Lancaster University’s library is the first UK university library to install a ‘MagicBox’, providing users with an interactive experience to raise the profile of the library’s unique and distinctive collections.
The Library’s fascinating special collections are displayed away from the main library entrance, meaning their existence was not obvious to many students and staff – Library staff wanted to find a way to raise the profile of them. In addition, they wanted to make better use of the entrance to the Library’s atrium space, which was used in a limited way and by-passed frequently by users.
MagicBox was discovered by Library staff as the ideal solution. The MagicBox is a display cabinet that has a touch screen installed in the glass allowing users to engage with the objects on display, rather than simply looking at them, for example by scrolling through information and watching related videos.
The MagicBox has been installed and now provides an exciting and interactive way for users to experience the collections, such as material from the Jack Hylton Archive; covering the life and career of the well-known musician and producer.
As well as raising the profile of the special collections, the MagicBox is providing other promotion opportunities, such as highlighting Tom Dingley’s ‘Outcome’ exhibition as part of LGBTQ+ History Month in February 2017. A physical copy of the Outcome book which accompanied the exhibition was surrounded by photographic portraits, and users were able to leaf through scanned pages of the book to learn about the people featured in portraits.
Photographer Tom Dingley commented “I was excited to use the MagicBox as I was not able to exhibit all the portraits on the walls – it was like a digital extension of my work. The MagicBox was a great piece of technology”
There is an ongoing schedule to promote the Library’s unique and distinctive collections using the MagicBox – students, staff and visitors to the university are encouraged to go along to the library and experience it!