Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Awesome Box: Stealth Program

 Harvard library has created a"Awesome Box", a way of crowdsourcing Reader's Advisory and book recommendations. The Awesome Box was the brainchild of Annie Cain and Matt Phillips, and now is a project that involves many collaborators. Please read all about them here.

I decided to create something similar at the Story Action Pod this summer.

The result was the meme-filled station you see to the left. And it was super fun! Over the course of the summer we got about 50 recommendations from kids about books from liking The Pigeon Wants a Hot Dog because it's funny, to liking 39 Clues because there is at least one scene that includes swords.

Because Summer Reading Program always gives our circulation department approximately 50 million hours of extra shelving work, we decided to keep everything as inside-our-department as possible.

Here's how it went down:

1. At the Story Action Pod, we put directions with a box full of "Officially Awesome" sheets.
2. Kid were instructed to write the name of a book, and write or draw about why that book is Officially Awesome.
3. When the kids turned them in, they'd get a check mark on their Summer Reading Program bookmark for "Play a Special Game at the Library" (it was one of three, the other two being The Future Book Look and the perennial favorite Mystery Bags).
4. We'd look to see if the book was checked in. If it was, it would go on display with the "Officially Awesome" sheet sticking out of it.
5. If it wasn't, the sheet would go in a manila envelope which I'd check periodically to see if the books were in.
6. After SLP ended (and during book pick up), I created a display of all "Officially Awesome" books at the "Mega Picks for School-Age Kids" display shelf.

This was a great way to crowd-source recommendations, and kids really liked the concept! Even if kids didn't "Officially Awesome" a book, the idea of getting another kid's recommendation was surely appealing. I'm pretty certain this display hardly lasted a week.

Ready to try an Officially Awesome station at your library?
Click the links below to download some freebies and get started!
Awesome Box directions
"Officially Awesome" sheets
"These Books are Officially Awesome!" display sign

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