2019 / Creative Kits

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For two years, the MIT Media Lab Learning Initiative has been running the Public Library Innovation exchange, which brings together public librarians and MIT Media Lab researchers to co-design creative learning experiences for libraries. We’ve recently launched a new part of this project: creative kits for libraries.

We take our inspiration for these kits from something that Seymour Papert said: “The role of the teacher is to create the conditions for invention rather than provide ready-made knowledge” -- just substitute kit, facilitator, or librarian for “teacher”. Our creative kits are thoughtfully designed to allow any librarian or patron to start engaging and tinkering with new, emerging technologies -- for outer space exploration, city farming, computational thinking, making, virtual reality, and more!

In this 90-minute interactive session, you’ll get the chance to try out several different creative kits that our team has been designing in collaboration with Media Lab graduate students and public librarians. It will be hands-on and highly interactive. We’ll talk about what went in to designing these kits, how we chose the materials and constraints, and how we tried to capture the spirit of a kit that “creates the conditions for invention”. You’ll also leave with a set of design principles for creative kits that we’ve been developing and refining over the course of the last year. You can use these principles to design creative kits for your own library, meaningfully inviting your patron community to interact with new, emerging technologies in creative ways.


Katherine McConachie, Manager, ML Learning Initiative, MIT Media Lab, USA

Lydia Guterman, Library Outreach Coordinator, ML Learning Initiative, MIT Media Lab, USA

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Themes at Next Library 2019

• Libraries in Times of Social Crisis
• Civic Media and Data Democracy
• Temporary Spaces
• Game Changing Tech & Emerging Trends

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Next Library 2019 is sold out! We are looking forward to welcoming people from 27 countries at Next Library 2019: Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Iceland, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania,…



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