Future Project: Library Lanterns
In this new phase of the CAQT Master Plan, the AOB design team will address the additional priorities expressed, including language and literacy, wayfinding, digital information access, and environmental conservation. Solar-powered library lanterns ‘planted’ in the rain garden will be programmed to meet literacy and digital access goals, and designed to serve as a beacon and marker for community meeting spaces. A mash-up of the popular Little Free Libraries and a lighted bollard, our goals are to (1) prototype the lantern design in the rain garden environment, (2) develop appropriate digital content around literacy, and (3) implement an engagement program to help residents adopt library lanterns and adapt to them as functional design elements in their community.
The library lantern design will contain physical books (like the little shared libraries) and will also be networked to the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) Open eBooks program, an app containing thousands of popular and award-winning titles that are free for kids in disconnected communities. The lantern prototype will also support the educational goals of the summer camp by providing relevant digital content on water conservation and rain garden maintenance. Each unique lantern will use AOB apprentices’ designs for the cutout patterns and engage apprentices in the fabrication/ installation process. The library lanterns will also exploit cutting edge solar technology allowing this new infrastructure to break free of the grid so that they can be easily placed where they are most needed in the community. Eventually the CAQT plan calls for the placement of multiple lanterns at approximately 20 identified low-light sites within the housing complex.
During both day and night, these colorful, unique library lanterns placed in the Lightscape Rain Garden (and eventually throughout the neighborhood) will infuse the community with a sense of connection exemplifying how art, design, and technology can spark engagement, empower community decision-making, foster skill development, and engender local pride. The library lanterns will become a CAQT landmark and a catalyst for ongoing community investment as well as serve as a case study for other communities seeking to increase safety and connectivity and reflect local identity.