Reply to comment

The Ask Campaign: looking for photos for print and digital media

To celebrate and help promote our now-10 year old cooperative service, we are launching an ASK campaign statewide in both print and digital media. And we'd like your help to create a bank of photos we can use.

Our idea stemmed from the ALA READ campaign & something the University of Washington libraries did with their students (see photo, left) and is one that we pitched to the Ask committee of ALA/RUSA. Kudos to our local Marketing Team for pitching that we run this as a pilot here in Maryland! We'd like it to be AWESOME so that ALA picks up the concept on the national level.

The People

We'd like diverse representation of the population of Maryland. Public, academic, students of all levels. Take photos of your librarians, customers, staff - anyone who is willing to participate. Old, young, purple, green, blonde, bald - we want everyone!

The Questions

We'd love for people to use questions they've actually asked a librarian but feel free to troll our Twitter feed for questions you can pretend the person in the photo has asked. Our social media venues have highlighted interesting questions over the last six years in order to show that people can ask librarians a wide variety of inquiries.

The Photo's Composition

These photos will be of a single person holding a sign (white) with a question (in thick black marker or type) against a non-descript or library-type background. The ALA's READ posters are the model for this.

The person can be holding their sign in front of them, above their heads, or to the side. The photo will be of the person's torso and face only in order to have the sign be readable. While the concept is similar to the UW photo at the top of this page, we are looking for a better quality of composition.

  • The sign must be white and about 15"x15" in size - it can be oak board or a small whiteboard. For our first round, we used a 11"x17" sign stand with plastic cover on it that served as our "white board" surface.
  • The question must be printed or written legibly in thick black type / marker.
  • use natural light whenever possible
  • focus on the person in the foreground so that the background is slightly out of focus.
  • clothing should not have any logos, cartoons or video characters, inappropriate sayings or designs that date a photo or would cause us copyright issues
  • the photo background should be devoid of any logos, clutter, or other people.
  • consider leaving the building - people have questions EVERYWHERE - not just IN a library!

Have fun with this. Is a kid asking a question about dinosaurs? Can they wear a dino hat or hold a stuffed dino?


These sketches done by Don Boozer, Coordinator of Ohio's KnowItNow24x7.


Photo Specifications

  • Digital photos must be high resolution. 8"x10" at 300dpi at minimum, please. How a photo looks on your monitor has little bearing on it's print usability. Use this formula if you're not sure: pixels divided by resolution = printable size. (So an image of 1600x1200 pixels at 300dpi is printable to 5"x4".
  • Take photos as large as your camera can make them.

Sending Your Photo

  • high-resolution TIFF or uncompressed JPG files. do not place them in a word doc or convert them to a PDF.
  • any size file email files to maryland.askusnow[at]gmail[dot]com.
  • digital files only, please; do not send printed digital photos

Required Photo Information

  • photographer's name and library
  • Is there a story that goes along with this question / customer? If so, include it so we can use it in other marketing initiatives.
  • a photo release form from each person used in each photo. Note the question on the sign or other identifying information of the person on the release so we know who goes with whom. These photo releases can be physically or digitally sent back to AskUsNow!.



The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options