Shadow Play Signs

This is one of those ideas that I really can’t explain how I came up with it.
It just sort of happened.

About a month prior to having this idea, I had a realization: use all of the front entryway windows at our main library building for programming flyers. Prior to this idea, all events were limited to the windows in and next to the front door. It was getting crowded since we hired an amazing Adult Services Librarian, and this was such an elegantly simple solution that I know that I ::headdesked:: the moment that the thought occurred to me.

We dedicated the door’s windows for super-special events (like in the image below, there is a Food for Fines sign in the door’s upper window). So the event windows go from left to right Kids Events, Teen Events, and Adult Events:

The front exterior of our main library building where programming signs are posted within their respective age groups |

A closeup of both the Teen Events and Adult Events windows featuring lots of flyers |

And yes, my regular readers will immediately spot how clean and shiny the windows are. I believe in first impressions being good ones, and having clean windows? It shows we care. Or like shiny things. Or both.

The thing with window signs is (and I hate to admit how long it took me to realize this with our event flyers – I’m talking years), they need to have things on both sides so that the people inside aren’t left to look at a bunch of blank sheets of paper taped to our windows. And with how much sunlight our building gets? It can make reading the signs difficult from the inside with all of the bleed-through – so after years of looking at the blank back side of flyers, we started puting either a sheet of dark paper or card stock between two signs to make them easy to read.

All of that brings us to the idea that I had one day: why not cut out a fun silhouette related to the event and use that to sandwich the two signs? I tried it out and immediately fell in love with it. Depending on how the sunlight is hitting the library, you can either see the shadowy image hidden within the signs, or it completely disappears.

The toughest thing is finding a good, simple image to cut out. If it’s too fussy, then the sign will be even more difficult to read. Once we find a good image, then it’s printed it out onto a piece of card stock, and then cut it out:

Black and white clipart featuring a fork, knife, and spoon printed on card stock and cut out |

Here are some examples of the finished product:

A jack-o-lantern's shadow appears when the sun shines through our library's All Hallows Read sign | Silhouette of a dog wearing a witch hat for our October therapy dog reading time flyer |


A silhouette of a spoon, knife, and fork appear when the sun hits our library's Cook Book Club sign just right |

I cannot fully express how sad I am that there were water spots on our windows the day that I took interior photos. Okay, I’m not that sad, but it still irks me a bit.

We don’t do this for every single sign, but I definitely think that the ones with hidden images are more eye catching.

There you have it: a simple way to kick your window signs up a notch. Yay!

Having a Poke Ball

Our summer programming usually goes through the end of August, and like public librarians everywhere, we’re exhausted once it’s over. Generally in September I try and give our team a break from decorating, and we “reset” the library to a neutral state. Which can be fun since it’s generally when we get the most compliments (usually via the “oh – you didn’t do anything this month – I always love seeing what you all do!” sort of way). But every-once-in-a-while there comes a decor opportunity that we can’t pass by.

It was that case this past September.

The Pokemon Go! phenomena was in full swing, and one of our staff members (::waves hi:: to Ashlynn) was totally hooked. So I asked her if she’d like to put together a Pokemon Go! Crawl event. After I got up from the floor and recovered from her hug tackle, I then asked Natasia to do something in the windows, but not go too crazy. I swear that I have the best Marketing Minion ever – check out what she did:

Three giant pokeballs featured on the front windows at our Children's Library |


Interior picture featuring two enormous pokeballs in our library's front windows |

These were a HUGE hit with people of all ages. Besides the Pokemon Go! Crawl event (which was also an ENORMOUS hit), we had a Pokemon scavenger hunt irl for kids who didn’t have the ability to access the app for any reason. That was extremely popular as well.

I’m so glad that my team made the effort to do more work than usual post-summer programming. It was a great experience for both patrons and staff alike.

Our Chalkboard Window

At some point this past summer I had a flash of inspiration. It’s probably because I saw yet another awesome chalkboard sidewalk sign on Pinterest, which made me want to do something like that.

Then the location of it came about because although I love having windows everywhere in our building, I don’t like the one that’s right by my desk. Light would bounce off of parked cars and into my eyes and I would have to creatively place various objects in the window sill in order to block it. Also people would randomly bang on the window or just stare creepily through it and at me.

Front exterior of the Children's Library with an arrow pointing at the front office window |

I took the above picture right after I had finished cleaning every window in the library (both inside and outside). I adore this picture because of how shiny those widows are. Just look at ’em! You could eat off of those windows, although gravity would make it difficult.

So one day I was like “OMG WE CAN PUT THE CHALK BOARD INSIDE THE WINDOW SILL TO KEEP THE BOARD LOOKING NICE, ADVERTISING OUR EVENTS TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE NEVER COME INSIDE OUR LIBRARY, ALL THE WHILE GIVING ME MORE PRIVACY!” I pretty much sent an email like that to my Director. Caps and all. Thankfully she loved the idea and suggested that her very handy dad might be able to put something together.

And, like two weeks later I had an awesome chalkboard in the window! Our Director’s dad had the perfect sized wood piece, and leftover chalk paint from a previous project so when it arrive it was practically a completed project: woohoo! It is utterly gratifying to have a flash of inspiration turn into reality that fast.

I then asked our very talented Natasia to take over the task of making the board look great – and that she did. She took some donated violet paint and painted the plain wooden backside, and then used chalk markers for almost all of the signs (we tried regular chalk and it was too hard work with as well as to read).

Check it out:

Our first chalkboard window sign at the library |

As you can see above, we changed the chalkboard weekly during the busy summer months. For all of the non-summer-programming months, we change it on a month-by-month basis:

Exterior view of our chalkboard window in September featuring the month's children's events |

You might have noticed on the second photo that there’s a small image in the lower left-hand corner of the window. That was our way of communicating a very important fact that we felt should really stand out and get non-library members’ attention. It’s taped to the window, and not to the chalkboard. Here’s a rainy day closeup:

A cartoon version of our Children's Librarian's head telling readers that they don't need a library card to attend our events |

Boom. Marketing our events to anyone who walks by.

I added some fun photocopied book covers to the back side so that I wasn’t just looking at a giant purple rectangle. And our Director picked up a tension rod to keep the board from falling in on me (the wood is heavy and getting hit with it would definitely hurt).

Ah, the cheerful privacy! Plus, on occasion I can hear kids on the outside excitedly exclaim things about our events.

It’s also been a big hit with our community! We’ve had many people tell us that it’s great to see a breakdown of what’s going on in an easy-to-read format. It has also helped get people to the right location when we’re having a children’s event at our other library building. For example: when we had our most recent Kitty Cafe, the Humane Society representative went to the Children’s Library thinking that the event was there. The building was closed, but there was the event listed on our chalkboard which indicated where she needed to go instead. Yay! Kitty cat-tastrophe diverted!

Have you done anything like this at your library? Please share in the comments – I’d love to know about it. And as always, don’t hesitate to ask me any questions about this. Chalk On.

Here Come the Punk Rock Book Jockeys

Carla Hayden, Amy Poehler, and Hypatia of Alexandria saint-like and ready to kick Punk Rock Book Jockey butt |
For a while I’ve been teasing something called Punk Rock Book Jockeys. Now the teasing is over; I have released it for better or worse (I’m hoping for better).

Follow this link to learn what a Punk Rock Book Jockey is.

TLDR: It’s past time to usher in a golden age of public libraries by transforming library workers. For reals.

Monarch butterfly gif DWI - deal with it |

Family Fandom Festival

Have you made it through all of my holiday postings?

If your answer is “yes,” then you know what you should do?

Sparkly pink words of "Treat Yo Self" |

I know that I will!

While working on all of my holiday posts, I kept debating whether or not to create foundation programs for pop-culture-based celebrations. The thought of writing at least a dozen more holiday posts made me want to cry. But then I had a flash of inspiration:


I shall call this program The Family Fandom Festival where all ages and all fandoms can come to the library and celebrate their holiday nerdery together.

Family Fandom Festival for libraries flyer featuring many pop-culture celebrations |

Click on the above flyer template to get a larger version that you can download and use for your library’s celebration.

This event could be done in so many ways – especially depending on who in your community would enjoy cosplaying during the holiday season (and not just as Antasay Lauscay). Here’s a list of holidays that I selected, but you can definitely find and incorporate more – after all, the more the merrier!

Get some meat lovers pizzas, dust off your Vader helmet, and ring your bells!
*whispers* so much pop cultuuuuure…


Here are two scavenger hunt sheets that you can also use for a display. Click on the two image collages for a letter-sized version that you can download and print:

Imagery from pop culture holiday events for a scavenger hunt or display |

Set of images from various pop culture holiday celebrations for a scavenger hunt or library display |


You have so many options here! Whether you have a sing-along portion of the event, or put together a playlist for background music – you’ll be sure to have fun with lots of these:

And in honor of my all-time favorite princess Carrie Fisher:
And there you have it: the final post of Library Holidaypalooza!

Hopefully you learned something (I know that I did) and have been inspired. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll rethink holiday programming at your library as a result. If not? At least I know that I tried.

If you happen to have started at the end of this series, then you should start here, or you can follow the holidays tag.


(It totally is. I am utterly sick and tired of coming up with holiday programs.)

Deal with it |