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Kent Library Policies and Forms

Kent Library Display Guidelines and Tips

Kent Library Display Case Guidelines


  • Display cases can be booked from 1 month to a semester at a time.
    • For a display of longer duration, approval will need to be requested.
    • Reservations are on a first come, first served basis.
  • Use of the Kent Library display cases can be booked by filling out the form at the bottom of the page.
    • Please provide a brief description of the proposed display, date of installation, and the display case location you wish to reserve.
    • You will receive an email either confirming your booking, or explaining why your booking is not possible.
  • Displays will be evaluated by a member of the display committee before installation is finalized. 
    • Kent Library reserves the right to cancel or remove displays that do not meet the Standards for Exhibitions set forth below.

Standards for Exhibits

  1. Consider the shelves available to use, the items you would like to display, and how you will position those to be most visible and well balanced.
  2. Font Type – be sure to use a font type that is easy to read. Avoid script fonts.
  3. Font Size – consider the font size you use before creating and printing labels and text blocks. 20 point is a good minimum size. Print a test page of the font you would like to use and look at it from 3 feet to judge readability.
  4. Plan to visually balance your display with varying heights and sizes of items and labels. You may need to experiment with placement of items on the day of setup.
  5. Labels to Create (Printed Text)
    1. Title Label – the name of your display. This can include the name and affiliation of the person or group creating the display.
    2. Introductory Label – what your display is about. If needed, this can include up to three short paragraphs under a short heading. The heading should be a larger size than any additional text to increase visual interest.
    3. Item Labels – what the items are. This can include the item title and then one or two short explanatory sentences about it. The names of items should be a bit larger and bolder than the description sentence.
    4. References and Acknowledgements – your sources and those helping in the display creation. (optional).
  6. Label Formatting Guidelines
    1. Display title labels must meet the minimum size for the display case used. (See Display Case Information).
    2. When you create title and item labels, center the text horizontally and vertically. Leave at least ¼ of an inch of open space on all sides of your label (figure 6.2).
    3. The amount of text in text boxes that provide additional context to your display, should be minimized as much as possible. 2-4 Sentences max for informational text blocks. Try breaking apart a larger paragraph into two text boxes to be more engaging for the viewer.
    4. The text boxes can be left aligned, but please be sure to have an even amount of spacing on all sides of the text – to the cut edge of the label (figure 6.4).
    5. Text should be printed and securely mounted to foam board. Print outlines on your text boxes to help you line up the ruler and cut straight lines. Mount the printout to the foam before you cut it out. Use fresh blades to avoid having ragged edges. Practice cutting on foam board before starting on your project to avoid mistakes.

Figure 6.2

Example of Title or Item Label

Figure 6.4

Approved example of label

Unapproved label example

Approval Process

  1. Before any of the exhibit titles, labels, or text boxes are printed they must be reviewed by a member of the Display Committee to ensure that they meet the standards of display in Kent Library.
  2. After any needed changes are made and the Display Case Exhibit Approval Form is signed by a member of the Display Committee, the date of setup can be scheduled.
  3. The final look of the display materials once in the case must be then approved by a member of the Display Committee.
  4. After finalizing the display case exhibit, a copy of the form must be returned to the committee.

How to Set up a Display Case

  1. A Kent Library staff member will help you unlock the case and will be able to help with obtaining stands to use when placing the items in the case.
  2. Periodically stand 3 feet back from the case to make sure you can easily read the printed labels and see the items.
  3. Consider the angle of the information on the lower shelves. They will need to be angled towards the eye of the viewer.

Revised 1/7/2020

Suggested Ideas for Planning a Display Case Exhibit

Suggested Ideas for Planning a Display Case Exhibit


Display development is a process. If you truly want to make an effective display, take your time. Do not expect the process to be accomplished in a week. Give yourself ample time to put it all together.

One Big Idea

Design your display concept around one big idea and place only supporting elements for that idea into your display. Keep things simple and clear so your guest does not get overwhelmed with too many things to look at or to read.

  • Main Concept.
  • Three Primary Elements to support the Main Concept.
  • Two or three Secondary Elements for each Primary Element.

By keeping things simple, you are not dumbing down to your guests, you are creating a conceptualization that is intended to have your guests want to know more. Displays are intended to educate, but they are also intended to inspire further exploration. In the exchange of knowledge in a display case, you cannot present every detail of a subject, but you can open the mind to questions that inspire.


Artifacts do not have to be 3-D objects, but to have two or three larger 3-D physical objects will draw greater interest to bring your guest closer to the display. These can be printed copies of original documents that may be too delicate to use for display purposes. Along with larger objects a couple of smaller objects related to the larger primary attention getters can help to fill out your display.


Plan around a central idea and use a few things to inspire. Consider your guest first in your planning and how they will be affected by your display. Keep your display simple and well balanced. Inspire your guest and leave them wanting more!

Revised 1/7/2020