[PAST] YourFry Toronto Design Challenge

Will there be books in the year 2240? What role will the library play in our lives? Those are the questions put forth in our recent Design Challenge: Envisioning the Library of the Future.

Ryerson’s Transmedia Zone, Penguin RandomHouse, and the Toronto Reference Library teamed up with over 60 readers, storytellers, designers, makers and innovators to envision the library of the future. Teams tackled design fictions for architecture, interface design, and narrative. The design challenge generated innovative, outside-of-the-box ideas that envisioned the future of story, community, and learning, with the library at the forefront of each concept.

The design challenge was part of #WeFry, an international series of events and hackathons coinciding with the launch of acclaimed author and actor Stephen Fry’s latest book. Stephen’s love of literature and digital prowess inspired creators to really push boundaries and examine the interplay of culture and technology in our lives, through a “design fiction” process.

Check out the trailer for a longer-form interactive documentary about our Toronto event.


Listen, explore and open your mind as some of Canada’s most dynamic thinkers explore the future of the library and prepare yourself for the full-length video that will be available to check out later in January 2015 at libraryofthefuture.ca. We couldn’t be more proud of the innovative ideas and collaborative effort brought forth from the many participants including some of our very own. Enjoy!

Fabrication and electronics

With the maker movement on the rise, the Fabrication & Electronics team created custom wearable library cards that have the ability to project personal library “bubbles” around the user. The demo library cards, fashioned to reflect literary iconography, were created on site utilizing the 3D printer made available to the Design Challenge teams.


Set in a not too distant future in which we have become reliant on digital devices to the point of no longer knowing our own identities inherently, the library became a place to check in with your own life narrative. The concept of “your life as a digital narrative” was explored by the Journalism team as they recorded promotional material for Memory 3.0. Memory 3.0 is an example of genius design fiction of the library as a repository of the self/personal identity, citing the work of Stephen Fry.

Interface/experience design

Drawing from another Stephen Fry quote: “Incuriosity is the oddest and most foolish failing there is,” the Interface & Experience design team created the “Holoroom” as a means of guided learning for sensory experiences. Acting as an immersive, custom user experience, the “Holoroom” generates interactive surroundings to aid in the learning flow for library goers, creating a gamified scavenger hunts that leads partrons on a custom hyperlinked narrative exploration of the space.

Digital humanities

Imagine having an encyclopedic array of knowledge at your fingertips every time you choose a book from the stacks. Drawing from Stephen Fry’s plethora of passions including technology, sport, love, friendship and heroes, gay rights, literature, language and mental health, the Digital Humanities team creatively described the new and improved shelves of the library that generate other book choices related to the topic you have chosen to pick up.


Inspired by “The Thing From The Future” -an imagination game that challenges players to collaboratively and competitively describe objects from a range of alternative futures- the storytelling team envisioned the library of the future to help aid in health sciences when the collapse of the future arrives. Advertisements were generated inviting people of the future to come and get their O2 supply from the library.

Interior design

The library as a communal learning environment was the basis for a remixed version of open space by the interior design team. When grouped together, depending on each individuals perspective, the space and information provided to them change. Exploring the concept of ‘interior design’ further, sharing knowledge through imbedded microchips under the skin of individual library users was also invented. Simply by placing ones finger tips together or by sharing a touch, ideas and personalized knowledge can be shared and understood in seconds.


Like the YouTube video here: YourFry Toronto YouTube

Appreciate us on the YourFry channel here: YourFry Channel

The full-length interactive documentary is COMING SOON here: Library of the Future

For more information on the YourFry design challenge: YourFry

Details about the designers of the interactive video: *nocampfirerequired