Leyburn Library features student-curated Mock Convention exhibit

Mock Convention’s Operations Director said she was inspired by digging through the archives

Jack Eason

Leyburn Library, well-known by students for its highly sought-after study carrels, bean bags and nap spots, had a new look during September: the Mock Convention exhibit.

Kylie Piotte, ‘21, the operations director for Mock Convention, worked with librarian Emily Cook to curate an exhibit showcasing the history of the 110-year-old university tradition.

“We needed something to start people talking about it,” Piotte said.

Piotte said the idea came from her discovery of old campaign posters and other memorabilia in the Mock Convention office. She took some of the items to Special Collections, where Tom Camden, the department head, showed her more.

“I spent a lot of time in the spring and this fall pulling pieces from the vault and seeing what would look good and tell the story of Mock Convention,” Piotte said.

The exhibit included news articles about Sen. Alben Barkley’s mid-speech death at the 1956 Mock Convention, a commemorative bottle of Jim Beam from 1980 and Jimmy Carter’s signed keynote speech from 1972.

Cook worked closely with the group to coordinate the display of these notable items, plus t-shirts, photographs and souvenirs in the space.

“I don’t want to just showcase things the library thinks are cool,” Cook said, who has been planning exhibitions in the space for more than two years. “I really want it to be a space for students, faculty and classes to showcase what they’re interested in.”

Cook said she was excited for the opportunity to recognize the majority of campus in the library’s exhibit space on the main floor. Mock Convention boasts a student involvement rate of more than 90 percent.

“I really think Mock Convention’s curation in our space is a wonderful utilization of it,” she said.