The Joy of Arting

tl;dr for naturally artistic-types: posterize smaller images you want to use and then use a large window as a big ol’ lightbox.

This is a post that I have wanted to write since 2015, and I am delighted to finally be sharing this with y’all. Basically, I want to show you how to do this:

Don’t panic!!! I believe that you can do this.

What I’ll be sharing with you is something that my husband Bruce introduced me to: lightboxes.

Here’s a picture of the lightbox that Bruce used as a child:

Nowadays you can search “tracing lightbox” to see more examples of sleeker versions that many different types of artists use.

Okay. Here’s the cool thing: you already have free lightboxes at work and at home – your windows! I know that many of you will read this and think, “I have a projector which basically does the same thing.” True. But usually you need to be in a dimly lit room, and your hand can get in the way of what you’re wanting to trace. My technique can be done during work hours in full view of the public, and both parents and kids get a kick out of learning about what you’re doing.

Without further ado, here’s a step-by-step on how I created the above window display (and how you can, too!):

Find an image that you’d like to enlarge. Once you find something, then you can use whatever computer program you have that can print a “poster.” You’ll have options on sizes, so pick whichever will work best in your space. I opted to do a four-page poster using ledger paper.

After printing it out, you could simply cut and tape the paper together and hang it up that way, but it could look so much better. Like, people might think that you hired a professional artist to create your art.

The most likely limitation you may experience is having large enough paper available to cover your posterized image. Fortunately for me, the large roll of white paper that we use to cover our activity tables happens to be the perfect size.

Once you have your poster taped up onto a window so that it doesn’t move around, then you can cut a larger single sheet of paper to go over what you just taped up. Again, use enough tape to make sure that your top paper doesn’t shift while you work on it.

It’s tough to see in this picture, but I have all four corners of the big sheet taped down.

Next you do a heckuva lotta tracing.

highly recommend using Sharpie Brush pens – they don’t bleed as much as regular Sharpies, and they easily let you flow from thicker to thinner lines (or vice-versa). And for the larger black areas, I recommend the Sharpie Magnum – it’s a great time-saver.

Now you have the option to complete the entire tracing on the window, or once you get the outlines done, you can take it down and finish up the lines on a flat surface.

If the image is going on a non-transparent surface like a wall, then you’re done! But if it’s going in a window, then you’ll want to flip the paper over. You can either take down your taped-together poster and flip your sheet backwards (taping it up again) in the window to trace the same image, OR if the marker bled through enough, then you can trace it on a flat surface.

Cut out the completed artwork however you’d like. I left a bit of white around the edges to give a nice buffer between the image and the comic book paper. That’s what’s filling out the window: randomly torn up pieces from leftover Free Comic Book Day comics stuck up with many, many small cut-up pieces of packing tape. Many.

And there you have it: an attainable way to make yourself look like an artiste extraordinaire!

Summer Reading Booklets: The Rebookleting

I can hardly believe that the last time I wrote about our Summer Reading Program booklets was five summers ago. That’s utterly unreal to me. Since then I’ve heard from librarians across the country who have been interested in our program – and some who actually have done it with great success! Yay!!!

Over the years we have made some significant changes to the program that have made our program both easier and more popular than ever. Seriously. We have had people coming from the large city next door signing up for our program since they had heard about how great it is. And yeah, I’m totally beaming with pride while typing that.

Anywho.

Here are the highlights of our changes:

GOOGLE SHEETS

This is our main sheet. Librarians use the four columns on the left, although I’m just now realizing that this does not show the checkboxes within the Booklet Picked Up, 2nd, or Reminder Given columns. The five columns on the right are for my back office use. About three weeks into the program I will either email or call preregistered households of those who have yet to pick up their booklet(s).

This is a tab on our main sheet that we use for “walk-ins” i.e. anyone and everyone who didn’t preregister. Since we’re filling out the info and handing out the booklets right as we give the booklets out, then we only need a checkbox column for the Replacements.

I’m putting the bestest-best change here at the top. When our Children’s Librarian Jennifer suggested that we use Google Sheets for tracking booklets, I almost fell out of my chair – it was one of those things where I was like “WHY DID IT TAKE US SO LONG TO THINK OF THIS?!” And I’m a bit red-in-the-face because this realization happened just this year. Three weeks into the program. Heh.

But Jennifer’s idea was so fabulous that I made time (along with a fabulous Teen Intern named Jayden) to convert our old paper Excel sheets system into a Google Sheet. We did this for Pre-Registrants along with our Walk-ins. And the change was immediately felt and loved by everyone on our team. It also de-cluttered our small circulation desk.

The best part is that now we can hand out our booklets at both of our library locations (it’s a long story). Previously we limited booklet pick-ups to the Children’s Library, but next year we’ll be able to make our booklets even easier for our patrons to get.

INCENTIVE FOR HELPING US

To try and increase the number of people who preregister for the booklets, we make sure to let people know that they’ll get a bonus coupon if they 1. preregister, and 2. pick up their booklets within the first two weeks of the program. This is more of a bribe for the parents/caregivers. We do this because it helps us know how many booklets to print as well as helps get kids into reading mode sooner rather than later. We want this to be an active and fun memory-making experience, and the longer kids wait to get going, the less of an all-summer experience it is for them.

STAMPS STAMPS STAMPS

We know that stamps are always popular with the kids, but they are totally popular with us, too.

When we started out, we used a self-inking stamp. Eventually it gave up and became more of a pain to try and use. So we broke apart the unit and created hand-stamps using LEGO bricks and kragle.

And then, Jennifer came up with a wonderful idea: get some permanent stamps for use at our library, and then she could take the LEGO’d one to her off-site programs. And we have a lot of those because our site is teeeeny-tiny.

Aren’t they pretty?! I went through this Etsy seller and had a wonderful experience. Pricey? Yes. But worth every penny.

And we also made it an option for businesses who participate in our program to get a new small self-inking stamp. We drop them off when we drop off an example booklet to each business.

BOOST EVENT ATTENDANCE

Several years back, Jennifer hit upon the perfect bonus activity: attending library events. Need I say more?

COLLATE


Here’s another “bang your head on the desk it’s sooooo obvious” idea that Jennifer had a few years back. It has made creating the actual booklets a bajillion times easier:

Print out a master copy of the inner pages, and then use that to print out your booklets using the beautiful collate option. Since we use cardstock for the cover, then we have to do those by hand since our copy machine can’t handle automatically printing on both sides of thick paper.

TA-DA!!!

And I think that about covers all of the adjustments we’ve made over the years.

Finally, I want to do something that I didn’t do on my first post, and that’s to share our editable files for our booklets! Click on the image below to instantly get a zip file containing all of our Publisher files for our booklet! Enjoy!!!

Three Summer Savers

Hafuboti shares three of her library's best time and stress-savers during the hectic summer months | Hafuboti.com

In the almost-decade that I’ve worked at a public library (how the heckie-pooh did that happen?!), I can unequivocally state that summers are, at their mildest, hectic. And over time, our Children’s Library team has come up with a couple of simple time-savers/stress-reducers that I thought I should share to hopefully help someone else out there.

1. SKIP THE DISPLAYS

A cat freaks out and has a very wordy existential crisis. | Hafuboti.com

This evolved from a tip that I learned from this ALSC blog post by Abby Johnson many years ago (and which I implemented at our library). We have one spot in our Children’s Library where we make themed displays throughout the year – except in June and July. This year we even skipped having a sign that mentions in a theme-related way that these are popular books in our community. Did it affect our circulation of those items? No. Have patrons complained that the don’t get the concept? No.

And hey – if you’re a larger library that has plenty of titles to fill up summer-themed displays? Then go for it! For us, it takes one family to check out all of the theme-related books in our collection, therefore we’d rather keep the space dynamic with items almost constantly moving. It also majorly helps us out on shelving since we throw whatever we grab up into the empty spots and it looks great. Hooray for face-outs!!!

If you try this then you may be amazed at how many people think that you carefully curate the just-returned items. It’s also a lot of fun to tell a patron who compliments these “displays” that it’s actually the community and patrons like her who are the designers.

2. PUSH BACK THE BOOKS

Does Hafuboti regret this really bad Salt 'n Pepa pun? No. No she does not. | Hafuboti.com

If your library happens to keep its books flushed, then this tip is for you. If your library doesn’t do this, then you’re only getting two tips from this post. ::trombone wah-wah:: Now I’ve heard other terms for the practice of bringing the books’ spines up to the edge of the shelf, but “flushing” is what I learned when I worked at a bookstore years ago, and that’s what’s stuck with me.

Within a few months of working at my library, I came to the conclusion that flushing DVDs was a Sisyphean task. I asked our Director if we could just push back all of the DVDs to save time while also keeping the shelves looking neat and orderly. Thankfully he said yes. And so for years we have enjoyed not flushing that section.

Cut to a few years ago: keeping items flush at the Children’s Library can be a weekly challenge to say the least, but in the summertime it felt nearly impossible. That’s when I was like, “Wait. We’ve been here before.” And after discussing the pros and cons (the conniest being that it makes the spines a little less easy to see), we checked with our Director and she said to go for it!

Now every year on the last day of school, we go through and joyfully push back all of the Junior Fiction, Early Reader Fiction, and Junior Graphic Novels.

And when school’s back in session (or even a little before that depending on how busy it is or isn’t), we go back to flushing.

3. GET THOSE ITEMS OUT THERE

As ALSC puts it: "Babies Need Books Every Day." Don't upset the baby. | Hafuboti.com

Sometimes we run out of space on our reshelving cart(s), and then items start to pile up on our back counter. The last time this majorly happened to us was four years ago during the summer. I came up with this improvisation back then, and it wasn’t until this year that we needed to do it again (and for more sections than just our Picture Books).

I created and printed out a few signs, then put the ready-to-be-shelved items on top of the lower bookcases, and finally attached the signs to the bookends that were holding up the books. This year we even needed to do this in the movie section! Here’s a photo depicting (and recreating) what I’m trying to explain:

It's a simple sign with an emoji letting library patrons know that their library is use. Like, a lot. | Hafuboti.com

You’d be surprised at how many of those items would check out – especially in the Picture Book section. And once we had more than a few minutes of quiet, we went and shelved those items like the wind. We do have a very part time library page, but she has to rotate between our two library buildings. If we had never gotten a quiet time for us to get the excess shelved, then at least we would have helped her in terms of getting the items to the correct areas for her next shift at our library.

(And in the above picture you can also see our Junior Fiction Books shoved back.)

Anywho!

Here’s a set of the signs I created for you to download and print if/when you need them. It should hopefully save you some time if you’re rushing around trying to get things done. Click on each image to get a non-logo’d version of the respective sign.

You know you want this sign for your popular library and its books. Get it at Hafuboti.com. For free. | Hafuboti.com You know you want this sign for your popular library and its movies. Get it at Hafuboti.com. For free. | Hafuboti.com

And there you have it: three of our tips!

Do you have any tips or tricks that you’d like to share? Feel free to comment even if it seems like something obvious. You never know what will be a revelation to someone out there. I mean, looking back it seems so obvious that we should shove back our often shoved-back books just like we do with our DVDs. You just never know.

Libraries Are For Everyone: Guarani

Here’s another translation provided by Sebastián Alarcón: Guarani! Thank you again, Sebastián!!!

Libraries Are For Everyone in Guarani featuring three diverse library patrons on a rose background #LAFE #LibrariesR4Every1 | Hafuboti.com

Libraries Are For Everyone in Guarani featuring three diverse library patrons on an orange background #LAFE #LibrariesR4Every1 | Hafuboti.com

Libraries Are For Everyone in Guarani featuring three diverse library patrons on a yellow background #LAFE #LibrariesR4Every1 | Hafuboti.comLibraries Are For Everyone in Guarani featuring three diverse library patrons on a green background #LAFE #LibrariesR4Every1 | Hafuboti.comLibraries Are For Everyone in Guarani featuring three diverse library patrons on a blue background #LAFE #LibrariesR4Every1 | Hafuboti.comLibraries Are For Everyone in Guarani featuring three diverse library patrons on a purple background #LAFE #LibrariesR4Every1 | Hafuboti.com

Libraries Are For Everyone in Guarani featuring ten diverse library patrons on a yellow background #LAFE #LibrariesR4Every1 | Hafuboti.com

A NOTE: I am slowly working on getting my artwork uploaded onto the Wikimedia Commons for people to find it easier all the while making all of it “officially” licensed. That said – my entire blog here is under a Creative Commons Attribute/Share Alike license – so know that I both want and encourage everyone to download, share, modify, and have fun with my work!

I also want to reiterate what I’ve stated in the past since I can’t make it an exception within the license: I do not want my name (given or business) on my minimalist art. It sort of ruins the clean lines and elegance. Just don’t tell people that you’re the creator – I’m fine with you crediting it to “an awesome Punk Rock Book Jockey blogger” if you can’t recall either of my names. Or write by Hafuboti on the back in pencil if you’re worried about it. Seriously. Have fun.

I plan on putting this note on the bottom of all of my Libraries Are For Everyone posts so if you’ve read the above paragraph once, then you won’t need to again (unless you really want to).

 

Libraries Are for Everyone: Catalan

I was contacted by a language enthusiast named Sebastián Alarcón, who gave me four new translations to turn into LAFE signs. Up first is Catalan! Thank you so much, Sebastián!!!

Libraries Are For Everyone in Catalan featuring three diverse library patrons on a rose background #LAFE #LibrariesR4Every1 | Hafuboti.com

Libraries Are For Everyone in Catalan featuring three diverse library patrons on an orange background #LAFE #LibrariesR4Every1 | Hafuboti.com

Libraries Are For Everyone in Catalan featuring three diverse library patrons on a yellow background #LAFE #LibrariesR4Every1 | Hafuboti.com

Libraries Are For Everyone in Catalan featuring three diverse library patrons on a green background #LAFE #LibrariesR4Every1 | Hafuboti.com

Libraries Are For Everyone in Catalan featuring three diverse library patrons on a blue background #LAFE #LibrariesR4Every1 | Hafuboti.com

Libraries Are For Everyone in Catalan featuring three diverse library patrons on a purple background #LAFE #LibrariesR4Every1 | Hafuboti.com

Libraries Are For Everyone in Catalan featuring ten diverse library patrons on a yellow background #LAFE #LibrariesR4Every1 | Hafuboti.com

A NOTE: I am slowly working on getting my artwork uploaded onto the Wikimedia Commons for people to find it easier all the while making all of it “officially” licensed. That said – my entire blog here is under a Creative Commons Attribute/Share Alike license – so know that I both want and encourage everyone to download, share, modify, and have fun with my work!

I also want to reiterate what I’ve stated in the past since I can’t make it an exception within the license: I do not want my name (given or business) on my minimalist art. It sort of ruins the clean lines and elegance. Just don’t tell people that you’re the creator – I’m fine with you crediting it to “an awesome Punk Rock Book Jockey blogger” if you can’t recall either of my names. Or write by Hafuboti on the back in pencil if you’re worried about it. Seriously. Have fun.

I plan on putting this note on the bottom of all of my Libraries Are For Everyone posts so if you’ve read the above paragraph once, then you won’t need to again (unless you really want to).