Notice of Online Archive

  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only. The information is accurate as of the last page update.

    For questions about page contents, contact the Communications Division.

Fueled by creativity, sophomore Joe Passman (Schnecksville, Pa.) recently designed a poster for Skillman Library’s reference department that has received nationwide attention, reports Lauren McHale ’02 (Ocean View, N.J.):

Passman set out to lampoon the dramatic black and white Calvin Klein ads often seen in magazines and on television. Featured in the poster are reference staff members Melissa Landon ’01 (Millerton, N.Y.) and John Hegeman ’01 (Basking Ridge, N.J.), who are sitting on a table with a large reference book wedged between them. Above them reads the slogan, “Somewhere between Success and Failure there lies.Reference.” Passman’s intent in designing such a poster was to bring humor to an otherwise conservative library setting. “I think it makes a good contrast. It just seems comical to have a Calvin Klein ad in such a work-oriented atmosphere,” says Passman.

The poster serves as the centerpiece of a bulletin board that introduces each member of the reference department. The bulletin board’s design is generally changed about every six months. “Its purpose is to familiarize students with the reference staff and encourage them to take advantage of the services offered to them,” says reference librarian Anne C. Barnhart-Park.

Passman’s poster has not only caught the eye of Lafayette students, but also that of American Libraries, a key trade publication for librarians nationwide. In the February ’01 issue, the poster is featured next to an article by Elaine Meyers entitled, “The Road to Coolness: Youth Rock the Public Library.” Since the magazine appearance, Barnhart-Park has received numerous inquiries via telephone and e-mail regarding the poster’s copyrights. “I have received e-mail from about eight different institutions, including the U.S. Patent Office, wanting to buy copies,” she says.

After consulting Passman, Landon, and Hegeman, Barnhart-Park informed the prospective buyers that the poster was not for sale, but could be used as a non-profit promotional device to encourage students to use the library. “Selling the posters required a student start-up fee, along with a lot of time and energy that the students couldn’t possibly invest,” she says.

Passman is flattered by the attention his poster has received. “It feels special to be recognized by a national publication,” he says. When asked what effect his poster will have on Lafayette students, he responds, “I think that the humorous nature of the poster will lighten the mood in the library a bit and hopefully make students feel more comfortable about approaching the library staff with questions.”

Although the Calvin Klein idea will be hard to top, Passman says that another poster is already in the works. Like many others, Barnhart-Park is curious about what theme Passman will devise for the bulletin board. “I am very interested to see what Joe will come up with next,” she says. “Whatever, it is, I’m sure it will be as successful as his first one.”

Categorized in: Academic News