This summer I’m taking on the exciting (and sometimes daunting) task of helping on both the Children’s and the Adult Summer Reading Program. I’m also there for our Young Adult Librarian in case she needs anything (but she’s awesome, so I doubt I’ll need to do much). Our library participates in the Collaborative Summer Library Program, so every year we get a fun theme with which to play. This year the children’s theme is Dig into Reading. Needless to say, I, like many library workers, have been brainstorming what we can do with that theme from the moment it was announced.
Long story shortish, a few months ago I had a flash of inspiration – and I know it was because I saw some other librarian’s work with making really great looking 3-D “I Spy” display case, and then saw this adorable artwork by Amy Schimler. My guess (because I’m not 100% sure how my mind works most of the time – just ask my coworkers), is that I saw the word “found” on Schimler’s piece, I thought “lost and found,” which led to “seek and find,” looping to “I Spy.” SHAZAM! I knew that I wanted to make a giant seek-and-find poster featuring burrowing animals for one of our front windows this summer. Children would pick up the “worksheets” pointing them to what they need to find at our circulation desk, and then could spend some time outside our building looking for the “hidden” animals. The added bonus is that the giant poster would also provide some much-needed shade during the hottest months of the year (woe to the library worker who must sit in that position closest to the windows – it gets hot).
I spent time searching for public domain clip art and quickly decided that I liked the old fashioned-looking woodcut animals. Because of their aged look, I’m guessing that’s what led me to thinking about how cool they’d look with old paper. I again raided our ongoing book sale and found several perfect options. I also found some good book clip art that came close to matching the animals’ styles. After all, I needed to have something for the kids to seek: the animals interacting with the books.
I’ve been working on this poster off-and-on for the past two months (between finding the clip art, doing some photoshopping, printing, cutting – with a HUGE assist from Mary – and lots and lots of taping), and this weekend I finally added all of the animals. At this point all I need to do is add the rest of the small footprints and books, which will wait until the day it goes up. I had to gently fold up the giant poster and hope that the majority of what I’d stuck on today with double-sided tape would remain stuck-on.
All this is to say that I want to share this with anyone out there that would like to use the imagery that I found, or that I tweaked. Below are pdfs of the animals, books, “hidden” animals, and footprints that you should feel free to download and use. If you’d like me to also send you the jpegs or pngs, then just contact me via email and I’ll send any or all to you that you’d like. You can also simplify this concept to the core and use white craft paper and print out the animals/books on white paper, then cut/paste! One more note: the “hidden aardvark” is the only one I feel that I could’ve done better, but with time being an issue, I just went with the blurry version that I created.
Update: This display was up for two full months – and it was definitely popular…for a couple of weeks. It was dramatic and fun, but once a child had found the animals once, they had no desire to do it again. However, we have gotten some wonderful feedback about it, and so in the future we may do a different variation on this. I’m thinking that we should figure out a way to change the images-to-be-found on a weekly basis, and that would probably keep it fresh to the children. Finally, it was also super-awesome at blocking the harsh sunlight that comes in in the morning – so no matter what, we’ll have something large-scale next summer to help the staff working closest to the window from suffering the heat and glare.