Library Test Kitchen

Bridging the analog and the digital worlds, the offline and the online, libraries represent one of the most exciting opportunities for design and redesign on the contemporary scene. The Library Test Kitchen provides a unique for-credit environment to develop and fully realize your design ideas on a 1:1 scale within the setting of one of the world’s greatest research library systems: the Harvard Libraries.
The Harvard Library system is in the midst of an unprecedented transformation and, as part of the process, they are financing the Library Test Kitchen as a fast prototyping lab for the modeling of the libraries’ own future.
Topics Covered: libraries, information, space, developing and communicating new ideas, technology, fast prototyping
Objectives: Leverage the course budget and the library community’s support and expertise to design, build and deploy products, services and experiences that chart the future of the Harvard Library.
Questions: What form should the Harvard Libraries assume in the 21st century? Should they simply vanish into virtual desktops and merge into a timeless and placeless universal database? Should they alter their identity and become workshops, laboratories, innovation incubators where emerging and future forms interact and dialogue with the relics of the past? Or should they simply merge with the university itself as a place of knowledge production and reproduction?
Projects: Final projects may assume a range of forms. They may be built, grown, coded or performed. They may involve redesigning existing library websites, spaces or services. They may be pieces of furniture or new-fangled library experiences, policies or interventions. Projects may address existing problems or serve as speculative probes or provocations. All that is required is that they be realized so that they exist for people to interact with.
Format: Seminar/Workshop feel with frequent guests from the library and design communities.
Evaluation: Participation (blog posts, class discussion)—25%, Exercises (assignments)—25%, Final Projects—50%.
Outputs: We will be publishing our coursework to the blog: Our final projects will be published as a newspaper to share with the larger design and library communities outside of Harvard.
Learning More: Visit our Blog: Read the Harvard Magazine coverage: