There is no shortage of data to describe the work we do in libraries each year. The challenge is to use those numbers and statistics to paint a meaningful picture of our libraries’ values, missions, and goals, and how we work to accomplish them. Today’s post features a new academic librarian’s first attempt at making sense of data using a mashup of infographic styling and statistical charts.

Jess Burkhardt, Public Services Librarian at DeSales University’s Trexler Library created this design using Adobe Illustrator to share 2014-2015 library statistics with her campus community. Here’s Jess describing her design process:

This infographic was conceived in moment; my Director asked if I thought that students would find our annual statistics interesting in their current form on a library Libguide. “Sure, they might – if they find them at all,” I said, “but an infographic might go over better.”

And my infographic endeavors began. Though graphic design has my heart in a whole bunch of ways, I knew that there was a lot about design that I did not know. As I worked my way through an Adobe Illustrator course on Lynda.com I began considering what information to include and the design of the project. Graphical representation of our library proved difficult. I considered symbolizing each of our student workers, librarians, and databases, but each of my visualizations were unable to convey the extent of the information that we had collected. I drew many sketches on different sizes of paper and filled artboard after artboard with drawings in Illustrator just to find that my drawings of books looked exactly like Word art–a compliment that I did not readily accept.

This infographic went through many different phases. Images took a disproportionate amount of space, the message wavered between screechy and barely heard at all. After a lot of frustration and a looming deadline I decided to streamline what I had and came up with the final product. It is displayed throughout the Trexler Library, drew a lot of traffic to our Facebook page, and has been placed in our annual report.

This project excites me because it has introduced me to the world of Adobe Illustrator and Library Design Share. I’m excited to be joining your community and am already considering my next design project!

We’re excited to share Jess’ design. If you have any questions about it, you can contact her via email, or leave a comment below.

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