“Post-It!” at the Library

Post-It Notes at the Ross Pendergraft Library

“I got adopted,” “I made my dream come true,” “I survived 2020,” This is just what a few of the many Post-it notes say on the “Hindsight is 2020” exhibit in the library.

The colorful exhibit, which is featured on the circulation desk’s northernmost window, has amassed upwards of 264 and counting Post-it notes.

“One of my student workers pitched the name, but before we had that phrasing, it was my idea to use Post-it notes in some way,” Slade Dupuy, circulation supervisor at Ross Pendergraft Library, said. “The pandemic took a lot out of people, and I wanted people to be happy and look on the bright side of things.”

“We [the library staff] all enjoyed it,” Dupuy said. He mentioned that there was a moment when the staff were the only ones allowed in the building. Watching it  grow from where it started is fun for Dupuy and the rest of the workers.

“We even had kids from Arkansas Governor’s school and professors contributing to it,” Dupuy said.

The exhibit has been on display since January of 2021, and while it originally applied to the year 2020, it grew to be a conversation about the good side of the pandemic. “I did not expect it to become a message board where people can comment and respond to one another. People are engaging with it,” Dupuy said.

Dupuy was surprised by how fast the wall filled up with notes, “Honestly, I expected the worst,” he said. He was worried that people would not take it seriously and make jokes. “I am a little startled by how deep some people got with it. It affirmed what we wanted to do with it,” Dupuy remarked.

It was also impressive for him to see some of the answers to this question. “There were a lot of [notes talking about] divorces on there, being able to post about it was a good and healthy thing for me as well as students. It is very impressive,” Dupuy said.

There are plans to archive the Post-it notes after the next window exhibit takes place. Dupuy reinforced this thought, saying how interesting it would be if students 50 years from now went combing the archives and came across written accounts of our pandemic world.

Charity Park, the digital and special collections librarian, agreed with these sentiments. She plans on aiding Dupuy in archiving the exhibit for future students to look through. The process, according to Park, is an easy one.

“We have an online institutional repository. I think we will probably want to photograph the collection then digitize the post-it notes,” Park said. The physical collection of Post-it notes will be stored in the special collections library archives, located on the second floor, which can be accessed by appointment.

The idea to archive the notes came from looking through the newspapers from 1918 that documented the Spanish Flu Pandemic. All he found were obituaries citing the Spanish Flu as causes of death. “The stories I found were not always front-page stories,” Dupuy remarked. “We wanted to be a weird primary source of this pandemic.”

Students and faculty can still contribute to the growing exhibit, which will remain up until the end of September. Anything appropriate can be added to the wall. The library will treat it as a time capsule, hoping that future students will dig it up in the archives.