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.

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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!

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

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