Creates user-friendly space with graphics and colorful way finding

Library Bridges Digital Divide

Creating a hands-on urban technology center to tear down the digital divide in Cleveland became a priority for the Cleveland Public Library, one of the nation’s top five libraries. As it planned its groundbreaking technology center—the first of its kind by any U.S. library—it sought strategists who could create an exciting space for its pioneering services and renew the image of this 143-year-old venerable institution.

CPL hired architectural firm Bostwick Design Partners to help bridge the digital divide and increase access to digital content and personal computing. Bostwick engaged design firm Karen Skunta & Company to help create an engaging, exhilarating experience for attendees who may have never had the opportunity to play with an iPad or Kindle, or had access to a computer.

The end result is TechCentral—a $1 million center with 7,000 square feet—that’s more like a colorful Apple store than a library.

The Skunta team worked in tandem with Bostwick Design Partners to fashion a vibrant color palette for the facility that opened June 14, 2012. The Skunta team created TechCentral’s brand identity, a user-friendly digital guide to TechCentral’s services and an integrated wayfinding system to graphically guide patrons through the inventive facility. 

The Skunta team developed creative, concise multi-media presentations using 70-inch interactive monitors to showcase CPL’s myriad of digital offerings from e-readers and tablets, laptops, desktop computers, 3-D modeling, games, to a vast array of digital downloads of music, books and videos.

The entrance to TechCentral is modern and welcoming.

Through HP Cloud computing technology, patrons can access the web, save files and preferences so they are available anytime they visit the library—just as if they were using their own computer. Patrons have access to 120 HP laptops and HP TouchSmart PCs offer a fun way to interact with educational games and information in a large-screen format. 

Karen Skunta and her team helped bring alive CPL’s plan to provide the community with a user-friendly center for exploring technology and learning how to use it for personal and professional enrichment. Karen is a marketing strategist and brand architect who thrives on partnering with organizations like CPL to tell their stories and create winning experiences for their patrons. She can articulately explain her involvement in TechCentral and how her work is helping one of the best libraries in the nation transform lives.