Cat Fans!

Before last year’s Kitty Cafe I had an idea. You see, it tends to get pretty hot in our small meeting room during this event, even if we pump up the A/C beforehand. So it’d be nice to have fans to give to people. And, in the way my mind works, I came up with “cat fan” fans.

The biggest regret that I have about my original design was putting the year on the back side. We had a handful of these fans left afterwards, and we wouldn’t be able to re-use them.

They’re very easy to put together, with the cutting-time being the longest aspect. I used larger craft sticks, and printed the images on cardstock. I’d cut out the back side and glue it to the stick. Then I’d cut out the cat face, cover its back side with glue, and staple it onto the stick. After pressing the front and back side together, then I’d make any cutting adjustments to the back side. Et voilà! It’s a cat fan.

Now you can make your very own! Click on the image below to download a pdf featuring my original designs. I’m pretty sure that there’s artifacts and random splotches around the outside of the cat faces – don’t worry about any of those since they’ll be cut out in the end.

And while putting this post together, I realized that many people post-Tiger King are now bigger big cat fans, and I made a new set of fans just for fun. Again, click on the image below to get three big cats and a backside template.

If you’d like to learn more about our Kitty Cafes, then check out both this post and this other one.

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or issues with these. I’ll get back with you ASAP.

Until then, happy cat fanning!


If you happen to like this sort of run-down on themes, then you might want to check out my 2017 and 2018 posts.

I mention Natasia throughout this post quite a few times. In case you’re unaware of who she is, she was my right-hand creative rock star who did the vast majority of the concept and creation of what you’ll be seeing (including photos of her own work). A few weeks ago we said goodbye as she moved on to a non-library job. She is deeply missed.

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to me in any way to get more details or answers to your questions about anything. I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Now on to the themes!!!

January: Dragon Magic

This was a simple, but very effective theme. As kids approached the door, they’d see a magical book, and when they stepped inside, they’d be greeted by this large dragon (who came out of the book).

Our community’s mascot is a dragon, and so this was quite popular. We had a wide variety of dragon-themed books on display, and the display was always nearly empty.

Thankfully, Natasia’s beautiful dragon found a home within a Gretna teacher’s classroom once this month was over. We do that a lot with parts of our themes: giving them away at the end of the month. Sometimes it’s through social media contests, or more often than not, when someone inquires about it.

February: Febru-bear-y

BEARS!!!! Goodness knows we had enough bear-related items to put out at our reading bench display.

That bear waving “hi” and “bye” to everyone was just the sweetest. He got a good number of high-fives from kids on their way into the library.

This also marks the first facts display created by Natasia. Our team would have a blast when she’d show off all of the cool facts she’d compiled for the themes. It was also really nice to hear kids and their caregivers talking about all of the posted information.

March: Farm Fun

For many years, our city has been the fastest growing city in Nebraska. While we are right next to Omaha, we still have farmland to the south and west of us. So anytime we do anything farm-related, it tends to be a hit with both kids and adults.

It was also fun to see kids notice the cow in our front window’s barn. We decided to box it in since the toy would be within arms reach of almost any curious kiddo.

April & May: For the Birds

We put out bird coloring sheets for the kids in April and then filled the windows with their creations in May. Neither Natasia nor myself remembered to get a picture of the entire front display, but you get the general idea of it with the top photo. What you can’t see is the power poles Natasia created where the twine is attached so it looks like the birds are perched on power lines. There were also flying birds, but the perchers easily won the popularity contest.

The cut paper she used to create the birds on the inside display was really cool. The little feather tufts you see were somehow tucked into the main portion of the birds giving them a depth and texture.

June & July: CSLP’s Universe of Stories

Natasia (who you catch a glimpse of in the 3rd picture down) found this great rocket template on Etsy. I believe that it’s this one. She also found a simple star template and hung those around as well. She used discarded books and other paper that we had on hand to create a space super-highway across our ceiling.

I wish that you could get a better feel for how large the blue and white rocket was. I’d estimate it at around 3 feet tall. We gave it away in a Facebook post, so there’s one lucky kid out there who has a sweet rocket in his or her room.

August: Science!

Our two summer teen interns wanted their focus to be on being Creative Directors, so they helped design August’s scientific theme. They put together the display sign using the periodic table to spell out a phrase (which I can’t seem to find!!!), gave Natasia the concept of oversized science things using colorful pieces of cellophane, and wanted the facts board to be about female scientists.

The cellophane was such a cool effect that we’ll have to try using it again with something in the future.

September: Reading ‘Round the World

The above photo shows how tight the workspace is here. Anything that’s large needs to be able to move in an instant in case someone needs help or access to a space in the library. Natasia was fantastic at making that happen.

The heart in the above sign was made using flags from around the world.

I loved the recycled book hot air balloons so much that three of them float above my desk.

October: Creepy Carrots

Author Aaron Reynolds visited our schools back in 2017, and the kids here continue to be huge fans. So when Natasia asked if she could do a Creepy Carrots themed October, I was totally for it.

I truly love what she did here. From the dead-on replication of the artwork, to creating the “Wall-O-Creepy Carrots,” she nailed it. And in terms of the whiteboard, the kids would decorate a carrot and then come up and ask for the googly eyes.

Oh – and the scavenger hunt!!! Natasia made the creepy underwear (the spikes are from leftover cellophane from the previous month), and I scanned them in to make prize stickers. It was one of our most popular scavenger hunts of the year.

November: Nutty About Books

I’m going to jump in here to let you know a bit more about this display. Natasia had it up and looking fabulous, when I walked by and yelled “SQUIRREL!” and then started laughing. I told Natasia that I thought we should have Dug from Disney’s Up! yelling his famous line somewhere in the display. So Natasia very graciously made it happen.


What a simple, but very popular theme! The simple garland that was draped across the windows was a nice change from our typically large scale displays. And the book display was almost always completely checked out which was a pleasant surprise.

December: Sesame Street’s 50th Anniversary

Typically we celebrate a children’s book artist during the month (we affectionately call it Decemberley after Ed Emberley), but this year we went a different direction. Since it was Sesame Street‘s 50th anniversary, we wanted to do something special, and we only had December left in terms of decor openings in 2019.

Again, Natasia’s work was a beautiful sight to behold. Oscar was my absolute favorite since his trashcan was made using metallic silver tissue paper, and he had Slimey with him. But the younger crowd was so excited to see their favorite Muppets – it was a delight to behold.

I created the sign for the reading bench display, using a digital file from Etsy (which is no longer available), and changing the street’s name to Winter Reads.

And there you have it: our 2019 Children’s Library themes!

A Great Update

Besides recently giving our library’s community space a muchneeded update, I’ve also been trying to make our office a bit nicer. I share this office with Jennifer, our Children’s Librarian, and it’s pretty much the hub for the rest of our team.

The doorway leading out to the circulation desk has had its share of fun decor over the years. This is a photo taken a few years back:

In an earlier version of this post, I had gone into detail as to what was going on in this photo. But honestly? It was really boring. I wanted this post to be brief, and have a fun Before & After element to it.

So I made it short and sweet.

Without further ado, here’s what it looks like today:


It feels SO GOOD to declutter and beautify our small office space.

I’m also going to throw in a super-simple tutorial for those who may never given laminating much thought. If you want to take your laminating to a whole new level? Use some tape and some super glue.

A Super-Simple Laminating Tutorial

  • First, I taped one inner-side of the laminating sheet down in order to make it a stable surface.
  • Second, I used the natural straight line created between the wood edging and the laminate top as a guide to line up the letters.
  • Third, I used a bit of super glue on the back of the letters to stick them exactly where I wanted them.
  • Finally, I removed the tape and easily transferred the sheet over and into the laminator.


Now if you’re reading this and realize that this is where I’m going to leave you, and you’re like, “But wait! I want more details!!! WHY HAVE YOU FORESAKEN ME?!?!?” Sorry about that! Just ask for details on any aspect in the comments, on social media, or by email ( I promise: you haven’t been…foresakened? foresook? foresaked? I haven’t abandoned you.


This is my second post designed to help catch you up with the monthly themes that we have at our Children’s Library. Here’s the first post like this: the 2017 themes If you have any questions whatsoever about anything you see here, there, or anywhere on my blog, then don’t hesitate to ask me! Either in the comments, on social media, or at

I hope to get caught up to where we are now over the next few weeks. This process is a very bittersweet one for me since as of this past week, my right-hand assistant and amazing artist Natasia, has moved on from our library. Almost all of these themes were her creations from start to finish. She is deeply missed.

Now onto the themes before I start crying.

January 2018: Cameo Appearances

I have already posted about this. Here’s a quick visual:

The exterior front windows and door at our Children's Library. In January 2018 we celebrated "Cameo Appearances" and showed off our biographies |

We highlighted our biographies in January 2018 |

February 2018: ???

Well, this is a lost theme. Neither Natasia nor myself could remember what this theme was. D’oh!

March: Mysterious March

Mystery solved! I found the missing March pictures. Here they are:

I was very pleased with how many parents got a kick out of the scavenger hunt sign. They’d be reading it aloud to their kids, and were obviously amused at the “highly impractical” line.

April: Artsy April

Natasia was again allowed to do any artsy thing she wanted for what ended up being our final Artsy April. It wasn’t that we hated the theme, it was more like we had so many other themes that we’d rather do instead.

May: May Flowers

Natasia had hoped that May would be a less-stressful theme by having kids and caregivers color two styles of flowers that we had at our activity tables. My favorite flower design was by our Library Page at the time, Wendy. I ended up laminating her Totoro flower as soon as it came down, and it’s on our office wall.

But, you may have caught on that I said hoped that this would be less stressful. It was a great theory, but she ended up (even with us all trying to help her) spending a lot of time cutting out flowers instead of working on the upcoming summer’s theme.

The top gif was created by Natasia, and was a blast to share online with our patrons, and now with you.

June & July: CLSP’s Libraries Rock

Honestly, the summer of 2018 was an absolute blur. I was Acting Director (my Director was on maternity leave), we had just lost our Young Adult Librarian to a full-time library job elsewhere, I was President-Elect of the Nebraska Library Association during one of its most tumultuous times, and my husband and I (after our landlord unexpectedly decided to sell the house we were renting) went through the process of buying our first home and moving into said home. ::eye twitches::

But you’re here for the themes, so let me get back on track.

In the second photo, you can see that there are music notes hung from the ceiling with fishing line. Well, you can’t see the fishing line (that’s why we use it), but you also can’t see the glitter on the notes. So not only did they twirl in the air currents, they also glittered. They were one of the bright spots during this difficult time.

August: Our Library Is Doggone Great!

I’m a bit embarrassed that I was the most involved in this theme, and it’s the one I took the most pictures of. I can has ego. But, this theme was created by the teens who were in our Teen Summer Internship program.

The teens decided that for their big project, they’d be creative directors for one month. Based on our discussions of advocacy, they came up with “Our Library Is Doggone Great,” and to have a dog walk to benefit our Library Foundation. Unfortunately, for all the reasons I mentioned in June/July, helping to organize that awesome idea for an event was beyond me. At least we were able to get up the decor that they had helped to created, and shared it with our community.

One of the intern’s aunts worked for a no-kill dog shelter, and was able to supply us with great photos that we could use. So I taught the teens some basic Photoshop skills, and they each got a chance to create their own dog face. Yay! Then I finished ‘shopping the doggos, and then had fun turning real or imaginary books into something fun for the dogs to read. On the exterior, the books were flat, but on the inside, we folded the book covers along their spines to give the books a fun 3D pop appearance.

The reading bench display says “Sit! Stay! Read!”

If you have need for any dog faces, or silly doggo-based books, then click on the images below to get pdfs for you to use however you’d like!

September: We took our annual break from themes.

The following year, we took the break before summer so that there was more time to prep for more summer decor. That was a good idea.

October: Creepy Crawlies

Having freed ourselves from holiday themes years ago, we continue finding fun ways to acknowledge the season without alienating anyone. Well, this time at least those who don’t have arachnophobia.

Natasia’s skills with tissue paper, cardstock, and pretty much anything, are always incredible to watch. These photos don’t do her work justice.

November: Owls Whooo Read

I wish that there was a better photo showing the gorgeous front windows that featured owls reading books in the woods. We only had the one above, and I had to boost the light and saturation a lot just so you can maybe get the gist.

Thankfully, I took a good picture of the owls before they were put in the window.

Natasia’s amazing work inspired me to create some coloring sheets for the activity tables. And I’m happy to share them with you, too. Just click on the below image for your very own set.

December: Decemberley featuring Eric Carle’s Draw Me a Star

Natasia made these really beautiful stars using Eric Carle’s technique with thin cardboard, tissue paper, and paint. The above stars were just a few that were hung from our ceiling. The front window featured a few stars like this of various sizes, and the boy who was drawing the stars in the book, was drawing a star on our window.

This was also interactive decor in which kids and caregivers could participate:

And here’s one final set of freebies:

And I think that about covers 2018! Phew!!!

Again, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions about anything, or you have any problems downloading any of the freebies.

Community Masks for You & EveryLibrary


I am so very very very thrilled to announce that RAYGUN and I partnered up to bring my library My Mask Protects My Community design (that’s based on their design), to actual RAYGUN masks!!!!!

Not only that, but RAYGUN is donating 10% of proceeds from this mask’s sales to EveryLibrary!!!!!

My heart is Kermie arm-flailing.

What are you waiting for?! Click on the above image to go and get a mask (or 20) while they last! Plus you can feel great that you’re supporting both a wonderful business and a fabulous organization.