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Library Lab Celebrates Projects and People at Program’s Close

Library Lab LogoNovember 25, 2014—November marked the close of Library Lab, one of the Harvard Library’s more inventive programs from recent years. Participants and supporters from across the University recently came together to celebrate their accomplishments.

The project drew together Harvard’s technologists and humanists with the mandate to experiment, build and test out their ideas aimed at improving library services for students and faculty, and to bring the successful projects to the world via open-source code.

Among the various projects implemented are Awesome Box, which allows users to promote any items during a simple choice in the return location, and Inscriptio, which allows carrel users to request and make reservations in an approach similar to that of airline seating.

“We created stuff. We built a community. We’re wrapping up,” Sue Kriegsman, program manager, succinctly said. Scroll down to read more on the program outcome and celebratory event.


OSC Staff

Library Lab was led by the Office for Scholarly Communication with assistance from Berkman Center for Internet & Society and Library Technology Services. Berkman engineers dubbed themselves the “geeks” and supported librarians with deep technical knowledge; members of the OSC team managed the program and provided administrative support. Here, Library Lab coordinator Becky Cremona (left) poses with OSC colleagues (and Library Lab cheerleaders) Emily Kilcer, Colin Lukens and Ben Steinberg.

Library Lab Cake

The Arcadia Fund granted financial support in 2010 to promote innovation in diverse types of library activity. Three years of work culminated in the establishment of 24 GitHub code repositories from the 57 funded projects and 171 initial project proposals. 

Library Lab Celebration Attendees

Over 150 faculty, staff, students and researchers from Harvard, MIT and Yale collaborated to build and scale their ideas, evaluating success according to the principles of entrepreneurship, experimentation, openness and scalability. 

Library Lab Supporters

The celebration drew supporters as well as participants—here, Lee Fenn, Suzanne Wones and Kyle Courtney.

Library Lab Team

The core Library Lab team included (from left) Professor Stuart Shieber, Jennifer Jubinville, Sue Kriegsman, Becky Cremona, Sebastian Diaz and Abigail Bordeaux.

Sue Kriegsman

Professor Robert Darnton, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and University Librarian, and Professor Shieber, James O. Welch, Jr. and Virginia B. Welch Professor of Computer Science and faculty director of the Office for Scholarly Communication, drove the initial proposal soliciting funding. Shieber, however, gave enormous credit to the executing team, particularly commending Kriegsman (pictured above), saying, “It was Sue’s efforts that led to such an effective set of outcomes by sticking to the principles while constantly adjusting to lessons learned.”