Lantern Library, Long Branch, Maryland, 2010
The Library Lanterns combine the free exchange of books and knowledge among neighbors with lighted landscape sculptures that illuminate community spaces. They exemplify how art, design, and technology can spark engagement, empower community decision-making, foster skill development, engender local pride, and be a beacon of learning and light. Inspired by the Little Free Library book sharing program, the network of solar-powered Library Lanterns address priorities expressed by residents: language and literacy, wayfinding, digital information access, and environmental conservation. The lanterns’ colorful forms and strategic placement add to the community’s unique identity. The lanterns embed socially interactive learning activities into public spaces to promote 21st century literacy skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, and creative innovation. The solar-powered bollard-like designs are freed from conventional infrastructure constraints, making them community-responsive.