In January, I wrote a short blog to share a wonderful presentation by Chrystie Hill of OCLC called “Libraries, Present and Future” which she presented at TedxRainier in November 2011.  In her talk, Hill asserts that the library of the future is not about storing books.  She asks her audience to think about the library of the future– What would it look like?  What would it do?–  by asking the question:

“When everything is online, why come to the library at all?”

Libraries all over the world are re-envisioning service models, information access and delivery, and community participation in light of questions like this, with astonishing results.  Perhaps the best known example is the Urban Mediaspace in Aarhus, Denmark. Government policies for community engagement govern municipal projects in Aarhus in a model they call “participatory democracy in practice,”  which means that citizen input and involvement is required for all new building projects, including new plans for a public library.  User feedback–especially from children– provided the backbone for Urban Mediaspace Aarhus, a new, flexible design for libraries that focuses on networking and collaboration to make it the city’s heart of knowledge and culture.

The video I want to share with you today comes from Matt Mills of Aurasma, a company that creates augmented reality technology for mobile devices.  How are these ideas connected?  Well, in Aarhus, kids wanted their library to be more interactive and to augment traditional, physical information with digital and sensory details.  For instance, they wanted to hear the sounds of the forest when they approached the books about trees in the library stacks.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if our phones could see the world like we do? ~Matt Mills

In this video, Matt Mills and Tamara Roukaerts demonstrate Aurasma, a new augmented reality tool that can seamlessly animate the world as seen through a smartphone. Going beyond previous augmented reality, their “auras” can do everything from making a painting talk to overlaying live news onto a printed newspaper.

The Aurasma technology displays information in a new way; it’s not just a convenient and fast method of finding information in today’s fast-pased and digital world, it can be a powerful, interactive educational tool.  As you can see in the video, schools and educators have latched on to this technology to add auras to their classrooms for interactive learning purposes.  It seems to me that “tagging up” a classroom is small step from tagging the library stacks so that users can hear the sounds of the forest when they approach books about trees.

This is the next step on from simply browsing the internet because now the digital content we discover, create and share can be woven seamlessly in to the world around us.

So, what do you think?  Is Aurasma technology destined to be integrated into the library of the future?  How might it contribute to the library as incubator?  What do you think the library of the future should include?  Share with us in the comments!



 Want More?

Our January 15, 2012 blog | TedxRainier Christie Hill: Libraries Present and Future

A quick run-down of the Aarhus Urban Mediaspace on the Helsinki Library website | Denmark Sets an Example: Urban Mediaspace Aarhus

More forward-thinking library spaces in Scandinavia | DOK, Holland’s “Library Concept Center” 

Photographs of DOK | DOK Delft’s Photostream on Flickr

More TED Videos |

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