Of new directions in 2020, one of the truly positive ones was our Storykiosk installation for Kingston Public Library in Massachusetts. This installation is geared specifically for libraries, and includes a scanner for library cards and housing that works both in an unstaffed lobby as well as popup community events. Because libraries are so connected to their local communities, it provides a natural expansion of the community storytelling model we’ve been developing over the years, and presents unique opportunities for collaborations with museums.
The project is part of the Local History Collections initiative at the Library, which can now add community members’ stories to their collections. Questions such as “What is your connection to Kingston? How and why did your family come to Kingston?” serve as a seed for stories, and can be quickly adapted with our cloud-based Content Management System for story gathering at special events such as farmer’s markets.
Design for Libraries
We added new features to our Storykiosk platform, including an ability for members to scan their library card with a hands-free scanner mounted near the station. The ability to interface with member cards provides benefit to other organizations, including museums. Members could associate their stories with their membership accounts, for example, building a deeper relationship over time using members’ own stories. We also built an export function, allowing the library to export videos and data in CSV format to a local computer. This allows the library to import videos and data into their own CMS account using the ArchivesSpace CMS. Designer Bob Thibeault created a custom video backdrop in the form of a giant book using text and images from Kingston’s history (see image below).
Multiple Modes: Exhibit, Event, Online
Part of our mission is to develop creative new ways to gather stories that bridge permanent exhibits with community events. We worked with 42 Design Fab to create new housing that works in both permanent exhibits and popup events. The permanent exhibit station is located in the library lobby, and an identical portable station can be set up at events such as the local farmer’s market. In addition, our subscription-based online story tool (see image at bottom) allows members to upload stories from their own devices at home, providing a community outreach layer to projects.
Libraries + Museums + Web App = Community Stories
Libraries are a natural extension to our work with museums, and we’re building our platform to enable special alliances between libraries, museums, and other community partners. A museum exhibit for example may support story gathering via the local library, and libraries may contribute community stories that enhance an exhibit’s message. Stories can be gathered through a combination of approaches:
- Exhibit-based Storykiosk
- Popup station for events
- StoryHabitat Web App for online gathering.
Please reach out on our contact form if you’d like to explore this collaborative aspect of our community stories mission further.