Even a brief overview of the development of civilization will reveal the library as a crucial organ for the preservation and diffusion of knowledge. Buttressed with a vastly complex historical genealogy that spans back millennia, libraries today—some might argue—are facing an unprecedented identity crisis. Digital technologies have catalyzed a set of rapidly evolving paradigms that have redefined society’s relationship with the curation and dissemination of information. Therefore, if the library is to remain relevant in the age of modernity, discourse on these knowledge spaces must be playfully speculative and rigorously projective. It is within this context that the inaugural iteration of the May Crane Fellowship is situated. Supervised by Sue Gilroy and Hugh Grant, and executed by its first recipient, Alberto de Salvatierra, the fellowship’s opening agenda will be focused on understanding the collective undergraduate experience at the libraries of Harvard University. A networked structure invariably attuned to Cambridge’s urban fabric, the Harvard libraries’ interrelationships will be examined while decoding key nodes within the system. As an exercise in scale, Lamont Library will also become a useful case study and microcosm for the whole. Ultimately, this project aims to comprehend existing conditions and propose new contemporary archetypes that will lead to greater engagement from—and diversity and inclusion of—Harvard undergraduates.
A website documenting the research findings is forthcoming.