Lounge As Living Library


Even a brief overview of the development of civilization will reveal the library as a crucial organ for the preservation and diffusion of knowledge. Buttressed with a vastly complex historical genealogy that spans back millennia, libraries today—some might argue—are facing an unprecedented identity crisis. Digital technologies have catalyzed a set of rapidly evolving paradigms that have redefined society’s relationship with the curation and dissemination of information. Therefore, if the library is to remain relevant in the age of modernity, discourse on these knowledge spaces must be playfully speculative and rigorously projective.

Gund Hall’s 4th Floor Lounge is therefore re-imagined as the site of a new RFID-activated pilot library program that catalyzes existing technology to delimit the book from its historical thresholds, and allows for the creation of a user-curated library that co-opts the entirety of Gund as a 24/7 resource. Establishing a partnership with the Harvard Library network (Loeb Library) and the GSD, this new pilot program will install 3,000 RFID-tagged volumes in the walls of the lounge—seeding the “living” library. Abolishing the antiquated ‘check-out’ system, students, staff and scholars alike will be enabled to take any book or publication they desire, and take it anywhere else in the building—and leave it there. When the next user wishes to access a volume, they will access a mobile app that can geo-locate the book in question. Slowly, users will ultimately create a communal catalog where they themselves determine the location and value of information.