Erin Dorney

Blogging life & librarianship

Posts Tagged ‘design

How to improve your visual aids for presentations

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public speaking project

One of the things I love about my job is making connections. Sometimes it’s a connection between individuals and the information they need. Sometimes it’s a connection between two people who can help each other. Sometimes it’s a connection between a person and a unique opportunity. Recently, I was able to connect a two colleagues: a librarian from Mansfield University and a professor at Millersville University. The result was a chapter on visual aids for Public Speaking: The Virtual Text, a free online public speaking textbook.

I love this project—Creative Commons-licensed, well-written by authoritative speech professionals, an alternative for FAR too expensive communications textbooks. Really, what’s not to like?!

Anyone with an upcoming presentation who is considering using visual aids (Midwinter, ALA, and ACRL librarians, I’m looking at you) should take a moment to check out Chapter 13: Visual Aids. Sheila has great advice on:

  1. Identifying when and how visual aids will enhance a presentation
  2. Identifying the different types of visual aids
  3. Identifying effective and ineffective use of visual aids
  4. Applying basic design principles to slide design
  5. Identifying best practices to incorporating visual aids in a presentation

I’ll be keeping these tips in mind when I work on my upcoming presentations—no more crappy slide decks! Seriously, give it a read. You can download each chapter as a PDF in color or grayscale. Share this resource with anyone interested in public speaking!

Written by Erin Dorney

January 21, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Student Learning Commons at Lancaster Bible College

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A few weeks ago I had the chance to visit the Charles & Gloria Jones Library, located in the Student Learning Commons at Lancaster Bible College. They just built a new facility and used the same vendor we’re using for our library renovation, so we were interested in seeing some of the furniture in action. It’s a truly amazing space—definitely recommend checking it out if you’re in the area. Despite my people-less photos, the library was packed with students the whole time we were walking through. Thanks to Lancaster Bible College for the tour and to Supply Source for lunch!

Row (left / right)

  1. Great use of curves to create unique spaces / High-tech collaboration station
  2. Out of the box room sign / Out of the box interior space for fun & inspiration
  3. Recycled pallet book displays! / Donor wall with modified card catalog & vinyl decals
  4. Clear signage (be still my heart) / The little details (basket) = all kinds of yes
  5. Items for sale in open stacks / Projected images on the wall behind the research help desk

LBC curved windowLBC collaboration stationLBC out of the box room

LBC red roomLBC palletsLBC donor wall

LBC signageLBC details

LBC sale itemsLBC help desk

Written by Erin Dorney

October 12, 2012 at 8:31 AM

Tales from the trade show floor: NeoCon East

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On Wednesday I had the chance to attend NeoCon East, the “Premier Design Exposition for Commercial Interiors on the East Coast” in Baltimore, MD. I had fun checking out options for the library renovation, seeing design-y things, and experiencing my first non-library exhibit hall. Below are some observations and a few of my favorite things.

Library exhibit hall vs. design expo

  • There were definitely more men at NeoCon than I’ve seen at ALA/library conferences. The age demographic there seemed to skew younger as well (although I’m not awesome at guessing ages). Most booths had both male and female representatives available to talk to customers and walk them through the floor.
  • I almost hesitate to say this because I don’t want to offend anyone, but the NeoCon attendees were dressed a lot nicer than people I have seen at ALA/library conferences. I am generalizing here (on both sides) but I picked up on it right away. Maybe the designers/design students at NeoCon are more concerned with their visual aesthetic than librarians. There were also a hell of a lot more women in stilettos and other fancy shoes. Lots of suits. Lots of black.
  • At four PM, free booze magically appeared. Everywhere! I saw a keg on the exhibit hall floor and multiple tables of bottled beer and wine. I got carded (what the what!) when I grabbed a glass. It was pretty cool – once people started drinking, everyone was sitting in the different pieces of furniture talking and hanging out. It was almost like the “sales pitch” was over and everyone was just having a good time. You could really tell which seating options worked for social atmospheres – those were the ones people gravitated towards.
  • The NeoCon swag was pretty similar to ALA/library conferences. Lots of exhibitors had freebies – tote bags galore, stress balls, plastic watches, iPad covers, pens, candy, lip balm, etc. I didn’t see as many crazed people running around collecting ten of everything. People seemed a bit more reserved. That said, the one giveaway I really did want (a sweet canvas Herman Miller bag) ran out before I could get one. Luckily, our HM rep is awesome and is going to mail me one!

These are a few of my favorite things

Integra Bay Chair
Integra Bay Chair – My colleagues and I loved this seating option. It comes in 4 different seat widths and the tablet arm holds 300 pounds (their promo materials show someone standing on it!). You can add upholstered or wood arms, but I enjoyed the armless version. It’s fairly easy to push around and the cup holder feature is nice because it doesn’t eat up your limited tablet space (plus, you won’t accidentally knock your coffee over onto your laptop). I also really like the contrasting fabrics in this floor model. The pattern and solid combination seems to highlight the shape and accentuate the curves in this more fluid/free-form chair. I can see us incorporating some of these throughout our new library to offer a diversity of seating options for students. Maybe in bright accent colors?

Kimball Fit ChairErin in Kimball Fit Chair - this is love, people

Kimball Fit – Oh. My. Last week I was reviewing the furniture drawings for my workspace in the new library and our furniture supplier showed me the Kimball Fit “sling lounge” as a potential option (we also looked at the Herman Miller Tato, Tatino, Tatone and the Fatboy original beanbag). I’m looking for some fun pieces to use in my co-working space for creative group brainstorming sessions with library student employees/staff. I was really looking forward to testing a Fit at NeoCon and was getting bummed out as we walked through and didn’t see any. Then, at the same time, my colleague Greg and I spotted three of them. We pointed, looked at each other with glee, and headed over to test them out. You can probably tell from the huge smile on my face – I loved it! It was awkward sitting down the first time because you’re not quite sure it will hold you, but the material is stretchy and supportive. It feels almost like you are settling back into a hammock, really fun. Lightweight, can nest together for storage, and as we were leaving, we even saw two people sitting in one together! They do have a larger footprint, but I certainly think I could squeeze one of these into my new workspace!

Leland Ebb BenchLeland Brit Bench

Leland International – This was a really fun booth and I saw two of my favorite pieces there, the Ebb Bench (hollow) and the Brit Bench (blue). You can use connectors for both of them to hook up multiple pieces in different shapes, but I honestly liked them both as single, standalone pieces. The Ebb bench is very minimalist and modern. It would be great for hallways and the representative said they have done some in airports (although then they have to cap the ends). You can get it entirely upholstered, in wood veneer, or in wood veneer with upholstered “pads” (my fav). I was thinking this would work well in the new juvenile/curriculum center section, although we might have an issue with small children trying to climb inside. The Brit bench was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I think it would be perfect for the library entryway, where we are putting in a media wall with digital signage and inspirational quotes. This type of sculptural bench doesn’t lend itself to long waits, which is fine because it will be somewhat drafty in the entryway. At the same time, it provides a perfect spot to rest with your bags to meet someone before heading into the library. I love the three “prongs” too, it gives the bench a more social feel because you’re facing someone else any way you sit on it.

izzy+ Dewey 6-Top Table

izzy+ Dewey 6-Top Table – I mean, it’s a whiteboard-topped table, what more can I say? Awesome.

I took a bunch of other photos at the show which you can see on my Flickr page. Leave a comment here or there and let me know which items you love, hate, could envision in libraries. Have any of you been to a trade show/exhibit floor beyond library conferences? Did you enjoy it? What was different and what was similar?

* A big thanks to Supply Source for inviting us to and escorting us around NeoCon!*

Written by Erin Dorney

November 5, 2011 at 11:04 PM

“There’s the silver lining I’ve been looking for”

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Real Life:

  • 3-8 inches of snow predicted for tomorrow.
  • A Very She & Him Christmas.
  • Jack Frost Tea (African Red Bush, Vanilla, Peppermint & Spearmint).
  • Ventriloquism zine by Prathna Lor, courtesy of meg woog via Portland, OR.
  • Evening agenda includes baking an apple pie & writing an essay about my personal library. Rock.

Work Life:

  • Massive technology outage on campus killed our library website, which has both positives and negatives. Get excited.
  • Got to work with our awesome reps from Supply Source on the design for the Outreach Team Work Space for the new library & am attending my first “design expo” next week with them – NeoCon East. ::swoon:: Check back for pics of sweet furniture!
  • Invigorating conference call with co-presenters/facilitators for our LJ/Temple Future of the Academic Library Symposium panel discussion.
  • Invited to do a session for students on how to be wise with social media for the Office of Experiential Learning & Career Management.

What are you looking forward to?

Written by Erin Dorney

October 28, 2011 at 6:07 PM

Posted in Libraries, Life

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Some blog updates.

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I’m not quite sure if anyone reads this outside of RSS feed readers, so I wanted to point out a few slight changes to my blog. Within the navigation bar I have combined my About and Contact Me sections. I figured that information could pretty much all fall under About. I also got rid of my Coursework section because I felt like it wasn’t really adding anything to my digital presence here. I will continue to discuss my courses at West Chester on an as-needed basis, but I don’t feel the need to list them all out.

The larger change is that I got rid of all of my links from the sidebar. For some reason, I have never been pleased with that setup. Instead, I created a new page called Blogs I ❤ located along the top navigation bar. I am going to post my favorite blogs there with brief commentary (I am hesitant to call it a “review” because I know my comments will be subjective). I think this is ultimately a better way to share the blogs I enjoy reading and let people know why. Maybe it will encourage readers to check out these new blogs and add them to their RSS feed – at least more-so than a simple link to the site.

What else… oh, a small thing – I added some additional pieces of library-related design work to my Flickr account, so you can preview those in my sidebar widget as well. Just some random things from the past year or so.

So, what do you think? Are there any other changes you would like to see? I just realized that I have never done any “usability” testing on this site… so if you are encountering any problems, let me know. I can work on tweaking it.

Written by Erin Dorney

August 14, 2010 at 12:30 PM

Inspiration Pad Giveaway!

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inspiration pad
Inspiration seems to hit me at the most random times, including in the shower, when I’m driving long distances, and in the middle of the night. Lately, a lot of it has been coming from the Internet as well. As I see other creative endeavors I am inspired to reconnect with passions and projects that have been pushed to the wayside for various reasons. For example, just today I was introduced to 750 Words by my friend
Leigh Anne. I plan to join and do one of their challenges this fall. Some of my other favorite sites for this kind of inspiration are:

And of course, all of my friends who have websites/blogs/tumblr accounts etc. to keep me on my toes.

To thank you all for the constant flow of of awesomeness, I am doing a giveaway! A few weeks ago I came across the Inspiration Pad. This thing is seriously the bee’s knees. While any item with the word “pad” reminds me of sanitary napkins (sorry, I had to go there, it’s true!), I obviously had to purchase a couple. One for me and one is for a lucky blog commenter! That’s right, all you have to do is leave a comment below regarding something that inspires you and a winner will be chosen at random on Saturday morning (using the true random number service). Then I’ll mail the lucky winner their new notepad and you can inspire the people sitting next to you in your boring committee meeting. Kitten not included.


Written by Erin Dorney

August 3, 2010 at 10:40 PM

Library Day in the Life: Tuesday

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Round five of the Library Day in the Life Project with a little different format. Here’s a list of some projects I worked on today:

  • Finalized a press release about the $34,000 LSTA grant that Millersville University/Dickinson College have received to work on the Slavery & Abolition in the US digital collection.
  • Revised the FAQ copy I was working on yesterday for the library renovation website and sent it on for more proofreading by colleagues.
  • Put together the first draft of our poster for Library Fest (based on the tutorial I found yesterday and inspired by the music of The Zolas, a new band I am SO loving!). The poster is below but it’s likely to go through at least one more iteration before I’m satisfied. Also, I purposely didn’t use color (too expensive to print in house) because I’m planning to print it out on colored paper.
  • Met with a colleague to plan how we will use the grant money we received from the MU Theme Committee ($2,000). We’ll be purchasing electronic materials in support of the main university lectures and will be putting together subject guides for the website to pulling new and existing information together for students/faculty/community members who want to do research in those topic areas. I’m excited!
  • Completed a new wellness profile for the next phase of our health care plan thingy. I need to work on stress, nutrition, and physical activity (no surprises there!).
  • Browsed the SAGE website because I had a contributing author credit for an article I wrote for the Green Consumerism collection. I cashed in for Tessa Muncey’s Creating Autoethnographies and Peter Corrigan’s The Dressed Society: Clothing, the Body and Some Meanings of the World.
  • Spent an hour and a half at the reference desk. It was very slow (2 questions) so I also read and took notes on Terry Eagleton’s concluding chapter in Literary Theory: An Introduction for class tomorrow.
  • Spent two hours weeding the 791’s (film, theater, a massive number of creepy puppetry books).

Written by Erin Dorney

July 27, 2010 at 5:43 PM