By Naa Dedei Coleman
BU News Service
BOSTON— During this year’s Boston Book Festival, Mary Mahoney presented Audio Shelfie to a session in the lower level of the Boston Public Library. Using books as an online social networking tool, Audio Shelfie provides a digital space where people can discuss the role books have played in their lives.
Mahoney, a postdoctoral fellow in Digital Humanities at Trinity College, is focusing her dissertation on using reading as medicine. With Audio Shelfie, she wants people to connect through the books they have read.
“Each story is paired with a photo of the storyteller on our website so the audio and image together become what we call an audio shelfie,” said Mahoney.
Mahoney asked members of the audience to think about some of the books they have read and about the most meaningful reading experience of their lives.
During the session, Mahoney played a few audio shelfies from the library, which had been recorded at an earlier visit to Edwin O Smith High School in Connecticut.
In one of the audio shelfies, an English teacher reminisced about “Go Ask Alice”. The book had helped her understand her identity and influenced her decision to “sentence myself to life in high school.”
In another audio shelfie, a marketing and business teacher explained how reading to her dyslexic son improved his academic performance.
Audience members had the opportunity to record their shelfies at the session and tell their stories. Among those recorded live was one of a twin’s search for her identity after being separated from her sister.
Audio shelfie recordings are open to everyone. All you should do is select a question and record your story.
The best stories are about personal experiences with a book and how it contributed to your understanding of your place in the world—rather than a summary of the book. You have the choice to either add a photo of yourself or of the book that you talk about.
Audio shelfie is expected to launch in early 2019.