Anyone who has attended any one of my training sessions or has been a student in one of my classes knows that I advocate passionately for allowing patrons to browse the return carts. As I said in this post about return carts:
The return carts hold the secret to your collection. I am not exaggerating here. ...This is everything the people in your community have recently brought home with them. Notice I didn't say "read." We can't know if they read the book or not, but we do know that it intrigued them enough to take it home. This is a snapshot of what your patrons want right now! You cannot massage the reports feature on your catalog to get better results than of you simply go look at the return cart. Make sure, however, that your visit it on different days of the week and at least 2x per month to understand what your patrons are looking for.But it is for more than training you, the library worker, as to what your patrons want. The patrons love to be able to peruse the return cart because to them (whether they are conscious of this or not) it is a pre-approved display of books people liked enough to check out and bring home. It is a way to winnow down their choices when faced with imposing stacks filled with books for which they know nothing about.
The problem with patrons using the return carts as a display of good reads is that we don't know if the patron who returned the book loved or hated it. Is the book worth the next person's time. But THE AWESOME BOX solves that problem. The Awesome Box allows patrons to choose if a book deserves to be categorized as awesome or not. It is an easy way to encourage patron empowerment AND provide book recommendations for your entire service community.
And add the social media and catalog implications outlined here and.... All I can say is-- Mind Blow!
I mean, the box tweets @HLAwesome and has its own website. Click through to the presentation to see how they accomplish this.
The Awesome Box takes a good situation-- patrons being able to browse the book carts-- and makes it better. No, not better-- AWESOME!
I have to go and email this to my staff right now.