Exhibit vs. Display

As evinced by my numerous blog posts, I’m continually interested in book exhibits, both physical and digital. I spent the summer trying to come up with a great exhibit idea for August to follow my Closed Stacks exhibit. What I ended up with, idea-wise, was really more of a display. While my past exhibits have been about specific ideas or featured delicate materials (and, thus, were suited to the closed-case “exhibit” environment), my August idea was to collect and present the strangest books our library has to offer. It started with a book called Access All Areas, by an author named “Ninjalicious.” I work at an academic agriculture/biology library, so this was certainly more intriguing than the titles I normally see. I began to suspect that we had numerous strange and interesting titles and that our patrons were just as blissfully unaware of them as I was. So I set the student workers on a mission: to go about their normal duties, all the while searching for titles to add to my “weird books list.”

I ended up with dozens of titles by August and I realized that I wanted people to check these books out. Exhibits are always about exposing your patrons to new information and resources so that they will be intrigued and want to learn more. But the nature of our exhibit case is pretty limiting for actual circulation – the books are locked away under glass. So I set out to, instead, craft a display that would be eye-catching and would hopefully drive patrons to actually check out all of the books I had found. Inspired by a few examples I found online, I decided my display needed to have layers:

Those "layers" were created by wrapping up spare boxes in white wrapping paper. But they totally do the trick and look super neutral/classy! Also, notice that United States of Pie got the prime placement!
Those “layers” were created by wrapping up spare boxes in white wrapping paper. But they totally do the trick and look super neutral/classy! Also, notice that United States of Pie got the prime placement!

I also decided it made sense to group the books into categories: “Close Encounters with Nature,” “GuaranTEAd Cures & Herbs,” “Answers to Life’s Most Perplexing Questions,” and “Weird Eats & Bizarre Foods.” Responses so far have been pretty positive and I can’t wait until the semester starts shortly and the library is once more full of patrons.

Once I put up the library display, I had to figure out how to complete the online component (as I hate to leave the “digital exhibits” area of our main website empty or outdated). I decided that instead of the SlideShare exhibit presentation style I have adopted for my exhibits, a simple Pinterest board would work fabulously as a display for the various weird and wacky book covers.

And here it is (click through to see the entire board):

board
So lovely! Perfect for digital book displays!

Overall, I’m very pleased with the way both displays turned out. Now to figure out whether my next project is more “exhibit” or “display”… Stay tuned!

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