Students Design Library Apps at Hamp Hack

The energy and creativity at Hamp Hack last weekend, the first and only interdisciplinary hackathon in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, was contagious. Hamp Hack – a student-led hack-a-thon – began on Friday night, and lasted 24-hours, ending with judging and awards on Saturday, April 15th in Robert Crown Center at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. Hackers were invited to take a challenge to create an app for the Harold F. Johnson Library. 

The Library Challenge was to develop an app that would help finding: books in the stacks, places to study, services in the library, and get other needed information like library hours and contact information. Hamp Hack founder and organizer Nirman Dave collaborated with librarians Abigail Baines and Jennifer King to conceive of the Library Challenge. Library staff members Abigail Baines, Alana Kumbier, Rachel Beckwith, Natane Halasz and Sasha Conley put the challenge together.

Three teams signed up for the Library Challenge and each of their projects – LiBerry, MyLibrarian, and Hampshire Library Solutions – were unique, creative, and interdisciplinary.

LiBerry designed by  David Pearl (Hampshire College) and Ishanee Rudra (Mount Holyoke College)






LiBerry used a Sphere robotic ball to travel the pretend library stacks, and physically locate a requested book.


Wanting to make finding books in large libraries easier and more fun.

What it does

Guides patrons to the book that they are looking for and returns to circulation desk to re-charge

How we built it

Using SPRK, Adobe XD

Challenges we ran into


Accomplishments that we’re proud of


What we learned

People like Berries

What’s next for LiBerry

Library/ World Domination

MyLibrarian was designed by Aakash Balaji and Ravi Patelfrom (University of Connecticut)


Since I was a child, I’ve never had an easy time finding books at my library. How could one not get lost in this labyrinth of knowledge? When I want help the librarian is not always available instantly. That’s why my team and I created MyLibrarian. MyLibrarian will help you find the location of your books swiftly with the press of a button.

What it does

MyLibrarian scans QR codes and loads a map of the library.

What’s next for MyLibrarian

We plan to expand MyLibrarian to more libraries in the future. We also plan on using it as a system to reserve and checkout books.


Hampshire Library Solutions was created by Wonjae Jang (a High School student from Worcester)  


I just thought it would be a fun and challenging project to tackle.

What it does

It allows the user to navigate easily through the library without getting lost and it makes it easy to find books.

How I built it

I used MIT App Inventor

Challenges I ran into

MIT App Inventor has many limitations. While loops do not work, databases are buggy, and app sizes are extremely limited. In fact, I had to create two apps because of App Inventors limitation, however, the second one is relatively small. I wasn’t able to properly add all of the directions/hours to locations around the library due to the volume of the app. I also couldn’t import the entire database of books (around 150,000 books). This made it impossible for me to check if the book was actually within the main stack or one of the other smaller stacks.

Other difficulties I faced was at first being unable to properly sort into the stacks because they had a combination of letters and numbers. I got around this by only dealing with the first consecutive set of letters, and the next consecutive set of numbers. This worked for almost all of the books.

Accomplishments that I’m proud of

I am proud that I was able to make the sort work in the end. It took the entire night and morning. I was slo very engaged during the entire time.

Winning Team: MyLibrarian

As the Library Director, I had the very hard job of judging each team’s project, and the winning team was MyLibrarian. In the end the real winners of the weekend were all of us who got to participate in this completely supportive and creative community.




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