Last January, Jessica Oberlin, Instructional Services Librarian at Lycoming College’s Snowden Library, coordinated the Created Equal Symposium, a series of film screenings and roundtable discussions designed to bring the community together and open conversations about equality. In concert with the spirit of the symposium, she created an interactive display to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The display asked students to respond to the prompt, “My dream for equality in the 21st century is…” Students wrote their responses on slips of paper, and then added their contribution to a large bulletin board, which was accompanied by a smaller display of some of King’s lesser-known quotations.
An anthropology professor and a criminal justice professor each brought their classes to the library so that their students could contribute to the bulletin board, which was on display in the library for that day only. A librarian met with each class to explain the Created Equal initiative and walk the students through contributing to the display. A representative from the student newspaper wrote an article covering the display, which made the first page of the student paper, providing good publicity for the library among the campus community.
While eye-catching, this display was very simple and inexpensive to put together. The idea could easily be adapted for other academic libraries, as well as public or school libraries. It presents an opportunity for patrons to anonymously and honestly express their wishes for their community. Creating an interactive display such as this is an easy way to promote Civic and Social Literacy while honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day.