Written by on March 8, 2014

Hacking for the library

Hackathon12 hours. 1 room. More than 100 students: software engineers, web developers, graphic designers, marketers. We were happy to see so many library student assistants among the hackers in Bonderson, and would like to thank all of you for attending.

“The Hackathon is a fantastic example of Cal Poly’s hands-on, Learn-By-Doing philosophy. I enjoyed collaborating with students from other disciplines, such as Computer Science and AgBusiness. It gave me the valuable opportunity to learn from my peers and get a glimpse into their fields of expertise. It’s great to see students take their education into their own hands and build something that impacts the world around them.” says Natalie Rich, library student assistant in Digital Scholorship Services.


Library Challenges

3 out of 23 teams worked on library challenges that were introduced by web designer Conny Liegl and college librarian Brett Bodemer, who attended the event as spectators. We were looking for creative solutions for the fraternity/sorority check-in binders on the first floor, exploring new ways to find each other in the library, and innovative ways to find books better.

Find your books

Andrew Wang, working in Library Information Technology, was one of three developers on the Poly Book Tracker Team that won the library challenge. He heard about the hackathon in my Mobile Development class: “I wanted to experience building an app from scratch and challenge myself if I could do it in 12 hours.” The team developed an Android app that allows users to enter a call number and locates the book on an indoors map, so it is easy for visitors to find their materials across the library’s five floors. “We wanted to create an app that will allow students at Cal Poly to easily find books at the library.  So we decided to make an app to show students where in the library the book is located.  Making this search for books easier for students was our primary reasoning in developing the app.”

The team received an overwhelming applause when presenting their development, and won four $50 gift cards: “In order to have more devices to test our apps with, we plan to buy a Nexus 7 tablet.”

Track your hours

Another strong team of five designers, developers and marketers won second price in the overall category: Team RobLog developed an app to make it easy for fraternity and sorority members to sign in and out to track their study hours at the library. The app also allows users to compare their study hours with other houses. “We wanted to focus on both the members of the organization as well as the scholarship chair would have a good way to receive and update library hour information. We know everyone likes a friendly competition, so we added that aspect as well.” says Jessie Pease, an active member of Cal Poly’s Greek Life.

See you in 2015

Matt Rice, Design Team student assistant, sees the hackathon experience as an addition to regular classes at Cal Poly: “The hackathon was a great opportunity to really gauge my skills as a designer, as well as a team member, and most importantly was an incredible learning experience that pushed me in a way that a traditional class cannot. I would encourage anyone with pertinent skills of any level to participate in a hackathon if they get the chance.”

Kennedy Library would like to thank Lorraine Donegan, professor in Graphic Communication, who has organized the 2014 hackathon with a strong team of volunteers and in collaboration with industry sponsors. She is planning the next hackathon event in Winter 2015. We can’t wait to challenge students again, and see the amazing results of their hard work.

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