Thing 9: Visual communicator

Visual communication plays an important part in my role at the library. As we know from book illustrators, images can bring words to life. I try make sure that most of my work – be that library displays, social media posts, presentations, stock management and promotion – has a strong visual element. Our users are bombarded with words every day (on their phone, at work, in shops, in the street) and more often than not, it’s an interesting image that will stop people in their tracks. 90 percent of all information sent to our brain is visual, and visual data is processed by our brain 60 thousand times faster than text.

As I said in my blog post for Thing 3, I’ve been using Pixabay for a while now. It’s a great resource, not just for library staff but for it’s users too. Quite often I’ll see patrons using pixelated, skewed, poor quality images for their homework/college work/poster etc. Using a dedicated image resource like Pixabay would fix that problem. In future I plan on showing patrons Pixabay as an alternative to trawling through Google images (with the risk of using copyrighted images). It may also be beneficial to deliver a tutorial for our users on using image banks and explaining attribution – perhaps I could combine two of the ‘Visual Communicator’ things and do a screencast for our website! I used my blog post for Thing 3 as an opportunity to practice image attribution, something I will continue in my library going forward when producing in-house publicity, to demonstrate attribution best practice to colleagues and library users.

Thing 7  was not my favourite ‘thing’ so far. I opted for a WordPress exhibition, since that’s the platform I use for blogging. I experimented with the Portfolios feature but found it frustratingly unintuitive, to the point where I gave up on that idea. I ended up just using the gallery feature within a blog post to display my exhibition of old photographs. I linked each photo to it’s corresponding record on our dedicated images website. This method worked fine for the simple grid gallery that I had in mind. In future I would be more inclined to use my own service’s website for an online exhibition, as I’ve done previously. If I was working on a big library project I would consider hosting an online exhibition on a blogging platform such as WordPress, using the entire website for the project, rather than the Portfolio feature.

I enjoyed Thing 8 as I’m a big fan of infographics – they can communicate so much using so little. I’ve been using Canva for about a year, it’s a brilliant resource for creating quick, customisable and really attractive graphics for displays, publicity and social media posts. I played around with the infographics templates and found a cool retro-style one that I could customise to promote my library’s gaming facilities. It was very simple to edit every part of the graphic, and I could upload and insert my library’s branding very easily. Going forward, I’m going to use infographics on a regular basis to promote my library’s services, collections, and value. It’s important that we share our data with our stakeholders, and infographics are a great way of presenting data in an eye-catching and easily digestible way.

I’ve learned about some valuable resources in this Visual Communicator section, all of which I’ll continue to experiment with!

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