The Future of Libraries: Harvard Students Are Thinking Outside the Box | EdTech Magazine


Electric Campfire

Jenny Hong realized that when library users needed to power up devices like notebooks and tablets, they were confined to outlets scattered throughout the building. She designed the Electric Campfire — a “cubical table arrayed on each side with wireless power outlets,” according to the Harvard Gazette. The intent is to encourage social interaction with other users. The term “library voice” may soon be a thing of the past.

Spatial Googling

When you know what to search, it’s easy to find a book in the library. But Stacy Morton proposed an innovative way to search a library’s archives, or even an entire city. The idea is that a user can save keyword searches and then receive notifications if they pass near an object that has been tagged with relevant terms.

The Future of Libraries: Harvard Students Are Thinking Outside the Box | EdTech Magazine

For Brian Morin, 11, an extraordinary gateway to “adventure” lurks within an unusual place: the corner of a room in a central Fresno 7-Eleven convenience store.

Brian usually stops by five days a week to check out books from a children’s library inside, created by store owners Sushil Prakash and Josephine Kiran as an incentive to get children in the neighborhood excited about reading.

The catch to lure kids? A free Slurpee or hot chocolate for every book read and summarized in a short book report.

Columbus library to issue cards for kids that won’t rack up late fees





This is awesome. As a kid, I was banned from my town library because my mom forgot to return my copy of Heidi. This system would help prevent this, and make sure that kids see libraries are supportive, rather than punitive, places.

Kids with fines they are not responsible for, it’s always a struggle. When new students in grade 6 come to my middle school (we are also a public library) I clear their fines, and explain to them that fines incurred as a child were not their fault, and now that they’re in middle school, they get a fresh start. To have a 12 year old thank you and say “I’m going to hide this card from my parent(s)” because their mother takes it to check out her own materials… it’s the saddest thing. This is not the kind of struggle we should be having! I just want everyone to read, you know?

This is so much better. I didn’t realize this is a reason so many people feel so discouraged by late fees. It makes so much sense.

Luckily for me, I left a book at my Grandparents’ house in another city as a kid. It was The Hungry Caterpillar which I loved so much I took it with me everywhere. I told the school librarian I had left it and she just said to bring it back. She put it as lost so it wouldn’t rack up fines until I brought it back. Also my mom was supportive and would pay the fines. She never used my public library card either.

This memory is so vivid still. This is how other people must remember feeling discouraged.

Also, this matters to poor kids. I once couldn’t check out books at my town’s public library for a year in junior high because my transportation to the library was spotty (sometimes I’d be there every day after school, sometimes it’d be weeks, and I couldn’t walk there, as we lived on a farm) and they wouldn’t let me check anything out until it was paid—only I had no money and my parents were bad at even giving me money for reduced lunch, let alone paying fines.

I saw this when tutoring teens in Harlem, too—my student was a very avid reader, but she’d racked up fines and therefore had no library access, and now we were working on getting her set up to take the SAT and apply for colleges and she had no internet access because of her fines (no internet or computer at home).

Columbus library to issue cards for kids that won’t rack up late fees