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As the solo librarian at Clemson University’s Gunnin Architecture Library (gate count last year: 71,000), I have the luxury of programming the most high-profile lighted display wall in an active, multi-disciplinary academic building. Over the past year, I have transformed this opportunity into a ‘bully pulpit,’ serving up the big, wide world beyond South Carolina to a mostly homegrown student body. Instead of curriculum-based exhibits, I engage faculty, colleagues, friends, and students in collaborating to stage extra-curricular ‘provocations’: interdisciplinary displays that use library materials to showcase social and political currents, issues, and global cultures.

Example exhibit titles:

Art for political action and social justice: “When you believe art can change the world…”

Gritty cities: Urban landscapes, urban lives

“Can you see me now?” Witness to the world’s displaced persons

Threads in Common: Celebrating textile cultures

In addition to promoting the displays across campus, I disseminate the bibliographies to other Humanities programs and instructors according to theme and content. Themed displays have proven to be an excellent collection development ‘provocation’ as well, enabling me to identify and fill gaps in the library’s collections.


Presented at: Art Libraries Society of North American 47th annual conference, Salt Lake City. March 27, 2019.