a space in which i put my two cents into the world of librarianship.
Part of my experience within the libraries I’ve worked for is in partnering with different programs, students and interns to create educational exhibits. I can recall how each thought that the process was simple, but quickly learned that it can take several weeks to construct one. Whether I’m working with a professor and their class over an entire semester, or simply teaching a handful of students from a program; I have had the wonderful opportunity to establish my own systematic approach to producing an exhibit. It seems like a lot at first, but with practice it becomes easier or others are welcome to adapt it to their own needs.
The logical first step is in picking a topic. This can be done in several ways; for example, surveying students to find out what interests them, looking at current issues, asking programs what their needs and focuses are. It’s not a bad idea to also look at common observances for filler exhibits; such as, Women’s History Month, African American History Month or Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
After a subject is selected I typically divide the efforts here with the majority of the energy being placed in locating information resources for the exhibit. For sources, we typically look at what government sites have compiled information wise or reach out to the experts; for instance, university research specialists, Library of Congress information professionals or museum experts. This is helpful as it may uncover search terms or hidden facts that we had not previously known. Once we have gathered our information we synthesize our research and condense the information to be as brief and accurate as possible, which can take a lot of time and editing.
Even as we are locating, producing and editing our content for the exhibit, I simultaneously attempt to discover inspiration for the overall layout and design. One of my favorite places to search for brilliance is a site called Designspiration and I recommend it highly. I normally take about 2-3 ideas and combine them for my design, considering layout, color and text. There are other useful tools published by Piktochart and Canva that I keep on hand, this layout cheat sheet:
And also this complimentary font document showing the font names (which can be downloaded free at FontSquirrel) and then an example of use. (Due to upload limitations, the file is broken into 4 parts.)
There are other components to consider for the exhibit, mainly interactive factors. Things I like to ask the group working with me is if there are:
I keep my color scheme simple and it goes a long way, limiting my colors to 2-4 colors. I make another recommendation here to use Adobe Color CC for an easy palette with options for analogous, monochromatic, triad, complementary, compound or shades of colors. This is helpful in creating contrast within the exhibit such as a light background and darker text to increase visibility, but keep in mind your images need to stand out too and not blend into your palette.
Images for your exhibit are tough to find, but it can be done! If you find images that are under copyright be sure to get permission to use them. There are lots of free sources for high quality images: Flickr Creative Commons, New York Public Library Digital Collections, Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons for some examples.
After your exhibit is done, I strongly recommend at least 2 full reviews by someone other than yourself and allowing yourself about a week for printing. When you are ready to hang your exhibit, I advise that purchasing some reusable banner/poster rails (Displays2Go) which come in a variety of sizes and finishes.
Marketing the event is usually done right after I submit the project to the printer, using our established marketing and outreach plan and selecting from the created matrix which marketing options I would like. During the marketing of our Fighting Zika exhibit and panel discussion, the recommendation came that our exhibits should have an online presence, which at the time we were able to setup a live webcast of the panel. I have been working with an intern for nearly a year on creating an archive for my current library to help visualize the outreach and partnerships using the open source program Omeka. We are hoping to launch this project sometime during the Fall of 2016.
After several years of direct library experience I wanted to create a space to provide my two cents on librarianship, chronicle my lessons learned and share some insight.
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
This series focuses on making the reader question what is good and what is evil, can you do evil in the name of good or can doing good be evil? When a good and bad girl get swapped in their schools for becoming a princess and becoming a villain, things start being put to question really fast all in the pursuit of their "ever after". The best part is the weaving of classic fairy tale characters into this epic trilogy, they fit into the story perfectly and added a whole other level of questioning right and wrong ethics.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
This dark trilogy weaves European history into a fantastic story of a small town kids self realization and acceptance. It has a fast pace with lots of action and I appreciated that the darker side of this story was not sugar coated, it had me on edge the whole time!
Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
Prepare to have your imagination blown away by this immeasurably creative adventure where magic is based on color, but what happens when a girl is born with no color? This story deals with being a complete outcast of society, being ridiculed and finding ones own self worth. I seriously hope there is another book coming by this author as imaginative doesn't even contain the world that Mafi created in this story.
Soulless by Gail Carriger
Another good author friend of mine, Gail never fails to impress with her writings. She comes from a humble background in archaeology and with her strong female lead character Alexia she writes a supernatural steampunk story that is sure to captivate as Alexia struggles to find her way in a society that just doesn't want to make room for her or her strange powers.
Nightmares! by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller
It is hard to put this series down for sure, the story focuses on a young child dealing with loss, depression and of course his worst Nightmares! This series is an easy read, but it really captures the perspective of how a child deals with these issues. It is a brave series to say the least.
Geist by Philippa Ballantine
A friend of mine, Pip writes a strong female character in this fantasy series that puts her character Sorcha smack dab in the middle of the worlds of the living and the dead. A series that was difficult to put down, but also one that I with there were more of. It is difficult to find a fantasy so well written and empowering of a lead female character. I love Pip's ability to capture all of this.
The Diabolical Miss Hyde: An Electric Empire Novel by Viola Carr
Ok, seriously, things could not get more exciting with this steampunk story about the famous Dr. Jekyll's daughter Dr. Eliza Jekyll and her investigation of the "the Chopper" murderer. Carr crafted a fast paced thriller that twists the ending so much...well you'll have to read it yourself to find out!
A Study in Silks (The Baskerville Affair) by Emma Jane Holloway
Evelina Cooper, she is the niece of Sherlock Holmes. This is a steampunk masterpiece that has just about everything: magic, machines, secrets, crazy action, and all the thrills one expects when love and fear come crashing together. Emma Jane impresses me with this series beyond measure.
Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Series) by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
A re-imagined Edwardian Era England is the perfect place to set this steampunk series that revolves around the strong willed Agent Eliza Braun, I adore her. She is partnered with the meek yet intelligent librarian, Agent Wellington Books (go librarians) in an adventure that rivals that of James Bond.
The Keepers: The Box and the Dragonfly by Ted Sanders
This is truly an amazing work of writing. I feel that is on par with Harry Potter, but mixed with science! Sanders creates an eccentric and mysterious world and plot embedded in our everyday real world. I felt a constant pull at questioning the motives of the characters...high recommendations for this book and worth every word!
The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands
Set in the 17th century era of King Charles II, it has a unique sense of curiosity. Kevin Sands tackles integrating chemistry concepts in a fun, appealing and explosive way. The story mixes elements of friendship, parental love, religion and growing up to create a concoction that is truly rewarding. I have yet to start the second book in the series, but I am definitely hungry to read where Sands writes Christopher next.
The Thickety by J.A. White
A witch-hunt in the world of children with magic balanced as the problem and solution. J.A. White authored an amazing fairy tale, three previous books, filled with intense emotion. I have been anxiously anticipating the final book for nearly a year and I devoured its pages with my eyes. The story follows a brother and sister as victims of a witch-hunt that turns into a mistake that could end the world.
The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer
I am only on book two of this six book series. Fast paced adventure that does not leave the emotions behind, combine this with the rich retelling of some of everyone's favorite fairy tales and you have a golden egg of a series. Set in two worlds, the fairy tale world and the modern day world, the story follows twins Alex and Connor on quite an adventure in both worlds.