T-shirt designs show literacy

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The Pullman community can expect to see different designs surrounding the theme of “literacy,” on display at the Neill Public Library throughout March.

Friends of Neill Public Library (FNPL), a nonprofit group formed to advocate and fundraise for the local library, is hosting a t-shirt design contest around the word “literacy.” The first place winner in the contest will receive $100 cash and a t-shirt featuring the winning design on it.

“We chose a t-shirt design contest because we were hoping to generate some name recognition, and get people to know that the Friends are a thing,” said Megan Welling, president of FNPL. “We want to bring the community together and increase involvement.”

The theme of “literacy” was carefully chosen, Library Services Director Joanna Bailey said.

“We spent a lot of time talking about it. Because the role of a public library is so diverse, we came up with an umbrella category where everything could fit within,” Bailey said. “Literacy could mean information literacy, computer literacy, traditional literacy or job skill literacy. It’s up to the artist to interpret what it means to them.”

The library’s advocacy for literacy includes online audiobooks for kids, computer classes for seniors and a summer reading program, offering a wide variety of opportunities for people to improve, Welling said.

“Literacy is bigger than just being able to read,” she said. “It’s about being able to understand the world around us and to be able to function to our best capacity as we interact with that world.”

From March 13 to 31, the designs will be on display for the public to view and vote on. The designs will be separated into three age categories: 0-11, 11-17 and 18+. The top design in each age group will be a semifinalist, and from the three semifinalists, library staff and board members of FNPL will vote on the best design.

Winners will be notified by April 11, and the t-shirts will be available for purchase by the end of May or early June, to coincide with the start of the summer reading program, Bailey said.

The t-shirts will then be sold and given away as prizes during the summer reading program. All profit from the sales will go toward the FNPL, which in turn goes to the library itself. The money will be used for projects such as new materials, expanding programs and bringing in authors for community reading events.

“I think our library is as relevant as it is because of the Friends,” Bailey said. “I hope that this contest will give WSU students the chance to engage more with the community and the library – we have some really creative talents out there that I’d like to tap into.”

On the WSU campus, students have access to several libraries, including Holland/Terrell, the Kimbrough Music Library and the Honors Library. However, many students may not realize the City of Pullman has its own public library.

“College students use their libraries in their hometowns, but I think they should become more of the community instead of being here temporarily visiting,” Welling said. “I think it could be great if more students got involved.”

Several designs have already been submitted within the age range of 8-21. Artists have until March 11 to submit their designs to [email protected], or in-person to the Neill Public Library.