Harvard Libraries’ new Library Lab “is inviting students, faculty, and staff to collaborate with the Harvard Libraries and serve as co-creators of the information society of the future.” “The University-wide Library Lab is designed to leverage the entrepreneurial aspirations of Harvard students, faculty, and staff, who can propose projects in all areas of library activity.” Projects are submitted via proposal, but they don’t have to be long, sweat-equity proposals; instead the proposals sound quite reasonable – or people can submit an idea and initiate a discussion. Projects are judged on entrepreneurialism, scalability, openness and experimentation.
There’s a lot to like about this initiative, not the least of which is that it is approaching library service management from the “full” perspective — from idea to design, development, pilot, delivery, management, maturity, and finally divestment. Libraries have not (to my knowledge anyway) had R & D functions — which is absolutely critical for new concepts.
Wouldn’t it be cool if some of the agencies supporting libraries adopted this lab model too?
Stack View (below) is a book “neighborhood visualizer” designed to allow users to browse Harvard’s virtual library stacks. Stack View is a project of the model library lab at Harvard Law School. Image credit: Jeff Goldenson—Harvard Law School Library.