Two More October Library Displays

I absolutely love being surrounded at work by such creative people.  I had to put together a post to show off two of my coworkers’ work from the past two days.

Here’s Kendall’s Teen Read Week interactive display:

Super-cute Teen Read Week book recommendation display featuring a Toy Story alien.

I played with the photo some (it was rather dim) so I adjusted to black and white and kept the alien in color. The sign to the right is actually bright yellow.  I stopped by the Main Library to grab this picture, and so far there were five recommendations left by the teens.

Over at Children’s we have this whiteboard that can be used for events if we want to, however, it’s rarely used for that purpose.  We have magnetic letters that we can use to spell out things, but they tend to get jumbled by curious kids (not necessarily a bad thing).  But for most of the year, I’ve had Mary draw fun things to advertise events and the like.

Yesterday an old display came down for our 50 Books in 50 Days challenge and I asked her to do something for All Hallows Read. This is what she did:

Using a whiteboard to decorate the library. Easy to change out for various events/times of the year.

It’s tough to see from my picture, but the poster has cool scalloped edges.  I absolutely love the ghost (I’m still trying to figure out his/her name).  It’s a really nice touch to the Children’s spooky decor for this month, and so far has inspired at least one child’s artwork.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love working with such talented and creative people!

A Gorey Display

With us being very short-staffed, having wrapped up Star Wars Reads Day, and needing to take over four weekly ongoing storytimes over the next month or so, I needed to get a quick and dramatic display up at our Main Library.

I came up with the concept of having it be a headstone (and had even fabricated one using cardboard boxes, duct tape, and white craft paper), but then had one of those random inspirations that it should have a very Edward Gorey-esque feel.  I emailed Mary my idea and then attached this post for her to look at the modified Nat’l Library Symbol.

When I got to work next she had the symbol traced out, and she and Brittany had come up with several ideas for the name on the headstone.  We went with the one that made me laugh the most (yes, I have a corny sense of humor).  Mary absolutely rocked the painting.  I then had her paint cross-hatching on a piece of copy paper, and I copied that paper. Using the copies, I papered the table.  I “feathered” some of the paper to add grass to the back of the table and around the tombstone.

When I finished, I had less than five minutes to add books and take pictures (a self-imposed deadline since I really didn’t want to come back to this display – it was the end of the workday for me).  I felt like a reality show contestant rushing through the aisles grabbing books (yes, normally I love cross-merchandising but the clock was ticking), and arranging them on the table.  The display is a bit King and Koontz-heavy, but our library page had just been complaining about how tight it was in that area (voila! a bonus problem temporarily solved).

I’m very pleased with the display: it’s clean and very dramatic.  I kept throwing ideas out (like adding figures), but wisely Mary reminded me of time and scale. The only regret I have is that I didn’t think of the Gorey idea until after I had made the headstone.  I would have definitely made it look more like one of the headstones from the beginning of PBS’ Mystery.

Getting Caught Up

I have really been looking forward to my first Halloween as Creative Director at my library – mainly because I’d have the Children’s Library as a canvas for cleverness.  Long-story-short, due to quite a few unexpected circumstances, I had to scrap some of my more ambitious ideas and get it done as quickly as possible.  And let me say, I could not have made it work without my super-creative team – they are amazeballs.

Basically, we focused on the cute and popular book display that says “Get Caught Up in a Good Book” where books are caught in a spider’s web (this is the first one that I saw that was my inspiration).

We took it several steps farther. We made it huge (and ran out of black masking tape which we plan to get more of to finish off the front windows), shrank photocopies of spooky books down (front and back) and added wings to them, and also added 3D spiders reading spider-related books that twirl in the air currents.

With the spiders, I had a very specific look I wanted, which was for them to look like yarn balls, and also like Studio Ghibli‘s dust sprites.  I had a small crafting meltdown when I started to assemble their parts since they weren’t really coming out like I had imagined. However, I didn’t have time to tweak them at all and just made it work. I think that they look kind of like the dust sprites, so I’m calling it a victory.

An unexpected bonus was that our newest hire, Brittany, was working on the black poster board for the spiders’ frames when she realized she’d have some leftover scraps. So she proposed making a display featuring books about cats and I wholeheartedly agreed to let her go for it.  It went up on what I’m now calling our “Great Wall of Puns” and says “Check out one of these pawsitively purrfect books!” She then cut out 13 cat paws, a kitty cat, and 13 tails to stick into our books on cats. It is beyond cute and her first completely solo display. My only critique (which she totally agrees with) was that the font should have been much, much bigger.

And yes, I’m already making plans for next year’s Halloween displays. I probably have some sort of “display disorder” or something.

UPDATE: FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY – DO NOT USE MASKING TAPE IN YOUR WINDOWS!!!  I thought that it might need some extra clean-up, but not to the extent that it turned out to be.  It took lots of WD-40 and razor blades to scrape off the gunk left behind.  I may try painter’s tape in the future, but never ever masking tape again.  Lesson learned.

Window Games

I have a lot of fun trying to decide what to do with our giant front windows that take up most of the face of our building.  One idea that I’ve been exploring (once before with the Epic Picture Find) is having games or activities be the display.  So far I don’t think that I’ve really hit on the best combination of prep-time vs. payoff, but by golly, I’m going to keep trying.

For this month I had been planning a display that was inspired by this post, but I wanted to have fun with our dragon mascot and Photoshop.  I also immediately had a vision of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?  and so Where in Gretna is Booker T. Dragon? was born.

I had the best time going around town taking pictures and sort of setting up in my mind the way I’d insert the images of our mascot.  And for the most part what I saw in my mind’s eye became reality.  Here’s four of my favorite in a montage (because everything’s better in a montage).  Wait.  That’s film.  I guess this here’s a collage (because most thing’s are consolidated in a collage):

I ended up making nine pictures total that were numbered (both front and back so that kids could either do the game inside or outside).  I also made a little worksheet that the kids would pick up at the circulation desk. If they turned in a complete and correct worksheet, then they’d win a sticker featuring Booker.

Here’s what the whole shebang looks like:

The one thing I’m so glad that I thought of doing was putting a piece of black construction paper between the two printouts of the images. This gave them a nice black border, and also blocked the light so the pictures were solid and easy to see.

As of my writing this post, only three children have done the game – and all three had a blast.  One girl even wanted to keep her worksheet as a momento.  Two of the kids put their sticker of Booker on their library cards.  The best part was watching a mom and daughter interact as the daughter kept trying to get hints from the mom.

But this is the thing that kills me: any time we have passive programming (which, admittedly, has only been introduced this year to the library with my encouragement), I am shocked at how little the patrons will initiate the activity on their own.  However, if we point it out (and this includes the giant picture find – how do you miss that?) then both children and parents have a wonderful time together which is one of the main goals.

I do hope to figure out a way to get both children and adults more motivated to do the things that we create for them.  If I figure out what on earth works, then I’ll be sure to share – I’ll definitely continue experimenting.  If you happen to know the answer (or have suggestions), then please share!

Biography Week for Sharks

We’ve had a very good response to the Shark Week display that I put up this week – so I thought that I’d share it along with some .jpegs and a .pdf of the simple sign that I made.  Feel free to use, modify, or do anything else with these images. I made them media files, so you should be able to get to the larger file by clicking on the image for the meme-style images in this post.

If you happen to have Photoshop capabilities, then it should be very easy to remove our library’s library card and insert your own :)

We’re trying to keep the items on display all non-fiction, but with how popular this has been, some fiction books (hello Shark Wars!) have been creeping in here and there.