Lawrenceville3Jason

Install of a Pop des Fleurs garden at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Lawrenceville.

by Suzy Waldo

In my last post I wrote about how the beautiful Pop des Fleurs project came to Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh- South Side and then became a system-wide project. If I had a nickel for every time I thought to myself, “What were you thinking?!?” I could buy a new cardigan.

If I had a nickel for every time I thought to myself, “What were you thinking?!?” I could buy a new cardigan.

I kid, I kid. It has been an extraordinary journey, full of challenges, near panic attacks, and a ton of laughter. My first challenge: I had to be on television. Librarians don’t become librarians because they want to be on television. But promoting this project was important, so I’m the awkward one in purple.

On Saturday, February 6th, there was an official unveiling at the CLP- Main. It almost didn’t happen. The biggest challenge I had with this project was all of the moving parts. As the internal project manager, I was responsible for communication with the Pop des Fleurs project managers, the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh leadership as well as with my own colleagues. Since this was an actual installation, I had to get facilities on board as well as request help from custodial staff and our creative services department. But let’s face it, emails get missed or accidentally deleted or buried (or never sent). So while I am getting sound set up and planning an event, one whole department had no idea what I was talking about. [Insert panic attack right here.]

Luckily the people at CLP are good at whipping together fantastic events with short notice and we ended up with a lovely unveiling. My recommendation: Have one email address for everyone to use and “cc” every single person, every single time. (Though that may be an effective way to never be asked to manage a project again, too).

Oh the supplies. The things I bought. In one swoop, I purchased 85 tablecloths (and she scanned each one individually, while everyone in line gave me side-eye.) I ordered 1,000 zip ties from Amazon. This prompted a phone call from my husband, asking if I really just ordered 1,000 zip ties. Pipe cleaners. Scissors. Scavenging for plastic bags, potato chip bags (they make great silver flowers!), shower curtains and garden stakes.

We made flowers out of every material imaginable. Then we took our project out into our communities. We partnered with elementary and high schools, senior centers, homeless shelters…everyone and anyone who could make a plastic flower.

We made flowers out of every material imaginable. Then we took our project out into our communities. We partnered with elementary and high schools, senior centers, homeless shelters, youth centers, community groups and everyone and anyone who could make a plastic flower. I was surprised (and delighted) by how many people made flowers at home and then dropped them off at their local library. A week before the CLP- South Side installation, it was a daily occurrence to walk into my office and find a garbage bag full of flowers from a local resident!

SouthSideOffice

As of today, all of the projects are installed! I can’t say enough about how enthusiastically and creatively my colleagues embraced this project. They rocked it. Every branch has something distinctive that reflects the personality of their community.

At CLP- Sheraden, the teens made flowers from discarded CDs and jeans.

At CLP- Woods Run and CLP- West End, they made huge free-standing wire flowers.

CLP- Squirrel Hill flowered their hanging book displays.

And CLP- East Liberty created huge vases of crocheted flowers.

EastLiberty

And of course, we repeated the pop-up garden we created last year when Pop des Fleurs got its start at CLP-South Side!

We even have official hashtags! #popdesfleurs #flowers4pgh

Next up: Photos of the final installations and what’s happening next! Birds? Dinosaurs? Butterfly gardens? The sky is the limit now! As long as I have one email address.

 

MeSuzy Waldo is the Library Services Manager at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh-South Side, which is her dream job. She’s left-handed, loves symmetry, presents, bike-riding and bacon. She hates birds. Her favorite books are The Life of Pi by Yann Martel and Microserfs by Douglas Coupland. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and has worked for Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh since 2004.

Pin It