Sacramento Public Library

Library role models

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Many of us grew up seeing READ posters in schools and libraries. The American Library Association started producing them in 1985, and they’ve featured celebrities ranging from Bill Cosby to Bill Gates. The idea is that if your role model thinks reading is cool, you may too.
But Librarian Geoff Rohde had an epiphany last year when he saw a READ poster on display that seemed a little out of date.
“I love the Backstreet Boys, but…” Rohde said.
The ALA has continued creating READ posters, of course, many featuring more current celebrities such as Keira Knightley and Seth Meyers. But that didn’t stop Rohde from thinking about the “many creative people” who work at the Sacramento Public Library.
Soon, our new line of READ posters featuring library staff was born. Rhode and Librarian Marc Pezzell produced a list of people they thought would make good models for the project.
The pair teamed up with Laura Koivunen, the Library’s Addy Award-winning visual communications specialist, who shot all the photos in the Central Library’s green screen room. This allowed her to add in backgrounds—such as the kitchen in the Joy of Cooking poster—using Photoshop.
The ALA actually encourages people to make their own READ posters, and offers a website that shows how. But Rohde says he’s never heard of an individual library producing a whole line of the posters with professional production quality. Several of the posters are now on display at the Central Library.
“I’ve been here 14-and-a-half years, and it’s the first time since I’ve been here,” Rohde said. He added, “I love my job anyway, but this stuff is so much fun.”

Behind the scenes

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