Academic library milestone event: what could it include?
June 17, 2015 1:16 PM   Subscribe

My friend works in a US university library. They are trying to design a major event, basically a milestone/anniversary, and are trying to come up with ideas. The "anniversary task force" have so far come up with a flash mob, but this seems perhaps a little 2013(?) and cliched. They are ideally looking for contemporary things that are not hugely expensive or difficult to organize, and have little risk of incident, hassle or legal problems. Bonus if they are things that can be recorded for posterity and used in future library publicity.
posted by Wordshore to Education (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Man if it were me.... I'd be tempted to do something bookish and, if this were an event that involved a lot of people, to give everyone like a bookplate or a thing and have 100 of them split out and put into library books "in recognition of 100 days of blabity bla" and then have this information put into the catalog and have the list be made available. So you'd have to customize it to suit the event, but this way everyone could take a part in it, the design and placement of the bookplates could be up to the staff, it would be a nice pleasant reminder of the event and all the work people put into it and it would have a lasting (though very small) impact. This even could all be done at some sort of evening "we're going to open the library when it's not open and give people a chance to come in and celebrate with us" event. Everyone gets a bookplate!

My small town library got some money and made a set of decade bookmarks talking about what was going on in the town and the library in the decade in question. They're very design-y and they've been available to give out since the anniversary (which was years ago) and they're a neat little reminder of the institution's staying power and evolution over time.

I like the idea of something that becomes part of the library (like catalog cards that are illustrated and used as a design element) appeals to me. Anything else unusual or noteworthy about the library? Is it a single building or does it have multiple branches?
posted by jessamyn at 1:26 PM on June 17, 2015

Would a memory book be too old-fashioned? Just a binder to collect people's stories, thoughts, or feelings about the library. Maybe have a tea during which the best entries are read. Then you can catalog it and put it on the shelf, or in a place of honor.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:51 PM on June 17, 2015

We have an annual "I Love the [university] Library!" contest every February, where we ask students to let us know why they love the library, and give prizes (gift certificates or movie theatre tickets, usually) to the top three. We get some straight prose replies, some poetry, and some art. We display all the entries in a showcase for a month or two, and post the winning entries on the library's blog along with photos of the winners. Our entries are done on paper cut into hearts, but I can see where you could use catalog cards, other sizes of paper, and put them online, bind them into a book, or mount them and display them somewhere.
posted by telophase at 2:03 PM on June 17, 2015

time capsule?
posted by Seboshin at 2:35 PM on June 17, 2015

How about an exhibit about the way things were back when whatever the event was happened? Something like "UniLibrary 1892 - A Look Back". You can pull lots of photos and documentation from the archives.
posted by MsMolly at 2:36 PM on June 17, 2015

And to tie in with that maybe have the staff work in period appropriate costume for the day? This obviously wouldn't work for every event, but I saw a Rare Book & Manuscript library do a really great event for Shakespeare's birthday that involved them all dressing up in rented Elizabethan costumes. It made for some great pictures for their Facebook page.
posted by MsMolly at 2:40 PM on June 17, 2015

Oooooh, good and smart answers so far. A few more details for context; the university was established in the early 1960s; single campus, though with a couple of off campus study sites (preserves); a little less than 10,000 students in total.
posted by Wordshore at 2:50 PM on June 17, 2015

Some sort of Instagram contest? Say a photo scavenger hunt of places on campus? Or perhaps selfies from around campus?
posted by cinemafiend at 3:01 PM on June 17, 2015

The St. Louis Public Library recently had its centennial and much to the delight of all the librarians and some of the public, a scrapbook from the 25 year anniversary was discovered. In it librarians documented the most popular books of that year, took pictures of the library staff's parties and talent show, and even did a photograph illustrated "what the library will be like in 25 years."

Of course, this document had to be recreated for the 100 year anniversary and they document the most popular books, did a re-enactment of the talent show, and predicted the next 25 years.

I've also worked at a mid-size academic library that celebrated the millionth book added, a display of most frequently lost/missing books, an annual top-ten reference question list, and my favorite, an art installation using all the recycled paper from unnecessary printing
posted by teleri025 at 3:05 PM on June 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

If the library offers lending privileges (and perhaps even if not) announce an amnesty for borrowed books that were never returned.

Don't announce this, but award a prize to the person who returns the book that's been missing for longest.
posted by holgate at 4:29 PM on June 17, 2015

Read-in and/or Read-a-thon.
posted by flug at 4:35 PM on June 17, 2015

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