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UW-Eau Claire art students give McIntyre Library reference desk a facelift

February 7, 2013
McIntyre Reference Desk
Pictured at the new McIntyre Library reference desk they designed and built are (from left) UW-Eau Claire students Emily Hultman and Kelsey Temanson, and art faculty member Jason Lanka.

EAU CLAIRE — Finding the reference desk at McIntyre Library will no longer be a problem for University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students and other library visitors, thanks to two UW-Eau Claire art students.

Seniors Kelsey Temanson, an art-illustration major from Stratford, and Emily Hultman, an art-education major from Slinger, took on the task of making the reference desk more visible as a project for service-learning credit.

According to Jill Markgraf, associate professor and head of research and instruction at McIntyre Library, "The desk, once unnoticed and overlooked, now serves as a stunning focal point for the library, as well as an impressive display of student talent and collaboration."

During the fall 2012 semester, library staff began searching for a sign to help the service area stand out. Impressed by the work of art students in the past, they decided to garner the help of UW-Eau Claire students as a way to display student talent.

"The library is committed to showcasing student work, and projects like this enable us to do that," Markgraf said. "We take great pride in being able to say, 'Our students did this!'"

Throughout the fall semester, Temanson and Hultman met with library staff members to discuss the needs and purpose of the desk. It was through these deliberations that the group decided to redesign the desk itself, Markgraf said.

"Having this opportunity to build a piece for the library was something I could not pass up," Temanson said. "The ability to create whatever we wanted within a certain budget gave us many options and I wanted to try something different."

The students, under the direction of Jason Lanka, assistant professor of sculpture, built the desk façade during Winterim. The finished product was installed Jan. 17.

The desk façade features a solid oak top with a multidimensional front piece revealing the library logo, which Markgraf said was designed by students several years ago.

"Their design seamlessly integrated the library logo and color palette with the practical elements the staff asked for in the design prospectus," Lanka said. "The work is efficiently designed with a very clean look."

According to Markgraf, response about the new desk has been very positive.

"We can't count the number of people who stop by to look at the desk and comment on how much they like it," Markgraf said. "We have posted photos on the McIntyre Library and personal Facebook pages and have received rave reviews from friends, colleagues and alumni across the globe."


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