Vanderbilt Libraries' Exhibits Program

Opening the Doors to Special Collections

In 2010, Vanderbilt Libraries underwent a $6 million renovation to increase support of the university’s educational mission while creating a warmer, more inviting facility for students, faculty and the community. Customer-focused input identified what users wanted most: group study space, light, electrical outlets, food sources and exhibits.

“With these changes, our libraries will make additional intellectual contributions to our campus,” Dean of Libraries Connie Vinita Dowell said. “First and foremost, we will offer additional and more attractive study spaces. The environment will be enhanced with extensive exhibits—both electronic and those featuring our extensive collections of rare books and archives."

Establishing a robust and revolving exhibits program encourages new scholarship and establishes the library as a public resource in the Nashville community. Building our virtual exhibits will expand access to an even wider audience.

Transforming Central Library into a Gathering Space

An important component of the renovation was the addition of two floors of exhibit space with custom casework and thirteen digital media installations that include nine interactive touchscreens, a large-format LED that wraps around an exterior corner of the building, projection systems and other creative uses of space and technology..

Touchscreen Exhibits. Underutilized public spaces were redesigned to showcase artifacts from our Special Collections through a combination of physical cases, environmental graphics and nine interactive touchscreen displays that allows us to display both physical and digital artifacts.

Interactive Wayfinding. A touchscreen directory installed at main entrances on the second andfourth floors provides an interactive wayfinding tool to help students and visitors find any location or event located in the Library. For each entry, visitors will find a complete text description, a reference image and a map with walking directions from the specific screen location.

Reactive Floor Projection. An interactive floor projection, we call WordsWorth, creates a visual representation of research at Vanderbilt University, The floor projection includes a data cloud of more than 160 continually changing words and phrases captured from real-time searches against the Library's collection management system. When a visitor enters the projection area, infrared cameras detect movement and cause the projected words to react with the individual's movement.

Outdoor Exhibit. A large-format LED display that wraps one corner of the Library’s facade. The display measures 5’ x 40’ and is visible from a main thoroughfare located on the public perimeter of campus. The graphics are carefully designed to serve as an outdoor extension of the exhibits inside.