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Jan 30, 2013


Partnership with Harvard University Innovation Lab Helps Residents Share “Awesome” Ideas at Public Libraries

SOMERVILLE - The Somerville Public Library, in a partnership with the Harvard Library Innovation Lab, is launching the "Awesome Box" project at all three library branches in early February. The first municipal partnership of its kind, the "Awesome Box" will allow patrons to share "awesome" book suggestions with fellow readers by depositing checked books into the Box rather than into the regular "Returns" bin.  "Awesome" books will be linked to a website for community members to learn about and explore potential book titles. 



"Somerville is the first public library to partner on the 'Awesome Box' project, and in keeping with our City's streak of innovative programming and ideas, this is a great new program that we're fortunate to be able to offer residents," said Maria Carpenter, Director of the Somerville Public Library. "We are always looking for dynamic, innovative and creative approaches to library service, and this certainly fits the bill."



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, which can be found here:



Patrons can then visit the page and see what others have found notably enlightening, mind-blowing or helpful recently. There is also a "most awesome" section, which shows the items that were most thought to be awesome. Users can also search for items that are listed as awesome. When patrons click on the media's icon, it takes them to the item's listing on the Minuteman Library Network catalog, so that they can read more about the item and its availability or place it on hold.



For more information about this project, contact Maria Carpenter at 617-623-5000 or