Awesome Somerville Public Library

Harvard Library and the Somerville Public Library:

Innovation and Collaboration

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Best of Publib received the following press release from the Somerville Public Library in Somerville, Massachusetts:

Matt Phillips and Annie Cain

Matt Phillips and Annie Cain – Creators of the Awesome Box

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.”

Awesome Box

Awesome Box

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: http://somerville.awesomebox.io/.

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, call Maria Carpenter at 617.623.5000 or email her at  mcarpenter@somervillema.gov.

Awesome Somerville

Awesome Somerville

Somerville’s commitment to innovation and collaboration can be emulated by any other public library.  The Harvard Innovation Lab provides excellent documentation along with step-by-step instruction.   The Awesome Box project is just one direction they are exploring.

The great thing about this sort of project is that it capitalizes on patron momentum.  Whenever a patron returns a book or media, they either put it in the regular book drop or express their approval by putting it in the Awesome Box. Either way, the same energy is expended with an added value to the library as a book or media review.

There is an added value to the patron with their likes and preferences registered and noted. There is also an added value to all of the other patrons who might not otherwise know what gems the library contains. The only extra step is checking it in – scanning a second time  to register in the Awesome database.

Awesome Box - a simple, elegant idea.

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Favorite Books of 2012

Favorite Books for 2012 – Library Inspired Selections

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On November 15, 2012 David Faulkner david.faulkner@austintexas.gov via listserv.oclc.org announced on Publib :

What is the best book you read this year? The book could have been published any year as what matters is that you read it in 2012.

Let me know either through Publib or via my email david.faulkner@austintexas.gov and I’ll compile the results and make them available early in the new year – you are free to nominate as many books as you want..

All genres and forms of books are open so nominate your favorite:

  • graphic novel
  • children’s book
  • romance novel
  • audiobook, etc.

This will be the 10th year I’ve compiled this list so if you’d like to see previous lists you can find them all on Best of Publib ~

David
Austin (TX) Public Library

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Publib Favorite Books 2011

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By David Faulkner -

As a member of PubLib, an electronic discussion list for public libraries, I asked fellow members to name the book they most enjoyed reading that year. Here is the list for 2011 :

 

Title Author Votes
22 Britannia Road Hodgkinson, Amanda 1
Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination Ackroyd, Peter 1
Alchemist, The Coelho, Paulo 1
All Clear Willis, Connie 1
All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel Yaccarino, Dan 1
American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot Ferguson, Craig 1
Angel Town Saintcrow, Lilith 1
Art of Fielding, The Harbach, Chad 1
Art of Racing in the Rain, The Stein, Garth 2
Ashes Bick, Ilsa J. 1
Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb, The Benjamin, Melanie 1
Barbarian Nurseries, The Tobar, Hector 1
Becoming Marie-Antoinette Grey, Juliet 1
Before I Go To Sleep Watson, S. J. 1
Black Lamb & Grey Falcon West, Rebecca 1
Blackout Willis, Connie 1
Book of Days (Book 5 of the JP Kinkaid Chronicles) Grabien, Deborah 1
Bossypants Fey, Tina 2
Boy in the Suitcase, The Kaaberbol, Lene and Agnete Friis 1
Buddha in the Attic, The Otsuka, Julie 1
Clara and Mr. Tiffany Vreeland, Susan 1
Commencement Sullivan, J. Courtney 1
Dark Tower, The series King, Stephen 1
Detective Kubu Mystery series Stanley, Michael 1
Devotion of Suspect X, The Higashino, Keigo 1
Discovery of Witches, A Harkness, Deborah 2
Distant Hours, The Morton, Kate 1
Elizabeth I George, Margaret 1
Elizabeth I trilogy Irwin, Margaret 1
Everybody Sees the Ants King, A.S. 1
Fabulous New Orleans Saxon, Lyle 1
Fahrenheit 451 Bradbury, Ray 1
Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship Ryan, Tom 1
Forgotten Garden, The Morton, Kate 1
Girl Who Fell From the Sky, The Durrow, Heidi W 1
Graveyard Book, The Gaiman, Neil 1
Her Fearful Symmetry Niffenegger, Audrey 1
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer McBride, Lish 1
How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization Woods, Jr., Thomas E. 1
Hunger Games, The Collins, Suzanne 1
In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto Pollan, Michael 1
Information, The: A History, a Theory, a Flood Gleick, James 1
Island, The Hilderbrand, Elin 1
Joy for Beginners Bauermeister, Erica 1
Just Kids Smith, Patti 1
King’s Daughter, The Dickason, Christie 1
Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883 Winchester, Simon 1
Language of Flowers, The Diffenbaugh, Vanessa 1
Left Neglected Genova, Lisa 1
Leftovers, The Perrotta, Tom 1
Makers Doctorow, Cory 1
Middlemarch Eliot, George 1
Miss Silver Mystery series Wentworth, Patricia 1
Monster Calls, A Ness, Patrick 1
Night Circus, The Morgenstern, Erin 4
Passionate Mistakes and Intricate Corruption of One Girl in America, The Tea, Michelle 1
Pirate King: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes (Russell and Holmes, Book 11) King, Laurie R. 1
Please Look After Mom Shin, Kyung-Sook 1
Ready Player One Cline, Ernest 2
Reamde Stephenson, Neal 1
Redwall Jacques, Brian 1
Reveille in Washington: 1860-1865 Leech, Margaret 1
Richard the Lionheart Gillingham, John 1
Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend Orlean, Susan 1
Rules of Civility Towles, Amor 1
Secret Kept, A Rosnay, Tatiana de 1
Song of Ice and Fire, A series Martin, George R.R. 1
Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, The Bailey, Elisabeth Tova 1
Steve Jobs Isaacson, Walter 1
Tess of the D’Urbervilles Hardy, Thomas 1
Tigerlily’s Orchids Rendell, Ruth 1
Unfamiliar Fishes Vowell, Sarah 1
Untold Story Ali, Monica 1
Weird Sisters, The Brown, Eleanor 1
What is Left the Daughter Norman, Howard 1
When She Woke Jordan, Hillary 1
Zero Day Baldacci, David 1
Zero History Gibson, William 1

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Civil War 150: DC

Civil War 150 : District of Columbia and Freedom Rising

~ Elisa Babel, MLS

Fort Sumter

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War–the opening salvo was at Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor in the early morning hours on April 12, 1861.

The war not only changed the nation–it also changed Washington, DC as a capitol and hometown.

Last month I read Ernest Furgurson’s Freedom Rising, a nonfiction book about DC during the Civil War years. Since I work in DC, the 150th anniversary seemed like a great time to discover the city at that time.

Furgurson writes a fascinating and informative story of how the Civil War impacted the city and shaped it to what is today. When President-elect Lincoln arrived for his inauguration in February 1861, there wasn’t much about DC to attract people for a visit. As the book progresses through the war years, Furgurson introduces the reader to the people, events, and places in the city as well as what happened officially. 

I enjoyed the descriptions of city life and neighborhoods at the time.  The landmarks mentioned are either still standing today or long gone. I recognized some of the people who came to DC for one reason or another while others I didn’t know. 

By April 1865, DC is no longer the sleepy town it once been. Black and white maps of the city are included. I enjoyed this book and learned more about DC along the way.

Around the city and in Maryland and Virginia, you can find Civil War heritage sites to discover and enjoy.  The Washington Post is featuring a special section online  of the 150th anniversary.

On April 15, Emancipation Day will be observed in the District of Columbia.  This city holiday commemorates the signing of the DC Emancipation Act signed by President Lincoln in 1862,  freeing all slaves in DC. 

This Emancipation was enacted  nine months before the more famous Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

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Best of PubLib 03.28.10

Best of Publib Current Topics and Archives

Provocative video suitable for all audiences coming soon

This edition of  Best of Publib covers  March 15th through March 28th 2010. This PubLib review and analysis includes questions about naming library rooms, thought-provoking discussions about new media archives , library materials security,  and our new poll on R-rated movie access. Some of the topics we will be reviewing include: 

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Best of PubLib 03.14.10

Best of Publib Current Topics and Archives

Video coming soon

This edition of  Best of Publib covers the weeks of March 1st  through March 14th 2010. This edition includes questions about collection development, thought-provoking discussions about  known inaccuracies in ‘non-fiction’ works , circulation manager duties ,  humorous anecdotes regarding blondes ,  and the impact of closing public school libraries: 

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Best of PubLib 01.25.10

Best of Publib Current Topics and Archives

Video coming soon

This week  in  Best of Publib covers January 10th  through January 24th 2010. This week includes questions about collection development,  library hardware and software solutions, politics, policies,  and the ethics of advertising and branding. Some of the topics we will be reviewing include:weekly update

  • Topic   »    Shelving graphic novels - Phalbe Henriksen in Taylorsville, NC wants to know how many fit on a standard shelf – Graphic novel collections are growing! 
  • Topic   »    Classics List for Small Public Library - Bridget Krejci in Bloomer, WI wants recommendations for Classics – Kevin O’Kelly recommends the Everyman 100 and Carl Long provides an excellent, concise list.
  • Topic   »    Public Library System Organizational Structure: Request for information - Corinne Dickman in Sparks, NV is investigating alternative organizational structures – How is your library configured?
  • Topic   »    The future of reference? – This new product from Intel may show the future of reference – Are hololibrarians the next step in automation?
  • Topic   »    Recalled books – Justine Shaffner  in Aurora, CO forwarded this warning from CPSC of books that may cause a fire – Sometimes the books are on fire, sometimes the books cause them . . .
  • Topic   »    Not Gadgets -  M. McGrorty  in Los Angeles brings us this article by John Tierney – The Madness of Crowds and an Internet Delusion
  • Topic   »    library ethics vs local politics  – American Libraries reported on this troubling story out of Vermont  
  • Topic   »    Iphone app - Georgia Bouda  in  Bloomington, IL discusses the phone applications that digitize patron bar codes and offer them as alternatives to physical library cards – What are the security and service issues? How else can they be used?
  • Topic   »    Story time attendance dropping off? –  Janet Griffing  in Wadsworth, OH reports on diminished participation – Is it demographic changes or flu fears?
  • Topic   »    posting for causes on a library blog? – Kevin O’Kelly  in  Somerville, MA wants to know if it is proper – Should causes be promoted?
  • Topic   »    Flying candidates in for face-to-face interviews  – Matthew Pierce is looking at the cost – Is it still common to fly in recruits?
  • Topic   »    Review - M. McGrorty challenges librarians to post negative reviews of books – Is the trend to only see the good?
  • Topic   »    Branding in Libraries - Jane Genzel  at the  Muskego Public Library is investigating the appropriateness of branded donations – Does branding diminish services?
  • Topic   »    Drop In computer labs - Tracey Reed  in Clearwater, FL is implementing unstructured classes – Where is this effective?
  • Topic   »    Periodicals back issues - Laurenne Teachout   in Stephentown, NY has limited space for periodicals – What is ideal retention?
  • Topic   »    Overdrive Download Stations? – Nilya Carrato   in  Washington, DC  is configuring dedicated PCs for audio/ebook download – What software works the best?
  • Topic   »    Patron Counters - Cath Soffe   at  Ajax Library Services wants to know which products are the best
  • Topic   »    CIPA and e-rate - Andrea Taylor  in  Fullerton, CA is looking for a definitive answers on bona fide research and adult access - Is there conflict between local and federal guidelines?
  • Topic   »    libraries and local bookstores/resend - Robin K. Blum is writing on the subject – What collaborative relationships exist between libraries and bookstores?
  • Topic   »    Laptop Checkout - Mindy Kittay – in Colorado at the Anythink Libraries is looking for exemplary policies and procedures – How do your laptops circulate?
  • Topic   »    experience with outsourcing management of the library - Laurel Goodgion   in Wethersfield CT is investigating corporate profiteering on non-profits – When does outsourced management impinge on professional ethics?
  • Topic   »    Clipping files - Faith Jones – in New Westminster  BC, Canada is looking for best current practices for clipping files – are they still relevant with digitization? Does digitization of clipping files infringe on copyright?
  • Topic   »    Giveaways for silent auctions, etc. - John Richmond   in  Bartonville, IL wants to know what to offer other non-profits – Is there a great combination of that serves the library and external non-profits too?
  • Topic   »    Self Check Out - Andrew R. Stehr   in  Rochester, MN is looking for examples where circulation is 80% or greater automated – What are the benefits?
  • Topic   »    Expired Library Cards - Sue Reed   in  Jefferson City, MO wants to know how long you keep expired patron records before purging – Does your patron policy include privacy considerations?
  • Topic   »    Museum type holdings - John C. Sandstrom   in  El Paso, TX is looking for examples of libraries that still keep art work and realia – What are the collection guidelines?
  • Topic   »    Kevin Trudeau books - Becky Tatar   in  Aurora, IL investigates collection development policies – Do we offer what the public wants or what they should want?
  • Topic   »    Friday reference question - Dusty Gres   in  Vidalia, GA started a new discussion on humorous and troubling reference questions – It looks like we are generating a new list!
  • Topic   »    Book (etc.?) Awards - Diedre Conkling   in  Newport, OR  provided a link to ALA’s Book Award list in Cognotes.  The discussion truncated into contemplation of the effect of marketing and advertising on professional library literature. What do you think?

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