Three decades in the making, this library’s major renovation features state-of-the-art displays to make their updates even more captivating.
For the past quarter-century, Kanawha County Public Library, located in Charleston, West Virginia, has been raising funds to embark on a $27-million overhaul of its facilities. The multi-year project was substantially completed in early 2022 and features innovative technology to bring an extra touch of magic to its already stunning upgrades, including a four-story art installation.
A Wish Made Manifest
Erika Connelly, Director of Kanawha County Public Library, is a longtime regular at conferences run by the American Library Association and Public Library Association, where she first set eyes on the CCS MagicBox® and MagicTouch Kiosk® – museum-quality products exhibited by Large Document Solutions, the North American distributor.
The MagicBox is a display cabinet that integrates physical and digital content to transform a two-dimensional exhibit into a three-dimensional, multi-sensory experience. The box sits on a pedestal and employs custom software to feature an interactive transparent LCD touch screen. The MagicTouch Kiosk is similar to the MagicBox in that there is a display platform running the MagicTouch software.
“The MagicBox and MagicTouch Kiosk have been on my wish list for a long while,” Connelly says. “At the time, the price point was just not feasible for the small library where I was working. But I loved the products – what they could do and what they could offer.” When it came time for Kanawha County Public Library’s big renovation, Connelly was thrilled that the donors recognized these products as tools for connecting patrons to the library’s collections.
Magic In Action
The final phase of the library’s multi-year remodel was the installation of the Legacy Wall, a four-story art piece dedicated to the donors who made it all possible. “There are seven different balcony views, or vantage points, for this wall on all four floors,” says Connelly. “One of the main vantage points is halfway up the wall where we have a skybridge – and at the end of the skybridge, we have the MagicTouch Kiosk.”
The kiosk allows users to interact virtually with the content on the wall, which includes names of donors and details about the library’s transformation. “I’ve been surprised how curious people are about the construction process; they see it from the outside, but we’re showing them what it was like from the inside.”
The Kanawha County Public Library is also the home of the West Virginia Book Festival, where the MagicBox will offer attendees, including national authors, an opportunity to interact with some of the library’s rare book collections. Until then, the MagicBox features a DaVinci display, which has allowed patrons to experiment with the technology and learn how it works. “They are always so excited to use it,” says Connelly, who is pleased to finally share the magic of these devices with the library’s patrons.