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Librarian Design Share

inspiration for library creatives

Month

April 2019

Simplifying Support Services

Occasionally in my eagerness to let someone know about a resource or service, I provide way too much information. I go above and beyond what that person asked about because I want them to feel like they know all of their options. Sound familiar?

More often than not, this tendency to provide as much information as possible is also apparent in my designs. I find myself revisiting my creations periodically in an effort to pare down and streamline the information included. In my time as a librarian, I’ve learned that I am not alone in this experience.

Stephanie Warden at the Jim Dan Hill Library at the University of Wisconsin, Superior sent us a design for mental health resources that strips away the noise and provides users with the most pertinent info.

Flyer with 5 speech bubbles that have mental health resource info in each bubble

Here’s what Stephanie had to say about her design:

While our institution offers flyers advertising support for student mental health services, we found that the material was a little too text-dense and left out resources available to our community patrons. Using services gathered by the rest of the staff I put together this 8.5 x 11 flyer that we have placed strategically throughout the library.

Stephanie used Canva to create her design. And like other librarians we’ve talked to about Canva, she had good things to say about the process. When we asked why she chose to use Canva over other tools, she told us:

The free version of Canva has an amazing number of options available, especially if you aren’t afraid to get in there and experiment with colors and features. That it also allows us to upload our own pictures and pictures from other appropriate sources really makes it a favorite of mine. It also doesn’t hurt that I can peruse their library for inspiration when I find myself stumped.

Thanks for your submission Stephanie!

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Check Out These Audio Books

I am a huge fan of audio books.  I listen to them in my car constantly.  I don’t need any encouragement to try another.  However if I did need encouragement, I would certainly stop by this display by Katrina Spencer at Middlebury College’s Davis Family Library.

audiobooks display.PNG

Katrina says,

 In the fall of 2018, I launched an effort to diversify my library’s audio book collection hosted by OverDrive. Previously, it almost exclusively featured white authors. However, it wasn’t enough to place works by authors of color on our platform. We needed additional types of diversity to be represented; users needed to know that dozens of new acquisitions had just been made; and a culture of their use needed to be developed. So, I initiated a multi-platform campaign to inform patrons on how to use the technology and to inform them of our wares. In a display set up in a high traffic zone adjacent to the Research Desk, about 15 “book dummies” or wooden blocks were covered with book cover art to display new titles in our collection. I used two mannequins, dressed in popular attire, to represent students who might use the audio books, and I dressed them in popular clothing, adorning their ears with headphones. Along the border of the display, handouts were made available with 5-step instructions on how to use the audio books. What was most effective in making this display a success was when I staffed the desk and personally invited passersby to take a handout.

The display isn’t the only thing that Katrina created:

In a continued effort to promote use of our audio book collection, I developed two slides that would be in rotation on a television screen at the Circulation Desk, another high traffic zone. The slides include book cover art for two works in our audio book collection, Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay by Phoebe Robinson and Less by Andrew Sean Green. These titles were intentionally selected not only because they display beautiful cover art, but also because they represent at least two genders and at least two races, a small and simultaneously significant nod to the diversity of audio book users to whom I was marketing the collection. Beside the images are step-by-step instructions for how to use the audio book platform and images of headphones and smartphones, modern technologies that reinforce that the promoted materials are mobile and for listening. While the corresponding, physical display for audio books was taken down after about a month so as to reclaim the Research Desk’s space, the slides can remain in rotation indefinitely.

pp.PNG

These displays are engaging, clear, and informative – and I love the personal touch to encourage people to listen.  Katrina made the flyer for the display in Adobe Illustrator and the digital display in Power Point.  Both are available on the Librarian Design Share under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.  Thank you for sharing, Katrina!

Read the Text

This semester has been a blur – instead of regularly posting on LDS (my apologies!), I’ve been writing, teaching, and rushing through a website user experience assessment.  We’re updating our website and need some student feedback and fast!  After completing the IRB application, I jumped on outreach in order to draw student attention, which resulted in the following poster – I love the alignment of text, emphasis, and the fact that it came together so quickly.

web ux.PNG

I used Adobe Illustrator to alter the spacing between lines of text (leading) and between characters (kerning) in order to make the text easier to read and attractive to view.  Muhlenberg College students enjoyed the opportunity and a few days later we had the feedback we needed!

As always, the original file is shared on the Librarian Design Share google drive under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

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