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Share your vision

Imagine your dream LABrary

If you could imagine a public community center for biology in your hometown, what would it be? This is a LABrary! 

We invited community leaders, biologists, and artists from across the United States to imagine their dream LABrary. Please join us in sharing your visions using the activities below. 

 

 

Small fold-up paper containing a woven mat, kalo (taro) plants, mycelium, native seeds, and more.
See a video of the full interior at this link

Imagined LABrary on O'ahu, Hawaii by Corinne Okada Takara (2024) containing local biomaterials, art, culture, and interspecies collaborations. 

What is a LABrary?

Visualize a communal space in which people of all ages are encouraged and empowered to explore and create with biology. This is a LABrary. However, this can be so much more than a library like the name suggests. The goal is to redefine what biology is and who has access to it. 

Please share your LABrary visions using our survey and art project! 

Please share your ideas! 

We have created two pathways to share your thoughts about LABraries. 

Public Survey 

We have created an anonymous Qualtrics survey for you to share your thoughts about LABraries: https://stanforduniversity.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_dhQZLOB0XF3BRNc

  1. What do you think the benefits might be of LABraries? Who do you imagine might visit a LABrary, and what would they find useful? 
  2. What challenges might LABraries face in your community?
  3. What kind of mentorship and support would you like to see provided by LABraries? 
  4. How can we ensure that LABraries complement existing community initiatives and needs?
  5. Do you have any questions about LABraries?

Art Project

Make your dream LABrary using our printable art project (download link here) and share your creation with us here

  1. Tell your story: Fill out the questions on the back of the sheet.
  2. Bring your people! Cut out the silhouettes and decorate. (Stand these up by interlocking the slit of the cutout with the base). These drawings can be of anyone or anything! There are no creative limits.
  3. Design the floor and walls of your dream LABrary. (If you are feeling hesitant or nervous in your artistic abilities, we hope that you are able to put those worries to the side and prioritize the ideas and goals behind your LABrary.)
  4. Fold over the dashed lines and glue/tape behind the grey area.
  5. Upload a picture of your final, folded design, and share with us here: : https://forms.gle/UnQ4tq9ybzhKFXxV6
Boston, MA

Wendy's LABrary

As you approach the LABrary, the exterior wall is covered in vibrant graffiti art, including the lab's name, and a large window showcasing interactive plant-based science experiments, inviting public curiosity. Entering the space, you're greeted by a large living wall of plants opposite a wall adorned with agar art and various bio-art pieces, setting the tone for a blend of science and creativity. The event space is bathed in natural light, features cozy lounge areas with couches, chairs, and bookshelves, centered around a coffee table crafted from mushrooms/biomaterials. Computer workstations line another wall, and the center of the room hosts both rectangular and round tables, a large screen and projector for events, and a free coffee or seltzer station. There is a microscopy station, with scopes of varying magnifications, inviting exploration of the microscopic world. The lab is divided into four themed sections: a molecular biology lab with humorously named equipment and tie-dyed lab coats, an experimental kitchen complete with a wall of fermented foods and kombucha, a bio-design/fabrication area equipped with bioprinters and 3D printers, and a fungi/plants section featuring a mini-greenhouse and growing stations. A versatile classroom space supports a range of activities. Outside, a patio with tables, chairs, and a small garden offers a BBQ area and ample space for community gatherings. Both the outside and inside space are designed to ensure accessibility for individuals in wheelchairs. The LABrary is warm, welcoming, and designed to be inclusive and inviting to all. The Labrary is community hub, a diverse group of individuals - spanning different genders, ages, races, work backgrounds, and abilities - engage in learning, collaboration, and exploration. Teens, artists, musicians, scientists, bakers, gardeners, and teachers come together to share knowledge and perspectives, fostering a rich culture of peer-to-peer learning. Whether attending classes, working on projects, or simply hanging out, the LABrary serves as a melting pot of creativity, discovery, and innovation.

Santa Cruz, CA

Rolando's LABrary

When you walk up to the LABrary, you notice that the space has ADA-compliant outdoor and indoor facilities. The transition between the outdoor and indoor facilities is seamless. As you walk in, you can see the theater group practicing their new biodesign-inspired play about the history of shaping biology. You can smell the delicious foods cooked in the kitchen by community members from different cultural backgrounds. Members cook traditional foods and host immersive dining experiences where participants learn about their neighbors' cultural backgrounds. You walk further, and you can hear children playing in the biodesign-inspired childcare center while their parents or guardians engage with the health clinic, kitchen, or bio lab. As you walk deeper into the space, you pass the health clinic where people are receiving their routine free preventative health checks and getting their prescriptions for nutritious fresh food. At the opposite end is the bio lab, where community college students have formed entrepreneurship teams to develop their designs into new local cooperative businesses. Next to the bio lab is the biological computing cluster, a room filled with computers powered by mycelium that enable the LABrary AI to be made and operated sustainably. At the center of the space is the circular convening area for community engagement and action. Here, the community, including human and more-than-human members, come together to regard each other, learn, discuss, vote, and celebrate.

Marlton, NJ

Leon's LABrary

Approaching a LABrary is always an exciting endeavor. Every inch of the exterior has something going on. The main building’s construction has many biodesigned features that house local pollinators. What could have been a lawn is instead a maze grown with edible plants, much to the delight of local children. The exterior walls of the LABrary are covered in murals painted by artists in the community. They each depict important symbols or events voted on by the community. Behind the main building are the greenhouses, comparatively undecorated but lined with air-purifying exterior wall panels. Inside the LABrary, you’re met with more art. Engineered flowers, agar art, and bacteria art compiled into an exhibit lining the entryway. The exhibit rotates every few months as new community members produce their works. By this time, you will notice the smells emanating from the kitchens. One set is to provide healthy, locally sourced foods. The other set of kitchens is for edible experiments. Spend a lot of time there, and you’ll learn the smells of unexpected things. Before you reach the kitchens, you pass through the central area full of computers, strewn books, plants, and people. It’s designed to facilitate group interaction to harness the collective power of our minds. When that isn’t the right environment for people, they can escape to the knowledge hub suited to solitary and small group work. For this reason, the K-hub is co-located with the labs, enabling easy back-and-forth access. Between the labs and the kitchen lies the museum. In the museum, we chronicle the history of the community and the lab. The community can vote on efforts to get a spot in the museum as symbolic achievements of the LABrary. When you return to the central area to relax after a visit, you can hear a tinge of hopefulness when the people's voices fade to sounds.