A few weeks back, I was invited by a friend to visit the Sitterwerk in Sankt Gallen and it turned out one of those places that I instantly fell in love with. The Sitterwerk is an art space that accommodates an art foundation, art foundry, gallery and residency space for visiting artists, exhibition space for the works of Swiss artist Hans Josephson (1920-2012), material library and - a dynamic art library. 

What is so special about the dynamic library? In contrary to a traditional library where each book has an assigned location, the books in the library can be placed in any shelf and any location. The books contain a chip instead of a signature and there is a sensor that constantly creates an inventory and updates the location of the books in the shelves and the online catalogue. The catalogue holds basic data about the content of the book and indicates its location on the shelves via a map and a close up of all the book backs stacked on the shelf, showing the exact location with an arrow pointing at the book. The online map of the shelves also allows to browse through the shelves online. 

 An arrow indicating the current location of a book

An arrow indicating the current location of a book

I like the idea of books travelling around the shelves and people constantly contributing to the dis/order, arranging the books either thematically or associative or random and the role technology plays in enabling a more dynamic order and its ability to indicate and point to the location. 

In addition, there are also three tables on which visitors or visiting artists can place their book selection. The selection is picked up by a sensor under the table and can be saved online for later reference. An additional table comes equipped with a camera that allows to take pictures of the book and add notes that can later be printed in a book.