Calgary Public Library
Calgary, Canada
- Calgary's Story -

Calgary Public Library

In November 2018, Calgary welcomed an iconic new building and public space – New Central Library (NCL) into its downtown East Village district. As part of the NCL, a 4th floor space was dedicated to telling Calgary’s story. The “Glimpses of our Past” interactive exhibit is part of this 4th floor experience, and offers a memorable and inspiring visitor experience for visitors to NCL, inviting and raising awareness about Calgary’s history in a way that invites further dialogue and engagement with the Library’s unique (physical) collection.

An innovative re-imagining of a vintage microform reader, this exhibit uses a clever blend of physical and digital elements to reference the form factor and nostalgia of using a “retro” research tool, within a sleek, modern, and intuitive interface. Visitors are invited to select one of four RFID-enabled story cards, in order to initiate and call onscreen an associated set of chapter narratives, which are navigated using a satisfyingly tactile spin browser and push-button selection interface on the display.

Visitor selections are viewable on a large 65” 4K resolution display screen, which makes it suitable for individual or small group exploration. This hybrid interface was an intentional experiential choice that was meant to spark engagement via curiosity, nostalgia, and delight for the wide span of NCL audiences it was intended for.

The simple familiarity of the interaction is complemented by an interface and physical design approach that leverages the overall architecture of the building itself, and is backed up by an extensible content management system framework that enables the CPL to add content over time, without changing the user experience or require significant design rework.