A mask designed by Rebecca McCorkindale, Gretna Public Library assistant director, is raising money for a cause she believes in.
She happened upon the project through a network of friends in the field, when a librarian friend from Iowa shared a link to Iowa-based RAYGUN’s website.
McCorkindale said she fell in love with the brand’s Nebraska mask design. The mask featured an outline of the shape of the state with a heart in it, along with the words, “My mask protects my community.”
“I thought I would love to do a design with the universal public library symbol,” she said.
Gaining RAYGUN’s permission, McCorkindale originally shared the adapted image on her blog, Hafuboti, free to use for librarians worldwide.
“It got a wonderful response,” she said.
With the image gaining popularity online, RAYGUN decided to make some masks with her design. The company’s staff was able to convert her image to one they could use, releasing the masks online on July 10.
There was an overwhelming response: the masks sold out within a day.
“I was not prepared for a librarian to post, a little over an hour after announcing it, that they were already sold out,” McCorkindale said. ”I almost fell out of my chair.”
More were printed, selling out again July 16.
“It’s exciting,” she said. “I love being able to put our little library on the map. It’s a real honor. I’m so grateful to be so supported by both our Library Director Krissy Reed and by the City. To have their support is always nice and appreciated.”
Ten percent of each mask sale with McCorkindale’s design is being donated to EveryLibrary, a national political action committee for libraries that helps them secure funding.
“We have been large supporters of libraries for years,” said Mike Draper, owner of RAYGUN.
Draper said that more than 300 masks displaying McCorkindale’s design have been sold at this point. Another 200 were expected to be printed this week and to remain steadily available online, as well as at a new RAYGUN location expected to open in downtown Omaha near the end of July.
“It’s pretty awesome,” McCorkindale said. “I know that word gets thrown around a lot, but it just means a lot. I know my response — seeing ‘My mask protects my community’ — how it resonated with me. It’s incredibly gratifying to know that others felt the same way, enough to put it on their face.”
At the end of the day, McCorkindale said that library staff just want to do what’s best for the community.
“It’s a really difficult decision on opening up, with what restrictions we need to maintain for the safety of both librarians and our patrons,” she said. “Watching the discussion happen around our country, I think all public libraries want to be a welcoming environment. Having to potentially put up shields between us and the patrons we serve is not taken lightly.
“Being able to do art like this — that can be really impactful — makes me feel like I”m of use, like I can participate in a healthy way for me in that national kind of dialogue.”
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