Documenting Your Display

October 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Speaking of Homecoming, over the weekend I went to my alma mater for Homecoming.  Of course I had to visit the library.  I got a chance to check out their displays and I was pretty impressed.  They had display areas spread throughout the library.  They used them to highlight their Special Collections, student activities, and library events to name a few.

The other cool thing about Musselman Library’s displays were that they are all archived on their website: http://www.gettysburg.edu/library/news/exhibits/  Not just current displays, but past ones as well.  I think this is a great idea, and it was fun for me to go back through a lot of past displays and see them in digital format as well.

Even if you don’t post your display pictures online, it’s a great idea to archive photographs of past displays for yourself.  I take pictures of all of the displays I put up, so that I have a record of what displays we’ve done.  That way I can go back and remind myself of past ideas.  If I have to put up similar displays annually (Constitution Day, Welcoming new students, etc.) I can see what I’ve done before and try to make them a little different from last year, so it doesn’t get too boring.  Photographs allow me to have a record of the books showcased in those displays, without writing all of the titles down.  We post pictures of our current displays on our Facebook page as a way to share with our campus community.  Another time I’ve used photographs of our displays is to share with other librarians what we’ve been doing.  I love seeing pictures of other libraries’ displays because it gives me ideas of displays to do in my own library.

Eastern Bible Institute

October 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

Our library holds the college’s archival collection.  Today I put up a display on Eastern Bible Institute, which was the name of our college before it moved to its current campus.

Inspiration:  Since this weekend is Homecoming, I wanted to create a display that would be interesting to our returning alumni.

Item Selection:  I went through our small archival display and pulled out some photographs and documents that dealt with life on the EBI campus.  I based my choices on variety and interest. 

Creating the Actual Display:  I used a cloth from my display supplies to line the bottom of the display.  I also used some acrylic sign holders that I placed underneath the cloth to prop some of the items up.  Usually I create captions for archival displays, but in this case, the documents and photographs were either pretty self-explanatory or we didn’t have any additional information to include.  This made the display very quick to create.

Cost for the Entire Display:  Although this is a new case, this display did not cost anything.  Everything I used we already had in our display supplies or in the archives.

Since the archival displays usually take longer to create and attract the interest of visitors, not just students, I usually leave archival displays up for quite a while.

Gothic Literature

October 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

In honor of Halloween, the newest display at our library is highlighting Gothic Literature.

Inspiration:  The idea came from Halloween decorations, commercials, and seeing vampires and monsters all over.  I am reading Dracula this month, and realized that I could highlight quite a few spooky tales in our collection.

Book Selection:  I made myself a list of all of the Gothic Literature I could think of – Dracula, Frankenstein, anything by Edgar Allen Poe, The Woman in White, etc.  I also Googled some lists of Gothic fiction, getting more titles, and realizing that the genre was quite broad and could encompass anything from Dracula to Jane Eyre.  I even decided to include some stories that have some gothic elements to them, like The Hound of the Baskervilles, without directly falling into the Gothic category.  While our library does not have a large fiction section (being that we are an academic library), we do have quite a bit of classic literature, and many of these titles fell into this category.  Some we had multiple copies of, so I tried to pull the most interesting covers, for interest and (since many were the Penguin classics) variety.  Here is a list of the titles I’m using in the display:

  • Call of Cthulhu
  • Castle of Otranto
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • Dracula
  • Faust
  • Frankenstein
  • Hound of the Baskervilles
  • House of the Seven Gables
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • Jane Eyre
  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
  • Northanger Abbey
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • Ten Great Mysteries by Edgar Allen Poe
  • Turn of the Screw
  • The Woman in White
  • Wuthering Heights
  • The Yellow Wallpaper

Creating the Actual Display:  I wanted to showcase as many of the books as I could.  I like to have some sort of title to the display so that people can see at a quick glance what it is about.  I also added in the castle and the moon for the gothic atmosphere.  The graduated steps the books are sitting on top of are actually created with a few stacks of withdrawn books from our free cart (we give the books away when we deaccession them from our collection).  When the display is over, I’ll just put them back on the cart.

Cost for the Entire Display:  Just the cost of the cloth for the table.  I didn’t get a typical “spooky” print fabric for the cloth since I want to be able to use it again, not necessarily around Halloween.  Plain fabrics rather than printed fabrics have greater re-use value.

Let’s talk library displays

October 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

Many librarians who have the responsibility of creating displays for their libraries consider themselves “stuck with” the responsibility or it is an afterthought compared with their other duties.  They can’t spend a lot of time or money on them, and they struggle with coming up with ideas for topics without resorting to the same seasonal topics each year. 

While browsing the internet for any blog that would cover library display ideas, I would always come up with ones aimed towards public or school libraries that are aimed at children or teenagers.  While some are great displays, they don’t always translate well to the academic environment.  On the other hand, many larger academic libraries can afford to do more professional traveling displays, or exhibits featuring their extensive archival collections.  While these are beautiful, they can be hard for smaller libraries with fewer resources to duplicate.  Plus, whenever you are creating a display, you want to tailor it to your audience, your students, faculty and staff. 

That’s where this blog comes in.  I’d like to create a place where people creating displays for small academic libraries can go for inspiration.  It will be a place to share ideas, pictures, and tips.  I’m going to be posting some of my displays, perhaps ones I see in other libraries, or if other librarians would like to send pictures of some of their displays to me.  I’ll post on other topics relating to displays, such as budgeting for displays, where you can find good materials to use, or how to incorporate your display into other library events or services.  If you have any ideas or suggestions, please feel free to leave me comments.  I’d be interested in what others’ concerns and issues include.

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