What do you want?


That is the question- Beatnik Photos 

The first post of this blog was written on the 17th October 2013. With nearly three years of musing about Innovations, events and ideas under our belt, a trip through the archives covers lots of subjects: from Eureka! to Easter eggs; Digilab to Dan Lyons; way-finding to wearable technology.

Our blog posts are inspired by what is inspiring us- by what we see and hear about as well as what we are doing as an Innovation Group. But what do you want to hear about? What would you like to see (or see more of) from this blog?


Sense of re-purpose

This morning  Facebook was trying to tell me how to make an Ottoman out of plastic bottles. The craft pages I like are constantly trying to tell me what I can do with old bottles, glass or plastic, and how to turn things that I don’t need any more into bright and shiny new things. I can barely turn round without being told how to make an old lotion bottle into a phone charger cradle or  waterproof umbrella holders out of old water bottles.

This makes sense- we use far more things than ever and have a greater awareness of the need to dispose of items responsibly- whether we reuse, re-purpose or recycle them. In addition, re-purposing items can also be a great way to innovate.


About 30 miles south of Edinburgh is the village of Oxton, where they have re-purposed their old red telephone box into a defibrillator station. This is a brilliant way to make sure a highly visible public space is still benefiting the community even after everyone has landlines and mobile phones.

So next time you think you need to get rid of something that perhaps isn’t needed any more have a think first about whether you can use it to support something new. I think I’ve found a good target for re-purposing – I wonder what we could do with this?





Drone for loan

Many Libraries nowadays are lending non-traditional items that are useful to their students and customers. With Amazon’s drone delivery service in the works there has been a rise in suggestions that libraries use drones to deliver books. The University of South Florida is combining these ideas by offering drones for loan.

Sensibly, as there have been several security, privacy and health and safety concerns about drones in America in the last month, students will not be able to just check out the items as easily as a book. The students will have to undergo training, explain what they want to use it for and, for now, restrict their use of the drone to campus.

I’ve been hearing about drones and their non-military uses with increasing frequency in the last few years, starting with being shown how they could be used to rapidly re-map an area after a natural disaster at a conference in 2012, to their being part of interactive gaming at Playing for Change earlier this year. It seems likely that drones are going to be an increasing part of our landscape. Like Google Glass it seems that the innocuous uses of most drone users may be outweighed by paranoia about the potentially criminal uses of a few individuals.


Got an opinion about drones/ the range of non-traditional lending items in Libraries?

We want to hear from you, so please feel free to use the comment option below.

What’s your favourite (Innovative) Easter Egg?

Easter Eggs

No, I’m not referring to the intriguing but disturbing Bacon flavoured Egg, but rather the hidden treats in computer games, films and other media.

Apparently originating in eggs left in view on the set of the Rocky Horror Picture Show after a cast Easter egg hunt, Easter eggs are little hidden bonuses for the viewer. But where do the limits lie on what constitutes an Easter egg? Do the extra features or comments in credit rolls count, as when for example it tells you that if you’d left the cinema when the credits started you’d be home already? Do computer game oddities and glitches count even if they weren’t intended? Can the skewed skull in Holbein’s The Ambassadors be considered one despite pre-dating electronic media?

Should the Library have Easter eggs? Would we benefit from little hidden features that surprise our customers? It is possible we already do to a degree; features such as the “secret” café[1] and Orange 5/Blue 4 in the Main Library are obviously not located by everybody. But with the rise of Augmented Reality the possibility of having secret features in the library that you can only see through your phone becomes a real possibility.

What Easter Eggs do you fondly remember, and how can we/ should we add similar hidden bonuses to the library? Does it make a difference if you get told about it rather than finding it for yourself?↑↑↓↓←→←→B A

My personal favourite is the Developer’s room in Final Fantasy IV- you walk through a wall and run into sprites representing the game developers- many of whom tell you how badly they are in need of sleep. I didn’t discover this one without help, but I still enjoyed seeing it.

As for a library Easter Egg, I like the idea of a set of AR images such as maybe Grumbold§ holding up a sign saying “visit the Rylands” somewhere on Blue Ground or a parade of cartoon books down the middle of Blue 3.

[1] I overheard some students refer to the “secret café in the Library”- I was reminded of the “secret bunker” signposts you see photos of sometimes, as both are too signposted to truly be secret.