We just concluded class #2 of the Library Test Kitchen, our experimental seminar in the Graduate School of Design. The course is a collaboration between Jeffrey Schnapp (Professor of Romance Languages & Literature, Director of metaLab) Ann Whiteside (Director, Frances Loeb Library), Ben Brady (GSD) and me (Jeff Goldenson). It is the continuation of a seminar this past Fall entitled Bibliotheca, the Library Past/Present/Future. There are many other folks involved in the Test Kitchen—people from the Innovation Lab, the greater Harvard Library and metaLab, who are taking part, and we’re just at the beginning.

As described on www.librarytestkitchen.org, this is a seminar about making. A prototyping lab for libraries. Our goal is to create products, services & experiences, broadly defined, for the Harvard Library community. Generous funding to realize these projects is provided by Prof. Robert Darnton and the Harvard Library Lab. Projects will be deployed in «Test Kitchens»—partner libraries, such as the Loeb and Widener Libraries, that allocate portions of their public space to these experiments.

There’s a hypothesis at the heart of this seminar. Perhaps the students know what the future of the library should be, better than we (library staff) do. So lets put them in the drivers seat and find out.