Everett Cafe Book Display

Latest: Teaching About Species

» EdLab Design Team Work     » 2019 Late April - May     » Exhibited @ Everett Cafe, Teachers College Columbia University     » Role in the project: Main designer, Research & Fabrication
About The Everett News Cafe Book Collections

The Everett News Cafe Book Collections (15-25 books changed every 4-6 weeks) curated by the Gottesman Libraries staff. Each collection is tethered to a large news event (or the occasional library event) and seeks to help cafe visitors gain context and deeper understanding of the subject.

Description of the latest book collection - Teaching About Species

Is it true that we care mostly about giant, often tropical or subtropical animals when thinking about endangered species and conservation? There's the Amur Leopard, Black Rhino, Hawksbill Turtle, Sumatran Elephant .... but what about the smaller fauna and flora -- the honeybee, American burying beetle, Louisiana quillwort, Georgia aster ... that are also disappearing from our landscape?

In support of this year’s Earth Day, whose theme is "Protect Our Species", we nurture deeper educational awareness and human sensitivities to the whole world around us. Featured are works that probe the meaning and debate over species, extinction, and the Anthropocene through research, narrative, and lessons from Nature.

Display Experience Design

The two points decided to be focused on when designing the collection were:

» Getting people's attention on the books when they pass the Cafe entrance area
» Showing the long-term effects if we keep losing species in an understandable and compelling way

A multi-layer system is designed where the endangered species are on the same handle with the objects they effect in the environment, so that when the species are "turned off" (hidden behind the static layers), connected elements also disappear.

The decoration and color in Everett Cafe are mostly dark red and is kind of heavy. Therefore, bright color mixed with hand-craft style was chosen as the visual style to cheer up the Cafe environment a little bit.

Main Tools

Handcraft | Lasercutting | Woodwork


Honeybee and American burying beetle are the two species chosen to show.

About Honeybee

» They are critical pollinators: they pollinate 70 of the around 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world. Honey bees are responsible for $30 billion a year in crops.
» We may lose all the plants that bees pollinate, all of the animals that eat those plants and so on up the food chain.
» Our supermarkets would have half the amount of fruit and vegetables.

When the Honeybee is turned off, trees & plants disappear with a dead flower shows up.

About Burying beetle

» Burying beetles are important recyclers of nutrients in terrestrial ecosystems. By burying and eating carrion , they remove a source of food from flies, which are often pests and health threats. Burying beetles also feed on fly eggs and larvae, helping to reduce their numbers.
» American burying beetles are among the many small critters that decompose (break down) the bodies of dead animals and plants. Without these decomposers, we'd be up to our eyeballs in dead stuff!

When the Honeybee is turned off, green trees are gone while a dead body appears.



2 days after


1 week after, Half of the books were checked out