Just the Highlights

Flyers & Advertisements, General Handouts & Brochures

Library informational handouts and brochures–the kind we give away at orientations, fairs, and workshops–can easily suffer from the classic librarian pitfall: TOO MUCH INFORMATION. Striking the right balance between needed information and visual interest is a challenge. Lindsay Davis, librarian at the Los Banos Campus Library at Merced College has created informational flyers for students and faculty that touch on all the library “highlights,” those crucial services and bits of information that will make the most impact with library users.

Los Banos Info Flyer (for Students)

Flyer for Students

Here’s Lindsay discussing her design:

This is the beginning of my third academic year as the Los Banos Campus Librarian of Merced College, a community college located in California’s Central Valley. When I give an instructional session, I usually give out a handout that covers basic library information printed in black and white on muted yellow card stock (we only have a few color options through duplication services). I also have them available in the Library and in select spots around campus, such as with the academic counselors and at the Student Services office.This year, I decided that since I don’t really do many handouts anyway, printing in color wouldn’t be so terrible after all. However, the old handout, which I did through Microsoft Publisher, needed to be jazzed up for color printing.

I started from a pre-made layout in Canva and customized it by uploading free vector icons and license-free images. I normally don’t pay for special elements in Canva, but there were a couple of elements I really wanted. They are only $1 each, and, in all, the handout cost just $2 to get it to look the way I wanted it. The handout is double-sided, and I ordered half-sheet sized copies on white card stock.

I also made a matching handout for our faculty. Including me, there are about 65 full-time and part-time faculty members on our campus, so it’s not too much of an expense to print nice handouts for the group. Because I used a few more of Canva’s design elements than in the student version, this design was $4. I ordered full-sized prints on white card stock for the faculty version and put them in all of the faculty mailboxes. I actually got a nice email from a math professor about the new handout. She even put it on her office door!

Los Banos Info Flyer (for Faculty)

Flyer for Faculty

She’s done a wonderful job using Canva to create an information flyer template that can be easily modified for different audiences and events. The PDF versions of these flyers are available in the Librarian Design Share Google Drive.

Visualizing the ACRL Framework for Students

Displays, Infographics, Informational

We can’t really call the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education new anymore, but lots of us still need help in understanding what it all means.  And if we librarians need help, imagine how our students are feeling about the whole thing! The librarians at the Ellen Clarke Bertrand Library at Bucknell University are working to make this easier on all of us with a series of posters about each frame.



Jill Hallam-Miller, Blended Learning Librarian, explains:

Over the summer, Nancy Frazier, Instructional Services Librarian, invited Ben Hoover, Evening Library Services Specialist, and [myself], to collaborate with her on the design of a series of posters related to the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. Our goal in designing the posters was to make the Framework accessible to students by creating visually attractive posters that would get students thinking about information literacy concepts. Today, the posters decorate the walls of our Library Lab, an instruction classroom that moonlights as a group study room.

We knew that we wanted to minimize the amount of text on each poster, but coming up with a design was challenging until Ben suggested that the posters should look like infographics. Although we experimented with creating the posters using free infographics software, concerns about our limited ownership and our inability to share the original files with colleagues outside our institution pushed us in a new direction. We ultimately decided to create our own design using PowerPoint.

When we began the project, we all agreed that Creative Commons licensing for reuse and modification was a top priority. Each of the posters contains a CC-BY-NC-SA license. To make them accessible outside Bucknell, we uploaded the poster files to a LibGuide, which we’ve shared through various listservs, as well as through Twitter and Facebook. The LibGuide has the additional benefit of offering a way for us to use selected posters within other subject and course guides, or as an entire set.

Each eye-catching, easy-to-digest PowerPoint poster is downloadable on the right side of Bucknell’s Libguide (and what an awesome LibGuide it is!).

Teaching Handouts Need Love Too

Instructional Materials

Very early in my library teaching career, I created a lot of handouts. Lots. Oodles. Bunches. Boatloads. I think it was kind of a security blanket: If I don’t teach everyone everything they could ever need to know then at least they will have this handout to guide them from now until eternity!

More often than not, my handouts ended up in the recycling bin.

I rarely create them now, but every once in a while, a professor will ask for a takeaway for her/his students, so I’ll whip up a quick black-and-white handout. This tends to happen more often in Psychology, whose professors use a lot of PowerPoint to teach and often give students copies of their slides. The students are quite used to having papers/files of documents that they can refer to later.

The problem: I want my instructional handouts to look cute, but I want them easily reproduced (and readable) on a black and white printer.

The solution: A few graphic elements, an interesting but readable font, and thoughtful alignment in a Microsoft Word doc.

Here’s an example of a handout I created for an Intro to Psychology class, which I distributed at the end of a class on primary and secondary literature in the discipline.

It’s by no means perfect, but it’s a nice takeaway for students who maybe didn’t get into the class activity or learn better when they read. I’ve posted the original on the Librarian Design Share Google Drive for you to adapt.

Because Photoshop Isn’t Always the Answer

Flyers & Advertisements, Infographics

My love of Adobe Photoshop is well known at Librarian Design Share, as is April’s excitement over Microsoft Publisher. We all have our favorite design programs, and everyone from Canva-devotees to Illustrator users can agree that once you find software that works for you, it’s easy to stick with it. But sometimes it’s a nice change of pace to try a new design tool.

Today’s submission from Stephanie Espinoza, eLearning Librarian at the College of Southern Nevada, makes me think I haven’t been using PowerPoint to its full advantage. She’s used the standard Microsoft computing software to create everything from infographics to advertisements for her library.

CSN Library Poster

Here’s Stephanie discussing her designs:

While a slideshow software like Microsoft PowerPoint is not designed specifically for graphic arts, the familiarity of its features makes it easy to create a quick flyer and then convert it to a PDF for printing, e-mailing, or posting online. For our infographic, I set up a custom size slide in PowerPoint to create the elongated page.  After that, I added graphs using PowerPoint’s Insert Chart feature that allows for placing and editing data through Microsoft Excel. Free clipart and photos already taken at the library were included and given artistic effects to make the infographic more visual as well.  The therapy dog ad was also created in PowerPoint using photos I took at last semester’s event. Our community college library is always looking for creative ways to share our information, so we utilize any resource we can!

CSN Library Infographic

To learn more about Stephanie’s creative use of PowerPoint, send her an email.

Changes on the Way


changes coming soon

It finally feels like autumn in Southern Maryland–a huge change from the summer heat–so this feels like a particularly appropriate post. When April and I started Librarian Design Share in 2012 we weren’t sure how people would respond. Like many things, it sounded like a great idea in our heads, but we wondered if other people would find it useful. Over 120 posts, thousands of visitors, and 3 years later, we like to think we’ve created a space where people working in libraries feel comfortable sharing, commenting and adapting library-related designs. We’re so thankful for your submissions, your shout-outs, and the all-around great vibes you bring to the site.

We want to keep Librarian Design Share going strong for another 3 years (at least!), and to do so, we’d love to keep featuring amazing reader-contributed designs. The past few years have meant some professional changes for the two of us, and we now find ourselves in positions that leave us with less time for graphic design and require more of our efforts in other areas. You’ll likely see fewer designs created by April and me featured on Librarian Design Share, BUT we are always interested in receiving YOUR SUBMISSIONS. We have so much to learn from you and hope that we can help others learn from you as well.

Other changes on the horizon include a redesign of the site’s template that we hope will make designs easier to browse and locate. If you visit us in the next few weeks or so you’re likely to encounter some web wonkiness (yes, that is a technical term), but hang tight, it’s all a part of the redesign.

If you’d like to learn more about the creation of the site, you can read our recently published article in The Journal of Library Administration. We’re quite proud of it and hope it can be useful to others interested in graphic design and libraries (if you’d like a pre-pub authors copy of the article, just let us know).

Thanks for being such fantastic readers and contributors!

–Veronica & April

Navigating the Stacks

Library Signage

It’s that time of year y’all. We’re desperately holding on to our summers when we know that in just a few weeks we’ll be deep in orientations, classes, workshops, and meetings. The important thing is that we’re not there YET and we still have some time to get in some great design projects, like today’s submission.

Dan Vinson, Coordinator of User Services and Library Assessment at Mount Mary University recently created some simple, easy-to-read, and attractive signs for the Haggerty Library & Learning Commons stacks. They’ve totally inspired me to start a similar project at my own library.

Here’s Dan discussing his designs:

I have used Easel.ly to create many infographics to showcase library survey results. It’s free and easy to use. You can upload objects or images. You can download your creations as PDFs, and it’s easy to edit, save, and download again! Our small academic library has been trying to make the stacks easier to navigate over the past couple of years. I created a collection guide and map (which is also posted in the library itself) last year using a Lucid Chart free trial and then we wanted Dewey Decimal explanation signs more tailored to our unique majors, such as Fashion, Art Therapy, and Occupational Therapy. I tried Photoshop with a couple of free Dewey series I found, but realized I needed Illustrator or InDesign to do what I really wanted. No time for that, so I turned once again to Easel.ly! All icons are free and from Iconfinder. Free’s the word!

If you’re interested in learning more about Dan’s designs, or seeing the complete series, you can send him a friendly email.

Happy 142nd Birthday!


Sometimes things get too serious in the library, and summer is just the time to lighten it up and reconnect with patrons.  To accomplish this, we decided to throw a party, but not just any party, a 142nd birthday party for our institution’s founder…and our patrons were the guests of honor.

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Hand-lettered and drawn board created by librarian Maianh Phi

We ran with the idea of a traditional birthday party.  We created an eye-catching invitation in the library by using a large whiteboard.  We ordered a cake and made and bought birthday supplies from the party store.  We manipulated a photo of Monroe Dunaway Anderson with Publisher to make the image and invitation you see below, and then saved the Publisher document as a picture to send as an Outlook email invitation to our “super users” (super users are patrons who have attended more than two of our events or classes, or people who are frequently visit or check out books).  The idea of the party caught on and was even publicized on our employee homepage.

mda bday invitation2

Because we were celebrating someone from the past, we added an historic element to the party by displaying photographs and artifacts (you can see these in pictures below), and we placed a festive hat on the bust of the birthday boy. We also made cake toppers with Monroe Dunaway’s head on them, which were really popular with guests.  We made these simply with Avery labels and Microsoft Word’s label function.  We printed the labels and stuck them to toothpicks.

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We had a great turnout–at least 200 people came through the Library to celebrate with us! Lots of guests mentioned that they felt like VIPs getting invitations from us. Pictures are below…and we’ve learned from this experience that next time we need to hire a photographer!  Not only were our photos mostly blurry, but we forgot to take pictures once people actually arrived!


If you are interested in any of the things we created here, just let me know.  Happy birthday, MD Anderson!




Spotted at ALA: Recovering the Classics


Despite United Airlines’ best efforts to keep me taxing on the runway, I’m home from ALA with some great designs to share.

Recovering the Classics Project - DescriptionIf any of you were lucky enough to stop by the Moscone Center West on Sunday afternoon, you would have run into the Recovering the Classics display in the open space outside the meeting room area. A collaboration between The Creative Action Network, Harvard Book Store, and Plympton’s DailyLitRecovering the Classics is “a crowdsourced collection of original covers for great works in the public domain.” The Creative Action Network is now working with the New York Public Library and the Digital Public Library of America to bring these covers to ebooks in libraries and schools nationwide.

Gulliver's Travels - Recovering the Classics Project
I’m sharing a few photos of some of my favorite covers on display, but please note, these covers are not CC-licensed to be adapted. Artists maintain copyright for their illustrations and you can purchase prints of your favorite covers through the Creative Action Network (use discount code BEA4LIFE for 10% off your order).

Frankenstein - Recovering the Classics Project

The best part? Anyone can contribute a design! I know how talented our readers are, and would encourage those of you interested in this project to submit your designs to the Creative Action Network.

Jude the Obscure - Recovering the Classics Project

Share Your Pride Month Book Display

Pride Month - Balloon Rainbow of Awesome

Photo by Michael Ruiz on Flickr

Have you created a fantastic Pride Month display for your library? Yes. Yes, you have. I’ve already seen a few on Facebook and elsewhere online, and we want to feature them here, on Librarian Design Share!

If you’d like to share your Pride display with your colleagues, send a few photos along with the usual info to librariandesignshare@gmail.com. We can’t wait to see what you’ve designed!

That Librarian with the Beard

Flyers & Advertisements

That Librarian with the Beard

We might be surprised by what stands out to our patrons or students about our respective libraries. Sometimes it’s a spot in the building with just the right amount of sunlight and privacy for studying; sometimes it’s a Facebook post that makes them smile; and sometimes it’s just a friendly librarian with an epic beard.

Stacy Taylor, Emerging Technologies Librarian at Adams State University’s Nielson Library, took an aspect (well, person, really) of the library that made a positive impression on students and used it to market the library’s ability to help students. It’s genius, really. Here’s Stacy’s take on this outreach effort:

Our Learning and Engagement Librarian has a very impressive beard and I noticed that students were asking for that guy with the beard or the librarian with the beard. So I created a “That Librarian with the Beard” marketing campaign and put a series of flyers with different questions all over campus. I plan to continue it this fall with questions new students frequently ask, like “Does the library have my textbook?” or “What time does the library close?” The best part is that about 2 weeks after the posters went up a student walked into his office and asked if he was the guy with the beard who could help fix her Word document.

I love the idea of taking common student questions (and perhaps some not so common ones) and using them to encourage students to meet with librarians. I can even see using this approach independent of the bearded librarian meme (although it’s so so much fun).

That Guy with the Beard flyer collection

Details on font choices (because we live for that kind of thing): The questions and hashtag font is Elegant Typewriter, which is used for all Nielson Library marketing materials and branding. The “That Librarian with the Beard” font is Franchise.

You can download and remix (don’t forget to attribute!) the Photoshop PDF files of Stacy’s design from the Librarian Design Share Google Drive flyer folder or contact Stacy directly for details on this brilliant marketing campaign.