26 December 2011

Library Events for Black History Month 2012

The large format alcove display poster adds an interactive element,
asking viewers to participate by sharing their dream and what efforts
they may be taking to make their dream a reality.

It may be December, but in my design department it is already February. Black History Month promotions to be more concise. The Alachua County Library District puts great effort into planning as far as three to six months in advance for all of its scheduled events, so when work requests started coming in December for delivery of Black History Month promotional collaterals in January, I was a designer behind the eight ball. I hadn't had but scant moments to even think about more immediate projects that kept flowing in on a daily basis, let alone something as far away as two months. Fortunately, I had done some preliminary concept thinking way back in October, so I did have a general message I was interested to pursue.

So with renewed energy I began sourcing images, looking to find something fresh and new that didn't look or act too much like my previous year's Black History Month visual theme ( http://librarygraphicdesign.blogspot.com/2011/01/black-history-month-flyer.html ). That year's theme employed the use of a "history quilt." Many viewers of that display say they loved it and some even wanted to see it again, but I wouldn't have it. I find it boring to repeat the same solution twice in a row, and to me it also implies a certain lack of interest when we use the same visual solution over and over again. At least skip a year to use a previously used solution—preferably more—I say.

During my sourcing for images, some great creative commons shots of the Dr. Martin Luther King memorial in Washington, DC turned up that I thought had a wonderful bold, graphic quality to them. I liked the power of the simple image I selected and thought that because the memorial site had been recently opened during the past summer, this would be the most timely opportunity to use an image of the memorial.

The library's web site banner ad.
I began working with my largest publicity project, our 118x72 inch alcove display. It would require some combination of large format visual, a message to encourage viewer interactive participation, and an instrument to deliver that action. My earliest language concept was to communicate something beyond simply having "a dream" that the civil rights often referred to.

I was interested in how people have gone beyond the dream to make it a reality...or to challenge them into action by reminding them that while it's fine to dream, it takes action to get things done. Thus, I settled on the language of the headline: "Make the Dream Real" followed by the challenger subhead: "A Dream Worth Having is a Reality Worth Working On." Following behind the subhead were images of some key events and portraits of people who used action to move the dream forward.

Additional language could then be added to specific collaterals, such as the simple message on our TV public service announcement (PSA) to look for the library's Black History Month events listed on our website.

The TV public service announcement does a good job in providing
essential information for viewers to find out more about library
activities related to the celebration of Black History month.
For the alcove display, the interactive feature was to present a second headline inviting viewers to share with the library what their personal dream was and—if applicable—what actions they were taking to make their dream a reality. The vehicle for delivering that message was proposed to be a registry book they could use to write in, much like one would use to sign in as a guest to an event or a business. A book would also lend itself well as a honored place of permanence for their written record, as opposed to, say, Post-It notes.

Once an entry was entered into the registry book, it could then be shared both by allowing other visitors to read through the book pages, as well as online, where the same entries would be posted to update a blog on the conversation. The library's Facebook could also serve as a location to pose the same question and get replies that could also be assimilated into the blog report.

Black History Month collaterals included (and continue to evolve):

1 large format display poster
1 web banner ad
1 web site blog icon
1 TV public service ad (PSA)
1 lobby TV image ad
200 8.5x11 inch fliers that listed events and programs district-wide for all the branch libraries
X number of handbills for additional specific events certain to come!
1 youth services bookshelf A-frame topper
Front side of an 8.5x11 inch flyer that lists library district-wide events.

Back side of an 8.5x11 inch flyer that lists library district-wide events.

Library Newsletter: THINK... Winter 2012 Issue

The cover of the issue highlights the library's
accomplishment as one of the nation's top
public institutions for 2011.

The latest issue of the Alachua County Library District's newsletter and program guide, THINK...has made its way to the 12 library branches just in time for the first of the year. This issue focuses on the vast diversity of programs, services and public demographics it serves.

Production of a single 12 page issue takes six weeks, beginning with a planning meeting to suss out a common theme for the entire issue, then working through the stages of writing feature briefs, compiling and disseminating program event lists from all the branches, sourcing and styling photography and illustration, creating custom art, squeezing and massaging everything into place through thoughtful editing, and finally allowing the printer to work its magic to turn out 2,500 copies in a five day turn-around. Once the shipment arrives, it takes another day to separate and deliver a pre-determined quantity to each branch. It never ceases to amaze me how much work goes into "twelve little pages." The end result, hopefully, is a product that serves the community well and represents the library in an effective, positive manner.

I feel fortunate to have such a high quality communications vehicle such as our THINK... newsletter to produce. It is a prominent item that goes on display at every branch and has the potential to reach every visitor. Recently, the publication has also begun a pilot program to be delivered to non-library sites such as the chamber of commerce, the regional airport, and a variety of retirement/assisted living communities. If the additional audience appears to appreciate it and feedback is positive or additional library usage is generated from it, then we'll continue the effort and look at additional locations to offer it for public consumption.

Out of curiosity, I look to see what other libraries do for newsletters so that I can get a sense of their content, style and quality. Sadly, it appears few libraries have much more than office copier printouts or a website calendar. The few that do have what I would consider to be higher quality newsletters are extremely rare. A couple of libraries that do produce nicer newsletters include the Columbus, Ohio and Orlando public libraries. Kudos to those organizations, and if you are one of the people who happen to know of other libraries with newsletters to crow about, please let me know. I'd love to see them!

If you're not able to get a print version of this issue of THINK..., you can download a free .pdf from the library website here: http://www.aclib.us/your-library/blog/thinkdetails-national-medal-honor
The Library website news blog and publication download available for download at:
http://www.aclib.us/your-library/blog/thinkdetails-national-medal-honor .

Cone Park Library Branch Grand Opening

Front and back of the quarter page mailable invitation.

The library district opened a new branch library in November. Cone Park will service one of Gainesville's eastern neighborhood areas and will be open to all. The grand opening included a ribbon cutting ceremony, short speeches from a few notable city officials, and an open door to anyone wanting to step inside for a look.

The Cone Park branch location will be a permanent site with a permanent building planned to be built. In the interim, a temporary module building unit will serve as the library until construction will be completed in a few years.
A text heavy TV public service announcement (PSA)
for speed readers of the 20-second on-air spot.

For publicity, a grand opening theme was created to impart the dual purpose concept that building a library branch serves the community's desire to build their dreams. The imagery of a t-square and compass laying on an architect's blue print displays the drawing of an open book with a rainbow following the arch of the book's splayed out pages.

A web banner ad for the library website.
A variety of print and online publicity collaterals were created and printed in-house including:
400 quarter page handbills for delivery throughout the community
200 quarter page invitations
100 half page event programs
x 8.5x11 inch signs
x 11x17 inch signs
1 114x18 inch welcome banner
1 TV public service announcement image
1 web banner ad
1 imbedded press release image
1 blog icon
Library stacks end shelf design.

Aside from the publicity collaterals, bookshelf end panels were designed and printed out for use at the branch as well. A set of about 10 designs were submitted, then one was selected and used in the branch. All were printed out and delivered on the day before the opening--just in the nick of time.

Author Event: Cynthia Barnett

On January 9 local Gainesville author, Cynthia Barnett, will be discussing her latest book, Blue Revolution: Unmaking America's Water Crisis at Headquarters Library.

45x45 inch large format poster
The author provided two technically good images for use in promotional materials, including a respectable head shot of herself and cover art of her book. With these as the essential visuals, I developed a headline indicating the event specifics in a typographical style that complimented the styling of her book cover. I also selected two background images of water to further enhance the visual statement of the event.

The style was repurposed to use on the a variety of promotional materials:

1 45x45 large format display poster
1 8.5x14 inch display area author bio page
Display area author bio accompanies
the large format poster.
1 TV public service announcement (PSA)
1 web banner ad
1 3.25x5.25 black/white newspaper print ad

Quarter page handbills print
4-up to one 8.5x11 inch page.
The TV Public Service Announcement.

Where Is The Library Book Drop?

A simple graphic directs visitors of the library
around the corner to where the book drop is.
There are times when an arriving visitor wanting to return material to a library arrives during non-open hours. In these cases, it is good to have both library hours posted as well as information directing the visitor to the library book drop. Each of our branch libraries has a book drop, but not all of them are immediately noticeable from the front door. So in the case of one branch library, librarians had hand drawn a map on an 8.5x11 inch piece of paper to point out the location of their branch book drop which is on the side of their building.

After perhaps years of the map being taped to the inside of the front door, the paper sign had become sun faded, warped by condensation, and dog-eared around the edges. I noticed it during my visit to the branch and offered to draw them a new one. I believe I even laminated it to help protect it from moisture. 

The information is simple; the lettering and drawn lines are thick enough to be easily seen from a distance and through the potential glare of sun-reflecting glass. The information is straight forward; no embellishments are needed. Only one design was created, but now that it is archived in the computer, nobody will ever have to draw a new one again…unless they move the book drop!   

Science Online Display Poster

The 68x44 inch large format display poster.

A simple 3-step process fuses two
posters together to become one.
Our large 68x44 inch reference desk display bulletin board is the designated location for promoting our online database collections. We generally promote a different database each month. The display team coordinator lets me know which it will be and works to filter through all the marketing messaging to hone in on key points to promote on a large format poster that I develop and print in house using our Hewlett-Packard DesignJet800 printer.

The widest dimension the printer can print out is 36 inches, so at 44 inches deep, I must print out a top and bottom of the poster, then strip it together. The way I approach it is to find the best area on the poster image that will conceal the cut, if it is possible. As shown in the three production images, I will cut along edges of things to remove a portion of either the top or bottom print out. I will then match up the cut-away portion to the second print out, placing double sided clear tape where the two surfaces will join together. I don't try to pull a line of tape that runs a fully uninterrupted length of the poster. 

Instead, I pull short lengths of tape and allow small gaps between where I apply them. This helps in handling of the tape so application doesn't wrinkle or head off in a direction you don't want. It also helps in reducing extravagant materials consumption. Once the bottom side is taped, I lightly tack down an area of the top print out and lightly pull it into place over top the bottom print, then smooth it down when I'm satisfied that I'd matched up the two layers. What results is a single large format poster that has few imperfections to reveal it is actually two parts pieced together.

World Book Display Poster

A simple large format poster catches viewers attention with a
catchy question, then delivers the tools for getting the answers. 

Looking for something? Going to the library's World Book online database might be just the answer. Well, at least that's the message at least for this 68x44 inch reference desk large format display poster. 

A pair of domain free clip art binoculars imparts the idea of looking and a ray of light illuminates the headline and sample web pages. The headline question is simple and six bulleted topical subheads show what could provide answers. Three images of site specific web pages show patrons what to look for and how to recognize it when they get there. A website address is given in each of two short sentences under the headline, so the take-away is that viewers are well-armed with all the information they need to get started answering all those pressing questions they surely have!

Library Cleaning Poster

Through the use of a couple of strong visuals, font use and language,
  a simple informational sign can have greater impact and appeal.

Every month a different department in our Headquarters Library will volunteer to clean the staff break room. We have a schedule on the staff refrigerator that shows each department's rotation in this duty. With 12 different departments at Headquarters, it works out pretty well: we only have to get our hands dirty cleaning once a year in what can sometimes be an ugly experience. But to our staff's credit, we're a pretty tidy bunch of folks. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean there won't be plenty of spaghetti splatters all over the inside of the microwave from time to time.

Thus, the inspiration for this sign, indicated that it was MY department's turn to wipe down the break room. Typically, the signs most people from other departments make are simple text signs with a couple of tiny pieces of Microsoft Word or Publisher clip art dropped in as decoration. But not for me. I wanted to show something with greater visual impact.

I didn't have to go far into my files and on the internet to find a few messy eaters, a bib, and our logo to cobble together a simple and straight-forward visual message to let staff know to safe guard their refrigerator items from being thrown out before volunteers got there with rubber gloves and cleaning supplies. I copied a section of the boy's face and pasted it down onto the product shot of a clean bib, adjusted the lighting and colour, then copied and pasted additional selections of the mess and spread it around for even more coverage on the bib and face.

And for those who are prone to be exceptionally messy, I wanted to let them know that while we might clean up the mess, we wouldn't be cleaning up those who make it--no matter how much they might need it!

Library Movie Bookmarks

One 8.5x11 inch page accommodated five bookmarks.

Our High Springs library asked for 500 bookmarks to promote their Afternoon at the Movies series that happens every Thursday. So I gathered up a variety of different clip art images ranging from film reels, to cameras, to movie ticket stubs, then worked out a combination that worked well with the required language and printed them out, five to an 8.5x11 inch page, then trimmed to size, leaving a narrow white border around them, due to their irregular shape along the edges.

The ticket stub had been a different shape--stubbier, you might say--with the admit text displayed horizontally on different tickets, so I stretched it out from the middle enough to fill the width of the paper, which also enabled me to fill it with the required language. The background has a slight colour merge in it, and a muted red and olive green compliments the background colour to give the tickets a retro feel.

Angry Birds LIVE at the Library

Event handbills, produced 4-up to one 8.5x11 inch page.

Before I go any further, let me clarify for the record: we don't have any living, angry birds running or flying about in our library. Over at our High Springs Library branch on the other hand, it's another story. Apparently, they've got a lot of them over there. The reason why is because there's a competition going on with those Angry Birds.

Angry Birds is some kind of video game that is a popular download onto cell phones, and that's the extent of my knowledge of it. And yet, I knew enough to ask the librarian requesting promotional materials for it if she had any visuals to go with it. I mean, I'd want to see what them angry birds looked like too...wouldn't you?

So she sent me a link to the website of the company where they make all them birds angry. It provided a variety of screen shots for the different games they developed--among them, the Angry Birds game. I pulled off a couple of my favourite images and combined them together to create the quarter-page handbill my librarian wanted 100 copies of. 

Library Design Projects: Quality vs Quantity

I've been tardy in adding entries to the blog as of mid-November. It's not because I didn't have projects to show. No, on the contrary, I've been so busy that by the time I returned home and stopped my regular work on design projects there, little time or energy was left to write even one more dang thing about design. 

In the 36 work days since the beginning of November until 23 December, I've created 113 unique projects, some of which contain design variations within the same project. So if I'm doing my math right, that's just over three projects per day that I'm completing and shipping out of the department for the library district. I always do the best that I can within the parameters I have to work with, but that's real quantity-vs-quality stuff in my book. So when people requesting new work wonder why I start whining about how pressed for time I am, there's the big squeeze in numbers above for all you bean counters.

With my blogging tardiness in mind, I'll play a little catch-up on it by posting some of the more notable projects I've worked on for the library since my last entry on 16 November. I hope you'll find something you like!

25 December 2011

Lamenting Over My Laminator

Envision this: I'm in my design office looking out through floor-to-ceiling windows onto the back courtyard of the library. Bright red azalea flowers speckle hedges lining the edge of the building. It looks like springtime, but it is actually December. December in Florida. Ahhh...I think dreamily to myself, admiring the view and recalling what December in Nebraska and New York looked like for me back in the day. 

Next, my view panned into my office. What I saw inside immediately snuffed out any harmonious reflection I had about how beautiful the world was. Instead of being surrounded by beauty, I was surrounded by a menagerie of unsightly crap. Rolls of paper, card board boxes stacked up on one another, an out-of-order laminator that has become the bain of my existence, and facilities-owned step ladders rising up and into the ceiling where a water pipe had poured water down onto the drop ceiling, then onto a computer table and the floor, leaving a huge wet spot on the carpet. Ahhh...so much for harmony and beauty, I sighed. My office environment was in stark contrast to the beautiful azaleas and courtyard on the other side of the windows.

Because it is Christmas, let's use my office laminator as a parable for life for the modern day designer. Parables have been a favourite method of story telling for ages, so sit back and relax...clear your thoughts and let me tell you a little story about my life as a modern day designer.

Think back, if you will, to those glorious days in the 1950s when the boom of modern, space-age technology promised the average working American a more efficient, effortless way of life. Ah yes...automatic washing machines, toaster ovens, electric appliances of all mannereven cars with fins. Yes, those were the days when the sun looked its brightest as it crested the morning horizon, overlooking bottles of milk that were delivered fresh to your front door by the milk man.

Now, spin your time machine forward to present day. Here I am, looking at my design department's GBC Ultima 65 Laminator Canadian Model 4250. To me, it appears to have also been forged during that era of ultra modernity with a promise of easier days to come for anyone who need to laminate large sheets of paper. This machine—one that surely must have been the technological wonder of the industrial revolution—has now become the bain of my 21st century art room existence. When it works well, it is a dream to have laminated signs. But look out: when it suffers a jam, that promise of a sparkling workplace future comes to a complete halt—much in the same way that the paper and laminate film rolling through it does

Top: laminated paper get stuck going
around the rollers, melting in place.
Middle top: cutting/picking through
the laminated paper jam with an X-acto.
Middle bottom: The offending extraction.
Bottom: re-feeding a new paper into
the laminator.
There's no escaping the result of this when a jam occurs. Once it does, the rollers grind to a complete stop. They can't advance any further because of the adhesive wrap-around effect of the material trying to pass around a second time. Unfortunately, the rollers also can't reverse back out of the jam because while it's stuck in this position, the laminate is conveniently melting together and also fusing onto the hot roller surface. To compound the situation, there can be no work done to release the jam until the rollers have cooled down enough to touch, which can take around an hour of wait time. This means whatever project you were just working on will have to find another solution—like being reprinted and hung without laminating. Fortunately, this gummed-up situation rarely occurs when anything extremely important is needed on a tight deadline. I'm sure you believe me about that too...right?

So, how does one remove a jam from the Ultima Laminator? Basically you have to surgically remove it from the rollers. First, you detach and remove the metal feeding tray that you slide paper on top of as it approaches the rollers. Removing the tray will give you access to a lower lamination roller that feeds up and around the roller as it meets film coming from a second roller of lamination film positioned above the lower roller. Once the rollers have cooled sufficiently for you to touch, you must then carefully slice away the lamination-encased paper away from the rollers at an angle parallel to the surface of the roller in order to avoid cutting into the rubber rollers themselves. This is easier said than done, considering the lamination film has melted itself onto the surface of the roller. The process reminds me of trying to pull stickers off of recently purchased merchandise without tearing the stickers themselves. 

Just to put material costs into perspective, GBC—the company that makes the laminator machinesells two rolls of their 10 millimeter Nap-Lam II lamination film for over US$258.00 per roll. I find this insane, because third party companies buy GBC's film and then sell it to consumers for US$32 per roll. That's just for film. Can you imagine how much it would cost to replace a rubber-wrapped steel rolling pin from GBC? We have to call them to find out; they don't post the price on the internet.

Once you have delicately sliced your way between the melted laminated paper and the roller, you need to advance the roller a short distance so you can try to pull it up off the roller surface. But you can't do this unless you can advance the rollers. They don't freely spin; they are locked into position and need to be advanced by turning the machine back on and using the forward/backward buttons. To do that, however, makers of this laminator require you to reassemble the feeder tray back into its operational position, then close a plastic canopy over the rollers in order for the machine to work. This is crazy! This means every time you need to advance the roller an inch or two, you need to take apart the machine, slice along the lamination film/paper jam, reassemble the machine, and turn it on for a mere second or less to advance the roller, then disassemble the machine to slice through the next segment of material melted onto the roller. Believe me, this is a tremendous waste of time...and designer talent!

In October I encountered such a scenario. A paper jam occurred. After a couple hours, I managed to clear the jam and put the machine back together. The offending project went on without being laminated before I could complete the machine maintenance. A couple weeks later, another jam occurred, and because of the other many design projects I had active deadlines on, I had to let the jam wait until I could get back to ita couple of weeks later. After clearing that jam, the very next project I pressed into it also jammed. This time, I was so disgusted with the entire situation that I just let it all stay gummed up until I had enough down-time to spend playing repairman again. More weeks passed.

In the meantime, a librarian called to ask if I could produce a sign and laminate it. I had to say that my laminator was out-of-commission. He replied that we could send the project over to one of our other branches that had the same kind of laminator. What? Really? This was the first time I knew we had a second laminator at our disposal. I was happy to create and print the sign, then ship it over to the other branch to request they do the lamination and forward the finished piece on to the requesting librarian. Crisis averted. But in the meantime, my laminator remained in need of attention.

I wondered if perhaps projects were wrapping themselves around the rollers more frequently because of tiny flecks of heated lamination film remaining on the rollers after cutting away earlier jams. These flecks, still stuck to the rollers might possibly be attaching themselves to the new layers of film coming through the rollers as projects were being run through the machine. I decided the best way to find out and ensure that this wasn't the problem was to wipe down the rollers with bestine/turpentine fluid to completely remove the flecks from the rollers. In all, it took three hours to pick away all the layers of emulsified paper and laminator film, then rub the clean rollers down with bestine. Not looking forward to encountering the next jam, I still have yet to thread a new length of film into the machine.

15 November 2011

Where the Wild Things Are…in the Library!

Since August our library has been developing and rolling out publicity materials to promote a series of events related to an exhibit currently on display at our Headquarters Library. The exhibit—courtesy of a variety of organizers and sponsors—is entitled In A Nutshell: The Worlds of Maurice Sendak. It will be traveling the nation and stopping at our library to be on display from November 2 through December 16. The Alachua County Library District Headquarters is the only Florida library to host this exhibit.

The American Library Association (ALA) provided a sponsor logos and Sendak illustration images, as well as a highly detailed 11 page instructional manual that, among other things, provided exacting language for how to credit any and all images when used. Additionally, as per the grant agreement for which funding made the exhibit possible, copies of all promotional materials used were to be mailed to the ALA for their records and appreciation as well.

In addition to the exhibit, a variety of related Sendak and/or his book Where the Wild Things Are spin-off events would take place at different branches throughout the Library District. Events included:

• An exhibit opening ceremony event featuring speaker John Cech—an author, Director of the Center for Children's Literature and Culture, and Professor of Children's Literature. Cech will speak about Sendak's influences on children's literature.

• An exhibit closing event entitled “The Immigrant Life & Maurice Sendak,” featuring Dr. Ruth Lowery, professor in the College of Education and expert on immigrant literature, who will discuss the experience of immigrants and how it is reflected in literary works for children.

• A children's storytime puppet show by the Headquarters Puppeteers in their adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book Where the Wild Things Are, which will include both human and fabricated characters.

• Sendak related Pre-School Storytimes in three different branches for children.

• Children's film events in two branches showing the movie Where the Wild Things Are.

• A maskmaking event for children.

• A Wild Wear for the Rumpus event for children.

• A Wild Rumpus Party for children.

• And a Wild Things Build a Boat event for children.

To promote the full complement of these events, the design department utilized almost every possible marketing tool it had available. Here's the volumous line-up:

175x quarter-page exhibit invitations
3 different black/white and colour print ads in local publications
3x 11x17 inch signs for the exhibit
2x 8.5x11 inch signs for the exhibit
50x 5.5x8 inch exhibit informational handbills
1x 45x45 inch large format display exhibit poster
1x 30x30 inch large format display puppet show poster
2x 23x34 inch large format display puppet show posters
2x 11x17 inch puppet show posters
1x website banner for exhibit opening event
1x website banner for exhibit closing event
1x website banner for puppet show
1x blog icon
1x e-mail blast image
1x public service announcement (PSA) for the opening event
1x public service announcement (PSA) for the closing event
1x article in the Library quarterly newsletter, THINK...
Listing of each event in the program directory section of THINK...

A selection of the many promotional collaterals used to publicize
the Sendak exhibit and associated events.
 Additional publicity was generated by individual library branch event coordinators and the public relations and marketing director, including online event listings, library branch displays, and press releases. Even I'm not aware of the full scope of publicity that may have occurred outside of my own department, but as you can see, promotional saturation was considerable.

Cutting out scanned, printed, then foam core board mounted book characters
for placing into a youth services diorama display box. 
Another interesting promotional feature was created by Headquarters Youth Services librarians. They built and installed a scenic diorama into what we refer to as a "peep box"—a 3x3x2 foot wooden cabinet that has holes cut out of the front cabinet doors so people can see inside the box. Librarians scanned images from the book Where The Wild Things Are, then fabricated a diorama scene inside the cabinet. While they worked on pasting up images for a backdrop and creating free-standing trees out of cut paper and old cardboard tubes, I cut out scanned images of the book's characters that had been spray mounted onto foam core board so they could be suspended from the cabinet's interior ceiling into their diorama positions. The result was a nifty peep box scene for anyone willing to get down on their hands and knees to look through the cabinet door holes.

How timely: a Wild Things gift card!
In two unrelated yet ironically semi-related events, additional Where The Wild Things Are happenings occurred for me personally. In October, my sister sent me a Barnes & Nobel bookstore gift card that displayed an images of Where The Wild Things Are scenes—and she had no idea that I had even been working on promoting the Sendak library events!

Another event occurred one morning when I arrived at work and immediately spotted a large spider poised on the wall directly above my computer. With a leg span almost the size of the palm of my hand, I first thought it might be a faux plastic or rubber spider left over from a recent library Halloween display—put there as a practical joke to spook me. I stood up on my chair and cautiously leaned in to take a good, long look at it until I finally decided that it was definitely no rubber toy, then hurried to find something I could capture it in before it scampered off to unknown regions only to find its way onto me when I least expected.

With no empty container in the art room, I eventually found myself down the hall in the employee break room where I located an large, empty plastic Tupperware™ bowl and lid. I hurried back, hoping the spider would still be where I last saw it. I was happy to find that it was, so I carefully covered the spider with the bowl (with a sigh of relief, I might add), then slid the lid in between the wall and bowl until the spider was inside. I took it outside to a creek behind the library where I released it back "into the Wild." All this—but not before I could chronicle the event just for you! (see photos). And oh yes…not to worry: I didn't forget to wash that person's Tupperware™ before I put it back in the break room. Shhh...they'll never know!

All things considered, it just goes to show that there's all kinds of Wild Things in the library!

02 November 2011

Library Monthly Event Signs, November 2011

November event posters utilized a variety of layouts based on the same theme.
It's autumn again, and also time for another set of monthly event listing signs for the ACLD branch libraries. I typically begin working about two to three weeks in advance of when I want to get these signs to the libraries. I pull event listing text from the library website calender and repurpose it for the printed signs. Along the way, text is edited and styled, clip art and/or public domain photography is used for visuals, then proofs are sent out to branch and program managers to review for correctness. A couple rounds of edits are allowed, then once approved, printed out and sent via our Library courier team to each branch that uses the event listing signs (three of the 11 currently do not due to lack of events or a preference to create their own). 

The entire production process is pretty smooth, albeit a little time consuming. The end result, however, produces a common styling throughout the library district when seen (with exception to one non-compliant branch that creates its own).