Massachusetts: Somerville Public Library Partners With Harvard Library Lab, Becomes First Public Library to Make “Awesome Box” Available
The Somerville Public Library, in a partnership with the Harvard Library Innovation Lab, launched the “Awesome Box” project at all three SPL branches in early February. This endeavor will allow patrons to give fellow users suggestions on what book/CD/DVD they found to be “awesome.”
“Somerville is the first public library to get on board with the ‘Awesome Box’ project,” says Maria Carpenter, Somerville’s library director. “We are always looking for dynamic, innovative and creative approaches to library service, and this was certainly one of those.”
Here’s how it will work: When a patron particularly enjoys an item, he or she will return the book into the “Awesome Box,” which will be clearly labeled with appropriate signage. Then, a library staff member will scan the book twice – once, checking the book in as usual, then another time to list that item on the “awesome” page.
Learn More About the Awesome Box Project
The Harvard Library Lab Launched the Awesome Box Pilot Nine Months Ago
In a blog post about they talk about signage.
Getting the signage right is key to the first goal. It’s been a challenge to perfect the balance between simple and informative.
We want users to understand the following without using too much text.
- What constitutes Awesome (helpful, mind-blowing, etc.)
- What happens when an item is Awesomed (it gets marked Awesome, shared with everyone)
- Awesome Box (via HLIL Blog Post)
- Awesome Box Report (via Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication; March 2012)
- Awesome Box Proposal (via Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication)
The members of the Harvard Library Innovation Lab responsible for the Awesome Box project are:
- Annie Cain, Web Developer, Harvard Law Library
- Matt Phillips, Web Developer, Harvard Law Library
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.