Biblio: your friend in the library of the (near) future

Meet Biblio, your library friend. The design-fiction clip above was made by Ben Brady, student (and teaching assistant) the Library Test Kitchen, a course about building the library of the near future taught by metaLAB’s Jeffrey Schnapp and Jeff Goldenson of the Harvard Library Innovation Lab. Inspired by simple, charismatic digital pets like Tamagotchi, Ben imagines Biblio as a digital creature who serves as a digital guide and assistant, mediating the world of printed books and the realm of networked, open, personal information. Biblio lives in the library—it travels with you from book to book, keeping track of the titles you browse, noting the relationships those books have with others, and urging you to feed its blinking curiosity with further research. The creature seems to have evolved to live in the crook of the palm, a kind of spandrel made by the gestures and manual habits that we use with both books and digital devices. It’s a wonderful example of the projects Library Test Kitchen students are cooking up—including a nap carrel, a digital welcome mat, and roving collections of curated books (to name just three; we’ll feature them all here in weeks to come). They’re ideas that not only inform, but surprise and delight—qualities the library of the future will sorely need.