initiative takes care of two issues: recycling defunct equipment while opening up a unique gallery space.

The initiative was welcomed by everyone at Tarrant County College. During its first week, the library scheduled four digital exhibits and many more are now being prepared.

What a great way to reuse old equipment! Not only does defunct equipment get new life, but a tricky problem of “how to display digital media” is solved with this new gallery space. Have you done anything similar with old electronics? No surprise – we’d love to hear about it! Send us a note at libraryasincubatorproject@gmail.com or post your ideas/programs here in the comments section!

Below: a gallery of a recent digital exhibition with an accompanying book display, part of the International Festival at Tarrant County College’s Northeast Campus. 

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