If we could visually communicate the love that librarians have for infographics, I think it would look a little something like this. I’m not sure when our love affair with icons and color-matching data began, but this visual expression of data and information is now a part of our librarian sphere. Whether we’re using infographics to teach students about information evaluation, or developing our own to share LibQual results, library impact or assessment findings, this method of conveying information is quite compelling.
But creating good infographics takes time. You want them to tell a story, to build from one bit of information to the next until the people reading them get a complete sense of the narrative you’ve created. You can certainly put your knowledge of MS Publisher, Adobe Photoshop, InDesign or Illustrator to work and create your own infographic. Or you can take advantage of infographic creation sites like PiktoChart or Easel.ly. We’ve written about these easy-to-use graphic generator sites before, but I think as more librarians are compelled to share data and information visually, these image-creation sites are going to find a place in our day-to-day work toolkit.
Robin Featherstone is an embedded research health librarian for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta. Her infographic was presented at the 2014 Canadian Health Libraries Association (CHLA) Annual Conference in Montreal. In it, Robin describes two different projects used to promote research through social media. It was created using Piktochart and is an excellent example of the use of infographic presentation to convey project results.
Carina Gonzalez, Library Media Specialist at Lawrence High School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey has also opted to use an infographic (created using Easel.ly) to share information about weeding with her school community. We all know that sparks can fly when non-librarians hear about weeding projects, so creating an easy-to-understand visual representation of the process is a great way to communicate the weeding process.
Here’s Carina in her own words:
This infographic, made with excerpts from CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries by Jeanette Larson, helps students and teachers garner a basic understanding of how a librarian chooses what to weed and what to keep. It specifically outlines the acronym M-U-S-T-I-E providing a concise introduction to weeding without overwhelming the reader with too much information. As librarians, we need the input of our school community on what we should or shouldn’t weed, and this infographic will inform others so they can give us the information we need to make the right decision.