Where learning is also fun

02.05.2017 – Annual Report 2016

Some 470 tours of Zurich central library are conducted every year. Over 6,000 people take part, and more than half of these are in their final year of high school, getting their first taste of what the central library has to offer and how to use it properly as they do research for their Matura assignment (school-leaving thesis). Having hatched the idea of replacing their primarily paper-based induction documentation with an eLearning tool, the library turned to Ergon. “The plan was for the solution to allay any initial reservations absolute beginners might have, to present Zurich central library as a modern organisation, and also to be fun for young people to use,” says Margrit Meyer, who is responsible for training courses and tours at the library.

Training courses with a “gamification” approach

The starting-point for the technical solution was the notion of a smartphone app linking teaching materials with QR codes; the library and Ergon worked together to develop this into the solution that has now been realised, which has other emphases and incorporates important aspects that were initially less pressing: a “gamification” approach has thus been chosen for the young people, in which they can score points by successfully completing parts of the course. The students install the “discovering Zurich central library” app on their own smartphones before even starting the course and then work through the quiz questions at the library, mostly in groups of two; they can compare their scores with their classmates as they go.

Further expansion planned

In addition to two native smartphone apps for iPhone and Android, the solution delivered contains a web back-end for administrators, and it is here that Zurich central library staff can manage tours, monitor progress, collate new information texts and also adapt and evaluate the quiz questions for the school-leavers. In 2017, a second feature will be developed and completed for the app – a guided tour of Zurich central library, which can either be taken as a whole or retrieved as material from individual information points. This feature will also integrate sound and pictures.


“Given the budget restrictions, it was important for us to weigh up very carefully the costs and benefits of various features,” recounts Corinne Dascenzo, the project leader at Ergon. “We worked with the customer to shape the solution as it stands and delivered the completed product on time and on budget.”