Meet the Startup Weekend TO: Library Edition Teams


This post is by volunteer Allison Moore.

Over the last 24 hours, 11 teams have come together to address a variety of issues facing libraries, from early literacy to wayfinding, cataloguing to kinesthetics. Here’s what each team is working on at Startup Weekend Toronto: Library Edition.


Raise Your Reader (@raiseyourreader)
The Raise Your Reader team is working to promote early childhood literacy. They’re building an App aimed at parents to encourage them to read to their young children. The App will include book lists and reading recommendations for parents, connect to partner libraries, so parents will be able to see library programs that are relevant to their children, and connect directly to library catalogues for checking availability and putting holds on materials. A Q&A section will allow children’s librarians to answer questions like “My kid only wants to read Where the Wild Things Are? What do I do?”, providing a way for librarians to share their early literacy expertise with parents.

The Hub (#swtolibHUB)
The Hub addresses the connection between library patrons and their communities. Often, a library patron comes up to the reference desk to ask questions, and poof! the librarian recalls a nearby foundation or organization that might have the answers. The Hub seeks to formalize this kind of knowledge, creating an online resource that patrons can access from a library catalogue, finding resources in the community just as they find resources in the stacks.

Space Valet (@spacevalet)
Finding study space in libraries, especially during exam season, can be an exercise in futility. The Space Valet team is designing an app to help students find study space more quickly, including a check-in system to better monitor available space.

Sticky Bookmarks
Team Sticky Bookmarks is creating a web app to crowdsource all of the erotic scenes in books. Users will be able to submit page and chapter numbers so that readers will be able to more easily locate the content that they’re interested in.

Brooklist is tackling the complex problem of hold requests in libraries: patrons with lots of books on hold often have to wait a long time for a title to become available. Currently at the early stages, the team is spending the weekend trying to simulate whether they can predict how long a user will have to wait, based on the number of holds on a title, and the number of copies of that title held by the libraries. They’re then going to try different algorithms to improve the wait time by rearranging the listings.

The BIKE Project (@thestudybike)
The BIKE (Believing in Kinesthetic Education) Project addresses ways to encourage kinesthetic movement in the lower extremities while sitting at a desk. The Fidget, the device they’re prototyping, includes a pedal and a roller, to stimulate relaxation and movement, increasing focus and concentration.

Maker Library (@MakerLibraryTO)
The Maker Library is working to create a network of library-to-library and library-to-community connections, where libraries can support each other through the process of creating, maintaining and using a maker space, and through sharing resources, experiences, and best practices. They also want to connect libraries to established maker spaces so community members can go to libraries to see what’s happening in maker spaces throughout their community.

The team formerly known as Eeyore is working on an application to facilitate cataloguing of rare and specialized books and journals. They plan to implement an OCR system to better glean information from these materials and to facilitate and expedite the cataloguing process.

Signwave UI (@Signwave UI)
Signwave UI takes inspiration from the University of Toronto’s labyrinthine Robart’s Library to address wayfinding within libraries. Through a touch or gesture-based system, Gesture UI wants to help library patrons find their way around libraries, accessing the services and resources they’re searching for.

Pixel Book
Pixel Book is focused on getting kids engaged in libraries through gamification. By developing an App to integrate with library resources, they want to change the delivery format of kid’s content and information available in libraries, making kids more engaged and interested in all that libraries have to offer.

CCBB builds on the Little Free Library / Tiny Library phenomenon, striving to build community book exchanges for children in playgrounds and parks. They’re thinking of ways to get kids reading and playing, and looking at structures for how to make these community book exchanges a larger phenomenon.