Promoting library ‘equal parts work and fun’
The Woodford County Library became a big part of Heather Plunkett’s life after her parents moved here when she was 2 years old. She still has her first library card. It was issued in 1988, when she was 5 years old.
Because she now has a job at the library that didn’t exist 30 years ago, Plunkett will sometimes find herself standing where that young girl picked up a book about costumes – downstairs, in what used to be the nonfiction section.
Such memories are possible because Plunkett gets to spend every workday in a place where she has a lot of history.
“There’s good days and bad days,” says Plunkett, “but I don’t want to do anything else.”
As manager of public relations and marketing, Plunkett gets the word out – online and in print – about the different programs, events and available resources at the Woodford County Library.
“It’s equal parts work and fun. Because you do get to be very creative,” says Plunkett, who must incorporate words and images to promote a library event or program.
“It’s a challenge for me to make pieces that people will pay attention to,” she continues, “… I am catering to them… please come to my event… If this (poster) is not easy for them to read, understand, look at – doesn’t grab them, they’re not going to look at it.”
It’s gratifying when a performer or presenter wants to keep the poster, which Plunkett designed to promote their library program. “That,” she says, “happens a lot.”
The graphic artist says she really enjoys designing printed materials like calendars, brochures and posters to inform library patrons of upcoming programs and events.
“That’s my favorite thing to do,” says Plunkett. She recently designed a banner promoting September as National Library Card Sign-Up Month and a billboard publicizing the Summer Reading program.
While Plunkett mostly uses computer programs to produce graphic designs to promote what’s happening at the library, she also creates visual messages on a sandwich board – using nothing more than colored chalk and her imagination.
With the volume of digital and print materials needed to promote the library and its programs these days, Plunkett appreciates the help she’s getting from Stevie Moore – who she describes as “a very talented digital artist, more talented than I am…”
Moore has been using those skills to produce some covers for a printed bimonthly calendar highlighting programs and activities at both the Versailles and Midway Branch libraries.
In addition to her library work, Plunkett continues to design book covers for a co-worker, Laurel Keller, who writes under the pen name Laurel McKinley.
“When she brought me the idea that she had, I was blown away,” says Keller. “It was so much more than I could have ever imagined.” Plunkett has now created five covers for her, and “each one gets more amazing than the one before it,” she adds.
“She’s so talented.”
Plunkett, a 2001 graduate of Woodford County High School, says she’s always been drawn to art, but also knew making a living as an artist would be difficult.
Receiving Photoshop 5 from her dad while in middle school put Plunkett on a path. “I spent a lot of time with it. I loved it,” she says.
Using Photoshop as a kid was fun. She vividly remembers placing a friend’s upper torso on a horse to create a centaur.
Plunkett’s maturation as an artist continued at Western Kentucky University, where she earned degrees in graphic design and print making.
The 2007 grad thought she’d pursue a career creating logos at a graphic design studio. But when an opportunity arose for her in Chicago – an internship at a design and marketing firm – she “thought about it for a long time,” and came to the realization she wanted to come back to Versailles and not work in Chicago, which was her parents’ life before coming here.
Plunkett has now been at the library for 10 years. First as a part-time employee who worked evenings after her day job at The Woodford Sun composing ads (also part time), which gave her much-needed experience in graphic design.
“My day would be pretty packed,” recalls Plunkett. “I would pop a microwave dinner in the Sun’s microwave – eat it and then go directly to the library.”
Plunkett saw an ad for a part-time library assistant job – shelving books and helping customers – in the Sun’s classifieds, and with encouragement from a co-worker applied for the position.
With her background in design, her job responsibilities at the library evolved. She started creating posters and doing other design work to promote the library and its programs. It has been her focus, probably for the last eight years, she says.
“We have so many things going on here,” says Plunkett.