The Stacks is a project from the collaboration among the City of Austin's Office of Sustainability, Austin Public Library, the Center for Sustainable Development at the University of Texas School of Architecture, and the Public Interest Design Studio of Summer 2014. The Stacks are a product of the continous support and sponsorship of The National Endownment for the Arts (NEA), and the Surdna Foundation.
Their purpose is to engage library visitors in reflection and conversation about their neighborhoods and their city. The Stacks ask Austinites to consider the places they know and to share their thoughts, experiences, concerns, and questions. Included with the Stacks are a few dozen prompts for visitors to respond to, but these are only meant to get the conversations started. Visitors will find the Stacks to be a fun way to respond to one another. On the digital interface, The Stacks offer an opportunity for public offices, like the Office of Sustainability, to display content related to sustainability efforts in the city. In addition to their role as a forum for community conversation. The Stacks offer the Office of Sustainability, the Austin Public Library, and the Center for Sustainable Development the opportunity to get direct citizen input to better inform future place-making.
The Stacks will be installed in the new Central Library when it opens in 2016. Until then, they will spend about three months each at nine branch libraries and the Faulk Central Library.
The Stacks 2.0
The scope of work from the Summer PID Studio needed to be complemented by a digital interface that would facilitate user interaction and extend The Stacks experience beyond the chalkboard map. The Stacks 2.0 is a digital user interface development project. Just like the Public Interest Design-build studio from which the physical installation was built, The Stacks 2.0 incorporates the feedback of diverse stakeholders and relies substantially on user experiences with the previous interface. Input from librarians on the branches The Stacks has visited continuously informs the development process.
The Stacks 2.0 will result in a web-based user interface of easy navigability and increased functionality. Eight applications are accessed through the interface; each of them aims at addressing the original mission of The Stacks, as established by the PID 2014 program. The new interface will include bi-lingual instructions for users, and will be easily updated and maintained. Take a look at The Stack's digital mapping application: Mark the Map.
The Stacks have visited the Carver and Faulk library branches. They will soon be moving to Ruiz Library. The librarians have been a continuous source of useful feedback and proven to be enthusiastic promoters of The Stacks. The chalkboard map of the installation has proven to be popular amongst users. By the end of Spring, The Stacks 2.0 will extend the popularity of the chalkboard to the digital interaction portion of the installation.