Reuse, Recycle, Share

I usually just browse American Libraries magazine. A lot of what’s in there isn’t always relevant for me, but sometimes there are things of note. In the January/February issue, Meredith Farkas wrote a piece called “Reuse, Recycle, Share.” She writes, “We spend a lot of energy trying to create things from scratch when, frequently, another library may have already done something very similar.” As the only full-time faculty librarian on duty at my campus during the daytime, I definitely don’t have the time to come up with fantastic new ideas or create refined tools, so I am always looking for things like instructional videos or handouts college libraries have made and licensed through Creative Commons. (It took me a long time to realize that borrowing ideas didn’t mean I wasn’t creative; see Brain Pickings’ post, “Austin Kleon on 10 Things Every Creative Person Should Remember But We Often Forget.”) One of my favorite librarian groups that is generous with their ideas and templates is ACRL’s Library Marketing and Outreach interest group.

Earlier this summer, outreach librarian Stacy Taylor posted a great display she did with emojis. It is the perfect addition to my new display idea, Major Idea. Last semester, I weeded four shelves worth of reference items that were outdated, so it created a little, slightly awkward opening for display space. I needed it to more purposeful, so I came up with an idea that will highlight a topic/subject that relates to a major/degree the college offers (how about Renaissance art featuring this image, some books, print outs of some e-book covers, a database recommendation, and maybe some info on art history majors nearby…?) I will have to test it out, but I had planned to kick off with psychology, so how perfect would emoji books be as a fun addition? The old, naive me would have re-created this idea from scratch, but the starting-on-my-third year me asked if she had some kind of ready-made document, and Stacy kindly sent me her titles and emojis via Google Docs, and I downloaded that puppy. I am so grateful for the time Stacy’s document will be saving me!

My thought is that we will be switching out the Major Idea area every two weeks, but I will be asking for help from the student workers, staff, and the two part-time evening librarians to take a turn, so that we all get to be creative, contribute, and learn more about our resources while researching ideas, books, and databases. I also wrote some preliminary guidelines, which include promoting an e-book or two and subject databases, as well as an explanation about the purpose, and that asking for help is perfectly okay. I realize not everyone is as comfortable with displays as I am, but I definitely need more help to get things rolling now. I will be kicking off as an example, which is sort of not the best since I want people to feel free in their creativity, but I am the only one who will be around before school starts to get that part of the Library ready.

As I write, I’m looking at my monthly display calendar, and it’s a little overwhelming, but with help from fellow library staff and librarian friends sharing fantastic ideas, we can make it happen together.

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