The Carnegie Library [of Pittsburg] newest tour guide fits into the palm of your hand.
Carnegie’s Monocle, an app created by Carnegie Mellon University students, leads library visitors through an augmented reality-driven scavenger hunt that highlights sights and sounds from Pittsburgh’s history. It also helps guests explore less-traveled areas of the library and hear pieces from its extensive historic music collections.
The project combined the talents of students in this spring’s Real-Time Animation and Experimental Sound Synthesis classes, said Johannes DeYoung, assistant professor in CMU’s School of Art who taught the Real-Time Animation class. DeYoung said the students researched the library’s collections, found content that sparked their imaginations, and activated those collections through a mixed-reality tour driven by an augmented-reality app.
The app directs participants to different frescos, signs, paintings and objects along a winding path throughout the library’s second floor. When a participant holds a phone up to the correct object, animations dance across the device’s screen.
Tara Goe, one of the Carnegie Library’s music, film and audio librarians, hopes the project will expose visitors to the library’s musical offerings, including its loanable electronic instruments and historic sheet music collection. Goe said the sheet music collection dates back to the 1890s and the department houses one of the largest public library music collections in the country.
“Some patrons primarily visit our first floor to pick up books,” Goe said. “We hope this art walk will bring attention to our rich music collection and entice people to explore areas where they might be less familiar.”
Direct to Carnegie’s Monocle App (via Google Play)