Sunday, May 10, 2015

Artsy Projects at the EPA-RTP Library

Needless to say, this year has been a busy one. There has been plenty that I could have written about before now, but there was simply not enough time to justify composing anything written that wasn’t an assignment. For the past nine months I have been working as a graduate library intern at the Environmental Protection Agency at Research Triangle Park. I wanted to quickly share a few semi-artsy projects I have completed while working out at RTP.

Currently I am working on creating a series of posters to highlight quotes from library patrons that demonstrate the quality of our services. Initially I worked in Illustrator to create a few potential designs, but they ended up being a bit too whimsical for a scientific research library. Ultimately I ended up using Microsoft Publisher to compose these posters because I do not have access to Adobe Creative Suite at the reference desk. While this did not allow me the freedom I am used to having in making art, I still had fun with shapes and colors. The potential design for the posters consists of a multicolored QRcode with other colored squares added to balance and abstract this design. The quotes from patrons emphasize the importance of the library to the work of researchers at the EPA and the skill and efficiency of the library’s staff. I have made different variations of the basic design in four different colors. Included below are examples.

QR Code posters

Initial Illustrator poster

At the very beginning of my time at the EPA I worked with Lisa Becksford, one of my fellow EPA-SILS interns, on brainstorming ideas to replace the old library logo. Part of the fun was simply looking through other library logos to see what was possible. Our old logo, like many library logos, was very book centric. While I still feel that books are at the core of library services, I do recognize that there is a lot more to libraries than books (I am technically an IS major even if I seem to overlook this half the time…). In the end none of our designs got selected, but it was a fun project that gave us the chance to experiment. Below are a couple examples of my sketches. 

Our branch of the EPA focuses on air pollution - hence the cloud theme here

I'll be continuing to work at the EPA Library over the summer and for the remainder of my time as a graduate student at UNC. For the summer I will be working in both the reference and serials rotations and this fall I am slotted to be the cataloging intern. I am looking forward to it and hope I can sneak in a few more fun yet useful art projects along the way.