Open House!

Open House!

On Friday, October 21st, the Knowledge Lab had its first open house! We were very happy to see all of the new faces. This was a fantastic way for members of the community to interact with this new space and learn more about what the Knowledge Lab has to offer.

students making buttons
Students made their own custom buttons using the KnowledgeLab button maker

There are many different resources that people were able to explore, including MaKey MaKeys, the typewriter, the button maker and the Apple TV.  KnowledgeLab student workers were stationed at a different part of the Knowledge Lab and got to demonstrate how folks can use the space.

two students using a button maker
Tori shows another student how to use the button maker

The Knowledge Lab is an accessible and open space with resources for everyone on campus. For example, we were able to connect the MaKey MaKey kit up to bananas and play the piano! For our younger friends who came to play, this was a fun way to get them involved in the space. Exclamations of “Woah, I’ll definitely be back here! This is so cool!” could be heard as they moved from the MaKey MaKey to the mini-projector for a Hamilton soundtrack streaming session.

students looking at a TV screen together

Thank you again to all that came out! We hope to see your faces again in the future.

About the Author:

Sophia Buchanan is a junior at Smith College who is majoring in Government and minoring in Economics.


Water Inquiry Project

Water Inquiry Project

students and a professor sitting in bean bags

The Water Inquiry Project, led by Education professors Carol Berner and Al Rudnitsky, has been meeting regularly in the KnowledgeLab for the Fall 2016 semester. Some of the student participants wrote a blog post about their project, with a nice description of how they’re using the KnowledgeLab:

“Our inaugural meeting occurred in Neilson Library’s new Knowledge Lab– a space that simultaneously provides structure and freedom in the pursuit of collaboration. Brightly colored beanbag chairs and large projector screens are just some of the tools that comprise this intellectual “clubhouse,” a space in which think-tanks like ours may refine developed projects or nurture nascent ideas.”

Big thanks to our Libraries student employee Phoebe Weissblum, who took all the photos for the post!

Read more about the Water Inquiry Project and see more photos of the KnowledgeLab:

The Flash Pod

The Flash Pod

What is your wish for public spaces at Smith? What spaces are missing?

Installation in the Core
Installation in the Neilson Library Core

Claire Adams ’16 and Geneva Strauss-Wise ’16  posed these questions to the campus community in Neilson Library in Fall 2015, as part of a Special Studies course in Design/Build through the Design Thinking Initiative. Adams and Strauss-Wise invited students to redesign and reconfigure a pop-up installation space in the Neilson Library Core composed of milk crates in order to engage with these questions.

A library catalog card on a clothespin. Text: What spaces are missing on campus? cozy ones! with good teas!
The project, a “collective letter to the built environment and its planners”, used found and repurposed materials to engage with the Smith campus’ past, present, and future. Students left comments on beautifully re-purposed library catalog cards which ask questions such as “What spaces are missing on campus?”

In partnership with librarians, Strauss-Wise and Adams designed an installation that took advantage of available space and the broad and diverse community that uses Neilson Library to gain feedback for the next phase of their project: a prototype of a mobile bike cart that could be used by student groups for pop-up events on campus. The bike cart prototype, called The Flash Pod, was also installed in Neilson Library to gather student feedback.

The Flash Pod installation in the Neilson Library Core
The Flash Pod prototype in Neilson Library. Image by Instagram user @theflashpod

Learn More About the Project

The Flash Pod | Design Thinking Initiative – Fall 2015 project report from Claire Adams

Instagram account: The Flash Pod