JENNIFER MOODY for Mid-Valley Live
Fans of Albany artist Melissa Babcock Saylor can now carry a wallet-sized coin of her work, thanks to the Albany Public Library.
The library used one of Saylor’s drawings for their new library card: two smiling adults, one with black hair and the other with gray hair, both holding books, flanking a red-haired child looking at the library logo.
It is available either to residents whose current cards have expired, or on request for $ 1 to those who wish to replace a currently active card.
âWe haven’t had a new design on our library cards for a very long time,â said Deputy Director Amanda Bressler. âWe decided it was time for a refresher. It seemed like a fun and uplifting thing for the community to do, given last year with COVID, and we wanted something to come from the community. “
Bressler said the library has formed a committee to discuss with local artists the submission of artwork for review and assess choices.
âMelissa answered the call right away,â Bressler said. “She was very excited and very generous.”
“Excited” is exactly the word, said Saylor, who learned of the opportunity in July. âWe could submit as many designs as we wanted. I submitted six drawings, some on digital computer, others on cut paper.
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The designs were expected on September 3. On September 21, Saylor learned that the library particularly liked one of the digital submissions, which featured all of the kids, but wondered if it could be edited slightly to include people of different ages. Saylor changed the image, Matt Harrington, City Communications and Engagement Officer, applied the library branding and layout, and the library began production.
As soon as they were ready, “I went straight to get a new library card,” Saylor said.
The library began distributing the new cards to the public on the first of this month. Non-residents can also get them, but may have to pay a fee to have a library account, unless they live in Lebanon or another community that has a passport with Albany library.
Bressler said the cards with Saylor’s artwork will be available to choose from for people who want or need new cards, until they run out. Library patrons can also continue to choose old maps, which contain information rather than illustrations.
No decision has been made as to whether the library will request art submissions in the future.
Another local artist submitted work for review this summer, but the committee decided to go with Saylor, Bressler said, adding, âWe thought the process was successful. We would be open to a process for a new card design, just as we are ready to continue using Melissa’s design if possible.
Saylor is a professional artist, but has donated her work to the library for this use.
âI love the library and I love making works of art with books,â she said. âI don’t mind giving back to this community at all because it has given me so much. “