Virtual AARLCC (African American Research Library and Cultural Center) is an LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) grant funded project designed to expand access to the library’s unique Special Collections through the utilization of three-dimensional (3D) modeling and Augmented Reality (AR). The project features 20 African artifacts from AARLCC’s Special Collection. Each artifact was 3D scanned to produce virtual models accessible on the exhibit website or on SketchFab.com. Website viewers can experience guided online tours of the Special Collection or a library-based AR experience of the artifacts.
The intent of the project is to provide a means for experiencing a display of special artifacts that might not otherwise be as accessible for various reasons. This virtual exhibit will give viewers the opportunity and ability to do things they could not do with live exhibits or archival artifacts, such as freely manipulate items to explore them more closely, download objects to collect and share, or hear and watch curated information related to the artifacts.
The African American Research Library and Cultural Center (AARLCC) opened in 2002 as the third public library of its kind in the nation behind the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (New York) and the Auburn Avenue Research Library (Georgia). The 60,000 square foot library is a flagship library of the Broward County Library system. AARLCC has an exhibit gallery, 300-seat theater, two seminar rooms and a conference boardroom. The two-story building maintains a dual purpose by having the theater, museum, and meeting space (cultural center) on the first floor and public services (circulating library collection and special collections archive on the second floor.
The mission of AARLCC is to collect, preserve, and provide access to resources focusing on the history and culture of people of African, African-American and Caribbean descent. In carrying out the work of preserving the Black experience, AARLCC produces outreach programs focused on community engagement, the arts, and education and access targeting both youths and adults. AARLCC’s mission allows staff to help educate this generation and future generations about the rich and colorful African, African-American and Caribbean heritages, cultures and histories. In addition to traditional resources, AARLCC is committed to addressing issues of the Digital Divide by introducing innovative technology to our customers. AARLCC is equipped with tools such as state-of-the-art computers and gadgets as well as public access to the latest virtual reality equipment.