You’ve probably read an article about hilariously ambitious siblings recreating old family photos in the name of showing parental love. I recently saw a university library take hold of the trend with great results. Graduate assistants recreated an old photo from the university archives, which let users of their social media page get to know the GAs, learn what an archive was, and see what people wore before the invention of yoga pants. You must steal this idea.
The beauty of this idea is that it works for all kinds of libraries: school, higher ed, public, special! Need something to get you through the doldrums known as February? Host a photo recreation contest! You get to highlight your institution’s past while users have a blast trying to decide how best to recreate a photo of a bunch of coeds in beanies inexplicably pushing a mule on to a football field.
I suggest you carefully choose a few photos from which users can recreate: include photos with varying numbers of people, include photos from varying decades. Do try to choose photos that are unique but also find ones that tell a good story about your institution. Is your institution named after someone or have a beloved professor/librarian/mascot? Be sure to include images of important people you want users to know about. And run them by a few folks to make sure you are not accidentally walking on an unknown landmine. (Also, don’t forget to include as much info about the original photos as possible.)
You might be surprised to find you don’t need to offer much of a prize beyond glory. And be sure to have clear judging criteria and methods. FYI: criteria can be as simple as “most creative and original.” Having the public vote is a nice way to be inclusive, but consider having a panel to judge as it cuts down on the thing becoming a popularity contest. And be sure to have both electronic and non-electronic ways to display the winners and runners up. Imagine how fun of a display this would make!
Hope the festive winter holiday season is one of ease and delight for you, Lizz