Deborah Lao
Keep Our Public Libraries Open / Third Place (tied) : Student

Keep Our Public Libraries Open Posters

In addition to fostering literacy, the public library has been stalwart and indiscriminate in providing guidance to all who seek information, safe haven to all who need it, and free internet access to all who want to explore beyond their borders. However, government funding for libraries has been slashed 75% in the last five years and 70% of branches struggle to meet public demand. Just this past June, Oakland citizens were forced to fervently and successfully fight against the city’s plan to close 14 of its 18 libraries.

This campaign seeks to bring awareness to the shuttering of libraries across the country, and demonstrates that there is grassroots support to keep our public libraries open. Taking cues from the insights of American photographers Ed Ruscha and Robert Dawson and the public service posters designed by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930-40s, Deborah's design aims to engage contemporary audiences in local library preservation efforts.

When the posters were exhibited at a gathering of young librarians in the Bay Area, they were energized by the posters’ strong rhetoric and bold look, mentioning that traditional library advocacy visuals were disparate and fell short of activating young people.

Deborah Lao + California College of the Arts.

Deborah Lao
School / California College of the Arts
Thanks to / Screenprinting professor Aaron Elijah Terry, Davidson Lao, Tatiana Pavlova and ManEe Wong
for help with the hand-pulled print edition.