The Johnson City Public Library is participating in Geek the Library, a community-based public awareness campaign. The campaign highlights what people are passionate about and how libraries can support them, in an effort to heighten awareness about the critical funding issues public libraries face. Geek the Library features local educational material that introduces “geek” as a verb, and encourages the public to talk about what they “geek”—whether it’s engineering, superheroes or art. The public awareness campaign illustrates the fact that everyone is passionate about something—everyone “geeks” something—and that the library supports them all.
One avenue of involvement encourages libraries to produce their own promotional materials. The program provides guidelines for posters, for example, to use black backgrounds, red and white letters in American Typewriter font, and individuals or small groups of people who geek whatever personally interests them.
As an employee of Johnson City Public Library, this campaign became an opportunity for me to create several dozen posters of staff, city employees, and community people sharing what they geek. It was an interesting experience, learning new things about the people I see and work with every day.
Our first batch of posters followed the template; however, we encouraged people, if they could, to bring props with them to include in their pictures. That turned out to be very interesting; one woman brought a bag of live snakes; a man who geeked J.R.R. Tolkien brought a very large and authentic-looking sword. I learned that including props helped participants relax and be engaged in their photos instead of being intimidated by studio strobes and that big camera.
Our next phase involved the City of Johnson City. Working with the city’s Community Relations department, we created a theme, “We Geek City Services.” The goal for the project was two-fold; one, to reinforce the original Geek the Library campaign, and two, provide a springboard for the city to put real faces on the people who work behind the scenes to make Johnson City a great place to live.
After a long day of shooting, I created the press ready file needed for Epic Displays to manufacture a ten by seven foot hop-up display. The display shows 26 interest areas relating to many jobs done by city employees. A hop-up display is really a fascinating piece of marketing and display equipment. The hop-up pictured at right folds down and stows into a carrying case 38 x 19 x 13 inches in size. It literally takes less than a minute to expand it to full display size.
It was a pleasure to undertake this large scale studio project to help Johnson City Public Library’s Geek the Library campaign.
To see the entire collection of posters I created, visit my Geek the Library gallery!