OU Libraries’ Bicentennial Book Wins International Award

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The Ohio University Libraries’ illustrated book, 200 Years of Shared Discovery: The Bicentennial of Ohio University Libraries, wowed the OU community upon its print and online debut in January 2014. Readers opened the book to find historical images, gorgeous graphic design, and a better understanding of the institution’s rich heritage.

Bobcats weren’t the only ones who were impressed. The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), an international association of educational institutions, recently named Ohio University a silver award winner for the 2014 Circle of Excellence Awards Program In-house Print Publication category; a division that recognizes the “best individual print publications, produced for any institutional purpose, in which all writing, photography, artwork and design were done in-house.”

The Libraries’ 200 Years of Shared Discovery was among 3,000-plus entries submitted for judging in 100 categories.

Mark Krumel, the senior director of creative services at University Communications & Marketing, played an instrumental role in the publication: He assembled all of the text and visual material gathered by the Libraries’ team into an engaging, cohesive book. The process lasted 18 months.

“A project of this scope is rare for me,” Krumel said, recalling the design of the 132-page, vividly illustrated book.

This undated piece of brittle, yellowed stationary, depicting the College Green and the three original Ohio University buildings, was a source of inspiration for the Libraries’ bicentennial book. It states that the University was founded in 1804, and that its Libraries, ca 1850, held 5,000 volumes. (Image courtesy of the Mahn Center)

He sustained his creativity and enthusiasm by drawing inspiration from a variety of sources, including a woodcut printing of the original College Edifice, the sycamore trees that surround the University, and naturally, books.

“I’ve always liked to look at the different graphics and textures of books — I like that tactile feel,” Krumel said. “When I was a kid I always used to hang out at the library and just be in wonderment of all that you could look at and read.”

That long-held respect for libraries made this project especially gratifying, he said, and he was happy to collaborate with a staff that advances the cause.

“I just really enjoyed working with this group,” he said of the Libraries’ team. “They’re really appreciative folks.”

They’re also well organized. Krumel received a massive, meticulous collection of the book’s contents from the Libraries’ editorial team; the result of years spent gleaning details from the University Archives, producing visual components, and crafting a unified narrative.

A photo of the 1814 Board of Trustees resolution that officially titled the University’s collection of books as the “Library of Ohio University” and established seven rules governing the use of OU's first library. (Photo by Kate Munsch/Ohio University Libraries)

By all accounts, the finished product was made by many hands: Scott Seaman, dean of Libraries; Kate Mason, writer/editor and the Libraries’ coordinator of communications; Doug Partrusch, the Libraries’ director of development; Krumel; graduate student assistants Lena Chapin and Patrick Traylor; writers/editors Sherri Saines, Rob Dakin and Carrie Preston; staff in the Mahn Center and Digital Initiatives; Athens historian Betty Hollow; and Krumel’s supervisor Renea Morris, OHIO’s executive director of communications and marketing; among numerous others, all contributed to the book’s success.

“When you do work and put it out there, you wear your heart on your sleeve, basically,” Krumel said of the book’s publication.

The dedication that went into that work is certainly noticeable — even among the multitude of high-quality publications submitted to CASE — and the Libraries’ staff congratulates all involved for the hard-earned, international recognition of 200 Years of Shared History.

You can view an electronic version of the award-winning book on the University’s Founders Day page.

Article republished with permission from Ohio University Libraries.