Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Alfred University’s Scholes Library presented prestigious award for ‘Harry Potter’s World’ project

Photo - Visitors take a look at one of the exhibit panels in the “Harry Potter’s World” exhibit at Alfred University’s Scholes Library of Ceramics last fall. The project has earned a national public relations award and $10,000 for the library.
Alfred University’s (AU) Scholes Library of Ceramics is winner of a prestigious John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award for its fall 2015 “Harry Potter’s World” project. Scholes is one of eight national/international libraries selected by five judges from dozens of entries.
With art librarian Eva K. Sclippa as coordinator, Scholes Library brought in the National Library of Medicine’s traveling Harry Potter exhibit and created around it a comprehensive marketing campaign that both showcased its own collections as well as staff creativity. The project celebrated all things Potter in a tiered campaign that brought the entire community – campus and village – together. 
Each of the eight award-winning libraries will receive $10,000 and will be celebrated June 26 at an open reception during the American Library Association’s (ALA) 2016 annual conference in Orlando. Sclippa, also coordinator of instruction in Scholes, will attend.
The John Cotton Dana Award, established in 1946 and called the most prestigious award of the ALA, is provided in conjunction with the H.W. Wilson Foundation and EBSCO Information Services and honors outstanding library public relations. Dana is viewed by many as the father of the modern library, credited with helping transition libraries from reading rooms to community centers and realizing that it is critical to get the word out about the services and resources libraries offer. Though he lived from 1856-1929, his emphasis on building public awareness is as important as ever, with today’s libraries developing not only innovative programs and services, but also strategic communications campaigns.
“This event series is exactly the kind of program that flourishes in a community like Alfred. The exhibit, at its core, was an exciting piece but what transformed the village this fall was the extraordinary involvement of people from all parts of the community,” said Sclippa.
“Word spread quickly and it seemed like there was always someone else who loved Harry Potter and wanted a chance to contribute their time and expertise to the project - even down to the last few weeks of the event.
“I’m very excited to see the AU libraries on the national map, but most of all I’ve enjoyed working on this project in a university community that appreciates the fun and the playful,” she said.
“The project was the brainchild of Sclippa, whose leadership and creativity have helped put AU libraries in the very best company,” said Mark Smith, director of Scholes Library and associate dean of libraries at AU.
“Large, nationally recognized, library organizations such as the Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, San Diego, Vancouver (Canada), and (Charlotte (NC) Mecklenburg) public libraries as well as the libraries at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) are among the 2016 award winners. This is an extremely impressive company. With a simple idea and a few hundred dollars, Eva has led the Alfred University libraries – both Scholes and Herrick - and the entire University community to prove, once again, that Alfred University has magnificent, creative resources and a dedicated faculty and staff who generate national recognition,” added Smith.

“Harry Potter’s World” was a series of events to supplement the national exhibit, including a “Horcrux” (powerful object in which a dark wizard or witch has hidden a fragment of his or her soul for the purpose of attaining immortality) scavenger hunt for incoming students, a juried art exhibit, a Harry Potter-themed trivia night at the University’s Herrick Library, a film showing of “Discovering the Real World of Harry Potter,” and a student Halloween ball.
Faculty also enthusiastically responded to Sclippa’s invitation to examine “Harry Potter’s World” from a scholarly point of view, presenting talks on the idea of magic, the role of herbs in medicine, leadership styles as examined through characters in the books, the psychological impact of the Harry Potter series on readers, and more.
The Harry Potter events also included partnerships with local organizations, including the Alfred Farmers Market, the Alfred Box of Books Library, and the Almond Public Library.
Earlier this academic year Sclippa was awarded the 2015 Public Relations/Exhibition Award from the South Central Regional Library Council (SCRLC). She was nominated for her leadership and organization of “Harry Potter’s World.” 
Sclippa joined AU after earning a bachelor of arts degree in art history from Furman University, Greenville, SC, and a master of arts degree in art history and a master’s degree in library science, both from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Beyond resurrecting Harry Potter’s popularity in a new and exciting way, Sclippa also participates in the Personal Librarian Program at AU which aims to connect a student’s academic concentrations with a librarian’s area of expertise.