Less than two months and counting down, still on time and on budget, the new Slover Library is coming together beautifully.
No soft opening for this dedicated crew. The doors open to the public on Friday, January 9 at 10:00 am. The great American tradition of the free, public library continues with this outstanding building, fabulous collections, and everything a library needs to to be relevant (and necessary) to its patrons.
All images | David Sullivan
The Slover Library is being “loaded” in right now. Staff is hard at work. Books and the Sargeant Memorial Collection are on the shelves, computers are being delivered, technology is being tweaked, and all the other final touches are being put into place.
As I wrote in my first article about the Slover Library, there is something for everyone here, but this time, the focus is on the outstanding technology that is around every corner of the Library. This place is a tech lover’s dream come true. I asked the head techie of Norfolk, David Sullivan, Director of Information Technology, to pick his three favorite features. Mr. Sullivan is a thoughtful guy and forced to pick just three things was tough for him, but he said it quite nicely:
“The technology in this Library unleashes the past, the present and the future. The most whiz-bang technology is the Sargeant Memorial Collection historic photos that have been digitized and can now be viewed by everyone. They will unleash the past; thousands of photos and negatives that have been locked up in cabinets. All of the computer labs, the digital signage, the touch-driven end cap screens for online catalog access, and the wayfinding system, are the present. They bring digital information to you right now. Our Digital Media Lab and our Video Production Suite are the future.”
You will notice that he squeezed more than three things in that answer, but I can’t really blame him. Here is my list of the technology you are going to have to try at the new Slover Library, with thanks to David Sullivan, for letting me get my hands on some of it.
The Sargeant Memorial Collection iTouch Wall
There is some “whiz-bang” technology as you walk into the second floor of the historic Seaboard side of the Library. A huge iTouch wall, and three large banks of iTouch screens in tabletop mode display over 7,000 digitized photos from the Sargeant Memorial Collection. These photos date from the early 1900’s to photos of the Slover Library under construction. The staff is already in the building scanning and adding photos and metadata.
You can stand in front of the huge screens and search for a photo in different ways, all by the touch of your finger. Each photo comes with information that can link them to other photos by location, time period, subject and more. You can find a photo of naval ships and create a timeline of all the photos of naval ships with one touch. You can enlarge a photo to see the smallest of details, like house numbers or nameplates. If your family is from Norfolk or the surrounding area, there’s a chance that you can discover some of your history. Find a photo you want to save? Scan the QR code attached to the photo and it’s downloaded onto your phone. I have no family history in Hampton Roads, but I could have interacted with that virtual photo album all day.
The Digital Media Lab
The state of the art Digital Media Lab is also housed in the historic Seaboard side of the Library. This room is equipped with twelve 27” screen iMacs, “high end and with lots of memory,” according to Mr. Sullivan. The iMacs are loaded with Adobe Creative Suite, Final Cut Pro and a “host of other specific applications.” There are Wacom digital tablets on every computer in this room and two of the iMacs will be equipped with “massive Wacom interactive displays” for digital painting and other creative applications. There is also a large format printer. The Digital Media Lab is a place where you can reserve time to work on your own projects or take a class from one of the Library’s computer experts. This room is my dream come true.
The Wayfinding Stations
The Slover Library has an old building attached to a new building, many floors, lots of computer labs and all kinds of other things to discover. Don’t worry about getting lost: there are wayfinding stations throughout the Library. Forget the old-fashioned “You Are Here” maps. The wayfinding stations are interactive, digital displays that show you where you are, provide you with a menu of the Library’s services and events, and then show you how to get where you want to go. You can even check out the availability of computers in all the computer labs from one of these screens.
The Video Production Suite
Need a green screen and some equipment for your latest YouTube video? The Video Production Suite will have that and more – two high-end computers, lights, cameras and you will be all set to create your own production. This room can be used for still photography or video. You can reserve the room, and expert staff will be available for questions. Mr. Sullivan says, “You can do a whole production right here at the Library. Film, edit and produce.” How great is this for your student’s homework project, video promotion for you small business, or a creative family greeting to someone overseas?
The new Slover Library will have all the bells and whistles, a dedicated staff, trained and waiting to help, and a beautiful place to read, research and create.
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