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Fun for all ages in Billings, Montana from 2013’s pilot project. | Photo: OCLC

Who knew that libraries were such a hub of creative activity? Just two months after we put out our call for proposals for the 2014 Outside the Box – a partnership between library service non-profit OCLC and Redbox – the results are in! We were thrilled to receive requests from dozens of small, but diverse towns in the United States, deciding finally on 22 amazing community projects all centered around their local library. Each library will receive free assistance and a selection of materials valued at $5,000 for their proposed program, and runner-ups will get an outdoor movie package from Redbox!

Last year’s pilot run of the program was a resounding success for the participating libraries and we can’t wait to get started on this years’ events! While we’ve always known libraries make for great partners that can nurture great public spaces, this year’s Outside the Box proposals are truly out of the box. Libraries and their community partners are planning a plethora of activities aimed towards creating true community places, ranging from outdoor movies, storytelling, arts and music festivals, to games of all kinds, community gardening, exercise and fitness classes, barbeques, bi-lingual story and craft classes, and even stargazing and kayaking! These community-building activities will bring people together and will help create the great places where communities gather and connect to their libraries and to each other.

 

OTB 2014 locations map copy

 

Congratulations to the 2014 participating communities:

Athens, AL; San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA; Winter Garden, FL;  Boise, ID;
Hopkins Park, IL;  Bedford, IN; Rockport, IN; Olive Hill, KY; Sandy Hook, KY;
Livingston, LA; Shrewsbury, MA;  Shutesbury, MA; Springfield, MA; Pontiac, MI;
Westland, MI; Washington, NC; Elmira, NY; Wallkill, NY; Sevierville, TN;
Pottsboro, TX; Spokane, WA; and Gillett, WI.

Placemaking is truly catching on and we couldn’t be happier for the communities involved. As one librarian put it in their proposal, through the Outside the Box project, they hope to “create a place where people come as strangers and leave as friends.” So don’t forget to drop by your library this summer! Take a look at what they have to offer, or suggest a Placemaking event of your own! And stay tuned for more updates on project progress from OCLC and Redbox.