California Library Association Honors USC Libraries With Public Relations Award

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/08/13

Members of the USC Libraries' Communications and Planning staff accepted the award at the CLA's November 3 awards gala.

At its November 3 awards gala, the California Library Association (CLA) honored the USC Libraries with its 2013 Public Relations Excellence Best in Show Award for the Mosely Snowflake Fractal and related communications and programming. The CLA previously announced in June that the USC Libraries had won an award for its project type and budget size, but the Best in Show prize recognizes the project as the overall outstanding entry.

Led by USC Libraries Discovery Fellow Margaret Wertheim, USC students, faculty, and staff, as well as students from nearby middle schools and other volunteers, created the Mosely Snowflake Fractal out of 49,000 folded business cards. Construction took seven months. The result—the Mosely Snowflake Fractal—is a giant, 120-pound object that showcases the USC Libraries’ role as a place where disciplines intersect and where artists and scholars engage library collections and people to make possible surprising discoveries and creative works. Such results were among USC Libraries’ Dean Catherine Quinlan’s goals when establishing the Discovery Fellowship and appointing Wertheim as the inaugural fellow in 2011.

CLA describes the annual prize as one that “honor[s] the highest quality efforts of California libraries in promoting and communicating their message,” with several categories for budget size and type of program. The New York Times featured the fractal in an article by Wertheim titled “Many Hands Make Fractals Tactile.” Wired highlighted the project in its Wired Design blog, and KCET-TV’s Artbound program produced an eight-minute online video about the project, “An Origami Moment,” which later appeared on broadcast television. Other media coverage included blog posts on Boing BoingInhabitat, and Library as Incubator.

The fractal takes its name from engineer and origami artist Jeannine Mosely, who designed and supervised the construction process. Mosely created a software model to visualize the object, assess its structural integrity, and calculate the required thickness and number of business cards. 

Photo credit: Noe Montes

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