Writing on the wall poses questions

A new writing wall was created by the Paley Library’s faculty to interact with students.

A new writing wall in the Paley Library encourages students to voice their thoughts and opinions. | Geneva Heffernan TTN
A new writing wall in the Paley Library encourages students to voice their thoughts and opinions. | Geneva Heffernan TTN

This semester, students in the Paley Library may have noticed something a bit different on one of its walls—a large sheet of white paper that poses a question.

With a marker in an attached container, one student took a second to formulate his response to this week’s question: “What favorite game would you love to make a life-size version of?” He scanned the hundreds of other responses and laughed at answers like Super Mario, Pac-Man and checkers.

This writing wall, which was implemented by the library’s faculty to get students more involved, is where students can pick up a marker and record responses to a different question every week.

The first week’s question asked, “Where did you travel this summer?” to which students responded with answers ranging from Florida to Kolkata, India.

“I came back from a conference with the idea because I had seen that other libraries were doing it,” said Nicole Restaino, manager of Library Communications and Public Programming. “We hired our first full time graphic and web designer, so she had the background to actually make it look really professional.”

The board is located outside the elevators on the first floor of the library, where students can stop by and get an idea of what other students are thinking.

Rachel Cox, the graphic and web designer for Paley Library, said the students always read the board intently because they “want to make sure they are not saying something that someone else has already said.”

“They are very thoughtful,” said Kaitlyn Mashack, administrative specialist for Paley Library.

While the writing mimics the appearance of graffiti, with the occasional off-handed comment here and there, Mashack feels it gives a fun alternative to the usual all-white walls.

“We wanted to rebrand it with a border,” Mashack added.

Paulina Geiger, a senior English major, said the wall adds some variety and feels it has a potential to make impact.

“I think it’s cool that it’s out in the open, whether it be here or somewhere maybe like the Student Center,” Geiger said. “I do think it would be cool if they actually did something with the feedback, though.”

Restaino said they are paying attention to the responses, as the questions often have relevance to events going on around Main Campus or what’s happening in the city.

“We are definitely thinking about ways that we can use the information,” she said. “We do have our eyes on the radar of what’s happening in the city too. We know that as an urban university, Temple students are probably interacting with their external environment.”

The board, which will stick around for future classes to use in the upcoming years, is something Restaino feels is a great way to stay connected to the student body and scope out commonalities among the students.

“I like that people are reading it,” Restaino said. “It helps them find out about their community and it is an exchange of ideas. It is a way to put a friendly face on the library. We are interested in what you are doing.”

Jacquelyn Fricke can be reached at jacquelyn.taylor.fricke@temple.edu.

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