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The Awesome Box: Letting Libraries Be Awesome Since 2012

Return a library book. Share something Awesome.


March 5, 2013—The Awesome Box allows library patrons to return materials to a box set aside for items they deem to be Awesome.


“If you interact with an amazing or useful item from the library and return it to the Awesome Box, that item gets recorded as Awesome so the community can see what others have found helpful, entertaining or mind-blowing,” said Kim Dulin, co-director of the Harvard Library Innovation Lab, which is piloting the Awesome Box with support from the Harvard Library LabAwesomed items are uploaded to a webpage with links to their library record and are Tweeted.


Awesome Boxes are currently installed at six libraries at Harvard: Baker, Cabot, Design, Lamont, Law and Widener, and the Somerville Public Library recently became the first public library to have one. More libraries are expected to adopt them soon.


Recently Awesomed items from both Harvard and Somerville include 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick, Cradle of the Middle Class: The Family in Oneida County, New York, 1790-1865 by Mary P. Ryan, Black Cat by Kentaro Yabuki and The Lean Start-Up by Eric Ries.


“We created the Awesome Box to bring the library and the community closer together. It’s a simple physical way to cast a vote with no computer required,” said Annie Cain, who co-created the Awesome Box with Matthew Phillips. Both are web developers at the Innovation Lab.


For more information about the Awesome Box, visit