Libraries are built with paper: 205 pages of “Beowulf,” 248 of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 394 more for the poems of W.H. Auden.
So maybe it’s weird, hearing Melissa Osborn, information resources and service support specialist at Lilley Library, say the library uses too much paper. The facility itself is, in every way, a testament to the value of the printed page: It sits on land donated to Penn State by Mary Behrend, whose husband operated the Hammermill Paper Company.
But Osborn, an information resources and services support specialist, has a good argument. The staff at Lilley Library feeds half a million sheets of paper into just two printers each year. That costs the college approximately $1,800 every semester.
Osborn saved the cartons, 50 in all, to show what a semester’s worth of printer paper looks like. Then she stacked them, walling off the reference desk.
“When I got them all out here and stacked and I stood back, I thought, ‘My goodness, that’s a lot of paper,’” she said.
She set note cards – laminated so they can be used again – near the library computers. “Do your part,” they read. “Think before you print!”
“Hopefully, it will give people a moment’s pause,” Osborn said. “It’s so easy to click ‘print’ and move on. Maybe this will make them a bit more conscientious.”
The library staff has taken other steps to reduce their paper waste. They no longer copy DVD covers for the binder that patrons used to browse new additions to the 5,000-title film catalog. They print fewer copies of the directory of academic journals. They order fewer of the actual journals, opting instead for digital copies when that format is offered.
The most effective move was a bit more counterintuitive: In March, with funding from University Libraries, they upgraded the printers, allowing students to print faster.
“The older printers no longer were up to the job,” said Rick Hart, director of Lilley Library. “When the memory in them backed up and the pages didn’t come out, students clicked ‘print’ again. We were always finding extra copies in the trays at the end of the day.”
That paper was recycled, of course. And maybe that’s part of the problem.
“We learn now at an early age that recycling is good for the environment,” Hart said, “and it is. But there are still costs associated with it, and not just in dollars: It takes time, energy and other resources to transport, sort, process and repurpose all that material. Isn’t it better to not waste it in the first place?”
Penn State Behrend’s Spring Art Show brings color and beauty to campus. The show presents works by twenty-five artists from the college community through May 8. It is the first time that it will be displayed in the college’s John M. Lilley Library gallery.
Heather Cole, lecturer in digital arts, and Scott Rispin, lecturer in art, collaborated on the show, which received support from the Mary Behrend Cultural Fund. Together, they expanded it from a straightforward student photography show to a professional exhibition in the gallery located on the main floor of the library.
“In the past, we exhibited unframed works in the hallway of a classroom building,” Cole explained. “We were looking for a more professional viewing space. The Lilley Library gallery gave us the opportunity to exhibit the art in a framed, professional manner.”
Rispin had been talking to Dr. Rick Hart, library director, for a few years about using space on the lower level and in the gallery for exhibits. Things came together last fall, when the Faculty Art Show made its debut in the gallery space.
The Spring Art Show promotes the diverse talents and interests of the Penn State Behrend community. Submissions include student works in a variety of media, as well as pieces by faculty and staff. In addition to photography, the show features paintings, drawings, and digital art such as collages, scanograms (scanner art), 3D graphics, and 3D-printed sculptures. Many of the student works were created for photography, digital arts, and painting classes.
The artwork is not arranged by format or artist. “It’s always best to hang a show in a way that creates a better experience for the gallery patron,” Rispin said.
Students demonstrate diverse artistic talents
Hayden Seibert, a sophomore Mechanical Engineering major from Erie, Pa., submitted two paintings to the show. “One was displayed last year in the Erie Art Museum Spring Show and the other is being shown for the first time,” he said. “I’m an artist, and I like to share my work.”
Krystal Elliott, a sophomore Software Engineering major from New York City, created her watercolor painting Spring is Near, which depicts a bird on a tree branch, specifically for the show. She said she submitted it to challenge herself to do something new, and she wanted to paint something others could identify with.
“I finally saw a bird outside and it reminded me that winter was nearly over,” she said.
Nick Ranayhossaini, a senior majoring in General Arts and Sciences from Harmony, Pa., had started his charcoal drawing of a skull before learning about the show but finished it for the submission deadline.
“I often draw skeletal figures, largely because I enjoy dark themes and just think that skeletons look cool, but also because they don’t represent anyone specific,” Ranayhossaini said. “Seeing the piece in the gallery makes me extremely happy. When I get to watch someone walk in and start examining my work I am extremely proud.”
Digital Arts step into the spotlight
The exhibition includes a display case with 3D objects designed by students in Cole’s ART168 The Digital Medium course. They hadn’t even seen their creations until they went on display. The students created the models with Autodesk Mudbox, a 3D painting and sculpting program, and Cole printed them with a 3D printer recently purchased by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
“These are their first projects,” Cole said. “They wanted to get down to the library to see them right away.”
Peter Kalmar, a junior Computer Science major from Cabot, Pa., created a 3D-printed turtle and also drew concept art for a sword design and implemented it in Blender, a 3D modelling program. He said doing the project was a great way to learn the computer program.
Art at Penn State Behrend will continue to grow
Cole and Rispin say that there are ample opportunities to further expand the show, which would give Arts Administration majors experience in planning, executing, and promoting gallery exhibitions.
Both instructors hope more artists will participate as they become aware of the blossoming art scene on campus. Cole and Rispin often find that fear or inexperience holds back new artists, who may think their work isn’t good enough or might not know how to frame or display artwork.
“All they really need to do is talk to us and we’ll help them,” Cole said. Rispin has even loaned or built frames for students’ work.
Don’t expect all of the art to disappear from the Lilley Library—or campus—after the show is over. Rispin says additional wall space on the lower level of the library will be used as “ongoing exhibition space.”
The show also was highlighted at a recent Community Arts Walk that took place during the college’s Spring Open House. The event included temporary art displays on bulletin boards and mobile frames around campus, a display in the windows of a residence hall, and performances at Bruno’s Cafe.
“The walk went well,” said Cole, who may “look to inviting clubs to participate next year.” She has lots of other creative projects in the works, too.
Students say that’s good news. “I have high hopes that the college will continue to provide opportunities like this on campus,” Seibert said.
About the Spring Art Show
Admission to the show is free and open to the public during library hours.
Parking is available at the adjacent Reed Union Building or in any campus visitor parking lot. Visitor Parking Permits may be obtained from Police Services in Erie Hall.
The name “Behrend” was well known in the Erie region long before Penn State Behrend ever existed.
Hammermill Paper Company, one of the region’s largest employers for nearly a century, was owned by Moritz Behrend and his three sons, Ernst, Otto, and Bernard. Thousands of people worked for Hammermill from 1898 until 1984 when the company was purchased by International Paper Company.
To communicate with its employees, Hammermill published a newsletter, The Hammermill Bond, which is now digitized and archived as part of the Hammermill Paper Company Collection at the John M. Lilley Library at Penn State Behrend.
“It preserves it for eternity,” says Jane Ingold, reference librarian. “It’s also a big time-saver for us now.”
In the past, Ingold handled requests for old newsletters. Now, family members of former Hammermill employees can access them on their own. The newsletter is available to anyone; you do not have to be a Penn State user.
The Hammermill Bond was first published in 1917, and it continued through the 1960s. The only break in publication came during the Great Depression.
A step above traditional company newsletters, the publication included interesting feature stories, colorful covers, and rich photography. It was much more reminiscent of a modern-day magazine than a newsletter.
“They did some really cool things,” Ingold says. “In an early issue, Mr. Behrend wrote a letter to his employees, and they published it in Polish, Russian, German, English, and other languages just to make sure that he accounted for the different nationalities of his workers.”
The Lilley Library currently has a display commemorating The Hammermill Bond. Various issues are featured, including the issue that was printed following the death of Ernst Behrend in 1940. The display will remain at the Lilley Library through Monday, November 24.
To access the digital archives of The Hammermill Bond, click here.
Penn Staters make an impact everywhere. Now, there’s a brand initiative that puts it right out there.
The University will introduce the initiative on Saturday, October 12 during halftime of the Michigan game in Beaver Stadium. Penn State Behrend will be unveiling the brand message on Monday (October 14), and students are invited to be part of the announcement.
At 11 a.m., Lilley Library Lawn:
Come watch as your fellow students unfurl a big banner with the theme of PSLH (that’s your only hint!) from the balcony of Lilley Library facing the Bayfront Highway. If you can attend, you’ll see the action from the lawn just below.
At 12:15 p.m, Bruno’s Cafe:
See a short yet dynamic video, grab a cookie, and get your free theme button and vinyl window cling–while supplies last!