On Thursday, November 10th, 2016, Tara Maharjan, Processing Archivist, Janki Patel, Undergraduate, Art History & Art Library reference assistant, and Megan Lotts, Art Librarian, hosted a pop-up button making space in the lobby of Alexander Library. At this event patrons had the opportunity to create and make their own button, take a pre-made button of an image from Rutgers University Libraries Special Collections and University Archives, and view a vintage button collection, discovered in a basement, in Edison, NJ.
The inspiration for purchasing a button maker came from the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) annual conference in 2013, when Char Booth, current Associate Dean, Library at California State University San Marcos, spoke about libraries building good will within their communities and noted that the button maker they purchased was worth its weight in gold.
Button making can be a low-cost pop up making space that addresses the idea of object, from concept to consumption. In the case of a button, a wearable item is the outcome. Creating a button can strengthen ones’ creative thinking and problem solving skills. Furthermore, it also addresses finding and using images and understanding copyright laws.
Throughout the event many positive comments were made by Rutgers students, faculty, staff, alum, and non-affiliate patrons. Multiple reference questions were asked, and a few patrons inquired about other making opportunities available at the Rutgers University Libraries. Also during the event, the hosts connected with a new student, who was uncertain about navigating the Rutgers systems, and we could share with her information about the libraries, the campuses in general, and what to do in the local area. Lastly, following the event a student reached out from a Rutgers Learning Living Communities (LLC), to ask for 23 Paul Robeson buttons. The LLC is currently researching Robeson, and they all wanted this image from the RUL collections to wear proudly.