A new library exhibit featured in The Jerry and Bruce Chappell Family Gallery explains the work of DUL’s Collections Services division. What makes this exhibit unique is the intangible nature of most of the work done by Collections Services employees. But even though the behind-the-scenes work often cannot be seen or touched, it is crucial to the operations of the library and the services offered to patrons. The exhibit, titled, “The Library Uncovered: Behind the Scenes with Collections Services,” creatively meets the challenge of conveying all that is done to make sure patrons can find what they’re looking for in the library, whether it is a book on a shelf, an academic journal article online, or a streaming video.
The exhibit team worked hard to show the processes that take place every day to cycle resources through the libraries’ collections. Exploring the exhibit gives viewers a sense of the routine operations of the division through various display cases highlighting some of the materials that move through Collections Services on their way to library shelves, as well as an animated overview of the complex processes required to deliver the millions of items in the library catalog.
From the exhibit’s conception, the team grappled with how to represent Collections Services’ work that doesn’t neatly fit into an exhibit case. How can we convey manipulating the metadata of millions of library records? What items can we display that represent the countless hours of budget planning that go into creating and maintaining collections? Like most exhibits, The Library Uncovered just scratches the surface of the complexities of Collections Services. But it does serve as great starting point for sharing the often overlooked and always vital work that goes into keeping the library up and running.
The exhibit opened on Jan 10, with a small celebration and opening remarks from Joe Salem and Dracine Hodges. We invite you to visit the exhibit before it closes on Jun. 4, 2023. More information can be found here.