May 16, 2022

Harvard Design School Class “Experiments” with Library of the Future

Labrary: A Harvard Library Experiment [is], “a storefront space envisioned and realized by students in Harvard’s Library Test Kitchen course, explores how innovations in design can help libraries evolve.”

The course is an advanced seminar from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

From The Harvard Gazette:

[The Labrary is a] student-designed pop-up space, which is open Mondays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., explores what libraries of the future might look like. Pop-up spaces are short-term homes for sales, exhibits, and other public uses. From start to finish, the Labrary will have lasted five weeks.

Note: If you’re in the Cambridge area the Labrary closes on December 21st. It’s located at 92 Mt. Auburn St.


“The Harvard Library is changing,” said [Jeff] Goldenson of the course’s co-sponsor [and member of the Harvard Library Innovation Lab] “This is a way to bring students to the table.” The Labrary emphasis is on making things, he added. In a film about the course, Schnapp, who is director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, called the Library Kitchen “a fast prototyping laboratory for the future of learning spaces.”


Goldenson likes the idea of a library space that is less isolated than tradition requires, that encourages collaboration, and that puts student work on public display. “We’re trying to make an argument for a public space for the library,” he said.

That includes letting students use it for their own needs, including the study break part that Qian organized.

Said Goldenson, “I want to make lending this space out as easy as taking out a book.”

Much More via this LJ article, “The Harvard Labrary: A Design Experiment in Library Futures.”

Learn More by Visiting
The page includes links to the class syllabus and links to info about all of the student projects.

More Info About Labrary: A Harvard Library Experiment via this page from The Harvard Library.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.