READ Posters with an Edge

By Manley, Will | American Libraries, April 1996 | Go to article overview

READ Posters with an Edge


Manley, Will, American Libraries


Last month I received my friendly computerized invitation to renew my membership to ALA. Each year for the past 25 years I have received this notice. Some years I get out the checkbook and renew; other years I think of five or six better uses of my money (like buying food for my kids) and throw the notice into the wastebasket. But I am proud to say that for the past five years I have been a card-carrying, dues-paying ALAer.

What is it that has kept me coming back to ALA these past five years? Is it the opportunity to visit Miami in july and Washington in January? Is it the opportunity to go to seminars on AACR2? Is it the opportunity tb find out from the Social Responsibilities Round Table newsletter which products I should be buying and which I should be boycotting? Is it the opportunity to pass out every summer in the annual "Fun Run"? True, these are all considerable benefits; but what really keeps me coming back is the official ALA Graphics catalog.

Quite simply, that's where I do my Christmas shopping. What a delightful cornucopia of official paraphernalia it offers: neckties, squeeze bottles, iron-on transfers, quick clips, totebags, finger puppets, key tags, hand stamps, coffee mugs, and posters--all of which carry the official international library symbol. When I'm walking down the street with my official ALA T-shirt, baseball cap, ID bracelet, brooch, earrings, and lapel pin there's no mistaking me for a plumber, lawyer, or funeral director--the whole world knows I'm a librarian!

And best of all, the ALA Graphics catalog is the source of those internationally famous READ posters, the single greatest contribution that ALA has made to the civilized world. READ posters are colorful, eyecatching, and simple--in short, everything that AL-A is not. Most important, however, is the message of the READ posters: How refreshing that a profession dedicated to the complex process of providing computer access to end users would advocate something as simple as reading books!

Of course the READ posters derive their pizzazz from the celebrities who appear on them. What I've always found most fascinating is playing the game of identifying what book a particular star has chosen to pose with in his or her poster. …

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