Library Partners with Tagwhat Mobile App to Launch New Chapter in Local Storytelling

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Virginia Beach Public Library is one of several organizations, including the Associated Press and National Trust for Historic Preservation, selected as pilot partners for the national launch this week of a mobile storytelling application, Tagwhat. The app shares location-based stories using “augmented reality” technology. Just look through your smartphone at the scenery around you, and stories about your location will appear on screen. The app is free to download from the Apple App Store and Android Market.


Cynthia Hart, virtual librarian, and Nicole McGee, emerging technologies librarian at Virginia Beach Public Library, have been working with Tagwhat since the spring. Drawing from the library’s digitized local history collection, they created stories, added facts, videos, audio and photos, and collaborated with Beach residents to provide quirky anecdotes. 


Ellis Hinnant-Will, whose father co-founded the Virginia Beach Lifesaving Association in 1932, shared stories about early beach life and her father’s experience as a lifeguard.  Other stories added by Virginia Beach Public Library highlight the Pungo Strawberry Festival, history of the boardwalk and more.


“Our partnership with Tagwhat allows residents and visitors to access our local history collection in a unique, relevant way,” said Marcy Sims, library director. “It also illustrates how libraries are pioneers in adopting emerging technologies.”


Dave Elchoness, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tagwhat, said, “Tagwhat brings the places surrounding us to life with rich stories told in vivid multimedia.  We could think of no better place to embark on this journey than in beautiful and historic Virginia Beach.  The Virginia Beach Public Library did an extraordinary job bringing their places to life with great stories and people will love it.”

Tagwhat stories are organized into subject channels, including heritage, movies, music, sports, art, food and nature. Just tap on a story tag to read, watch videos, view photos or listen to audio. You can even share a “digital postcard” with your friends through Facebook, Twitter or email – and they can experience the story, too, with your photo and message. There is even a “Visit” feature in Tagwhat that lets people far away travel virtually to feature cities like Virginia Beach, to enjoy stories there.


About Tagwhat

Based in Boulder, Colo., Tagwhat Inc. is a media company that tells "Great Stories at Places" in multimedia in the mobile device. Tagwhat's application, including its patent-pending technology, is available for download for iPhone 3GS and 4 and Google Android devices. Find out more at


About Virginia Beach Public Library

A community anchor for more than 50 years, Virginia Beach Public Library includes a central library, eight area libraries, a law library and a bookmobile. Services include workforce development and job-search support, small business resources, computer and technology classes, early childhood literacy classes and local history archives. In addition to books in a variety of formats (print, audio and downloadable), the library provides online research tools accessible from home or work, as well as movies, music and a variety of specialty collections. In 2010, 1.9 million people came through its doors and checked out more than 3.3 million items. Visit for more information.