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Making the library come alive

If you stroll through Ina Dillard Russell Library, you’ll notice exhibits bursting with crisp contrasts of color that make them pop. As the facilities manager of the library, chances are that Evan Leavitt’s personal touches had a hand in those displays that draw you in, especially the new Russell Auditorium exhibit going up now outside Special Collections on the second floor. It highlights some famous individuals, who have performed there.

“This exhibit was a collaboration between myself and Graduate Assistant Mikaela LaFave,” said Leavitt. “She and I worked on the information that is displayed. I designed and installed the exhibit and am working on the website.”

One of Leavitt’s works—a series of seven posters created for the library’s study rooms—was nationally recognized by the American Library Association at this year’s summer conference in Chicago. Over 390 libraries submitted entries, and Leavitt won in the $5 million and under budget category for materials promoting collections, services and resources. He used WWII propaganda posters to spark his creativity. 


Evan Leavitt, facilities manager, Ina Dillard Russell Library

“It’s nice for another entity to recognize this project as having value,” he said. “I was happy that our library was acknowledged as having created something that was viewed as a good messaging tool for the students.”

The posters, which encourage groups of two or more to use the study rooms, will be on display on the second floor of the library toward the end of August.

“I brainstormed for a good visual way to put that message out there so it would be recognizable and visually eye-catching,” said Leavitt. “I also used humor and tried to determine the best terminology to use.”

He has been trying to find the means to communicate equitable use among the library’s study rooms as they are heavily used by students. The posters Leavitt designed were a creative way to accomplish this task.

“We are trying to find new ways to do things and promote the culture,” he said.

Leavitt also created the vast timeline located in the museum, and he will play a peripheral role in maintaining the Georgia College & State University Foundation’s newly acquired Andalusia—the home of one of the college’s most famous alumna Flannery O’Connor.

In the meantime, Leavitt has been busy working on messaging for the library.

“We’ve been working hard to build brand identity for the library,” said Leavitt, who helped create the Ina Dillard logo displayed throughout the facility. “We’ve built a brand off of it so we could get cohesiveness to the building.”

He enjoys the design aspect of his position.

“The graphic design part of my job is a lot of fun because it lets me be creative and helps me really support the library and entities across campus,” Leavitt said. “I try to find creative ways to integrate our collection into educational displays.”

His creativity doesn’t end with designing materials for the library. Leavitt helped create the homecoming graphics for 2015 and 2017 while serving on the committee.

“I like that I get to engage with so many different groups in my job,” he said. “We have five internal departments, eight facility partners, about 40 student workers, Facilities Operations and Planning and faculty, staff and students across campus.”

In addition to the creative side of his position, Leavitt is responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of the library—working closely with facilities planning on upcoming construction projects.

“During construction, I’ll be a part of the discussions to make sure the library’s interest has a voice at the table,” he said. “Then, I can relay the information back to library and facility partners so that everybody knows what’s going on.”

After working as facilities manager for five years, Leavitt’s position has expanded, which he loves.

“The library gets so much usage with long periods of operations each day, and I get to touch on so many things from working with facilities to assisting with classes to creating content for exhibits sometimes located across campus,” Leavitt said. “I enjoy coming to work and the people, especially the variety of interactions and opportunities I have here.”

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