Guardians of the Literacy

Anybody else really excited about Guardians of the Galaxy coming out this week?

In honor of the occasion, Bruce and I collaborated on another library logo mashup! I’ll be the first to admit that I leaned heavier on the comics material as my source, but with a little movie mixed in as well. Bruce was my “could you look at this?” consultant and we talked through many-an-issue (usually color-related). I must give Bruce full credit for doing the entire logo (he saw me struggling and had mercy). He’s awesome like that.

Like the superhero and Sherlock logos before these – feel free to use these. Many people have written seeking permission to use those for avatars, library brochures, stickers, etc. Please know that I’m totally cool with all of that. I actually get a HUGE kick/ego boost when I see a stranger use one of my logos. And I LOVE getting random emails from people showing me what they did with them (hint hint).

Have fun!

As an added bonus to anyone who scrolled all the way down here – I’ll share what Bruce spent part of his day working on since it’s Guardians-related as well. And also adorable:



Library Madness

As I mentioned in my earlier summer reading post, the library has been absolutely crazy-busy this summer. I’m beyond tickled and hope we can keep up this momentum.

Speaking of craziness – that’s the other aspect of the CSLP theme that we’re using for our summer programming: the mad scientist.

Brittany yet again transformed our Great Wall-O-Pun using nothing more than a large printed font, crayons, and her crazy-awesome art skills. We decided to stray a bit from puns, and just go with a “mad” take on our non-fiction science books, which have been checking out very well:

How brilliantly brilliant is that?!

Mary painted over her Egyptian book pharaoh from last year to create this new photo op:

The funniest trend we’ve noticed is that when adults use the prop they’re almost always pulling faces. When the kids use it? It’s almost always flashing their prettiest smiles. See – here’s my team and I showing off our mad skillz:

When we have time (bwahahaaa-snort ::sigh::), and there’s a parent/child using this photo op, we’ve been asking if we may take a picture and post it on our Kids’ Corner website. So far everyone has enthusiastically said yes. This has been a fun way to hopefully help drive traffic to our site.

Finally, we have Summer Reading Program booklets that I created a while back that change titles depending on the theme. Originally, children were rewarded by reading weekly with individual coupons. They were a mess and so easy for the kids to lose. I went ahead and created a keepsake booklet that included themed activities and it’s been a hit with kids and businesses alike. This year, we went with a Science Journal featuring artwork by my Bruce:

And a HUGE thank you goes to Mary who has beautifully assembled around 300 booklets so far this summer. We try and get people to preregister for these so that we know how many to make, but we usually get an unforeseen number “walk-ins.” In the first week alone we’ve had over 50 parents sign up on-the-spot (usually multiple kids) – so it can be a bit hectic in the booklet-making department. Next year we’re going to try to bribing people with a bonus coupon if they preregister.

There’s a lot of other things going on (or have happened) at the library that I’ve been looking forward to sharing, but again, the drain of summer workdays leaves me not wanting to revisit work stuff when at home. Hopefully, as the summer progresses, I’ll get back into a rhythm and start catching y’all up on everything that we’ve done and accomplished!

Until then, have a crazy-awesome summer!

Summer Reading Robot Program

Robot Decor for our library's Summer Reading Program | Hafuboti

The push leading into our Summer Reading Program and then the first week of our programming have been insane. The craziest thing is that we have had a 117% increase in daily attendance from the previous year. It’s been awesome, but exhausting. Needless to say, I’ve been coming home and pretty much collapsing each evening. I’m wildly proud of my team for handling this so well, but it hasn’t led to me wanting to write about work on my blog. So I just let myself decompress to the point of feeling motivated again, and that seems to have worked: here I am!

We decided to focus on robots for our overall summer theme. That decision was made months ago when we were trying to think of what we wanted our decor’s big focal piece to be. A giant robot seemed the most doable and impactful. That quickly followed with having robots in the front windows. And then the rest of our robotic theme fell into place quite quickly.

Here’s a collage of our big robot on which both Brittany and I worked. I shopped for random household items at a local hardware store, and Brittany assembled everything into the robot. After a few random things either rolled-up (electrical tape) and/or fell off (one leg), Brittany and I figured out some fixes and then she did some fantastic final touches using metallic pastels.

Cardboard box robot decorated with household items for our library's Summer Reading Program | Hafuboti

We really wanted it to have the look that a very industrious child had put the robot together, and I think that we succeeded. I think that I need to point out several things that didn’t translate in my photos. All of the bright squiggly things (like the hair/eyebrows and in the chest panel) are pipe cleaners. Also, the robot’s teeth is made of a piece of glossy paper that has been lightly folded vertically so it looks like teeth. Finally, the “on/off” switch is on the back side of the robot.

Last year, parents seemed to have had the greatest reaction to our paper tree. This year, the kids have had wonderful reactions to our robot. It’s really been great.

Mary made our three front window robots – from left to right their names are Fizz, Boom, and Read (see what we did there?):

Robot Decor for our library's Summer Reading Program - featuring interchangeable stomache panels | Hafuboti

We all agreed that they look like an awesome mashup of Wall-E and Yo Gabba Gabba! I should point out (again, this didn’t translate in my photos) that all of the paint that isn’t white is metallic. They are very striking in person.

And there’s nothing wrong with Boom – I wanted to show you the one request that I had with Mary’s robots: that they have a ledger-sized holes in the middle of their chests. Last year I had a giant window game that the kids loved – for about two weeks. After that, the game was old since it didn’t change. This year I wanted a way to change out the games, activities, or whatever, whenever we had time to do so (I’m guessing we’ll switch them every-other week).

Here’s an indoor shot of Fizz and Boom where Boom has his chest piece installed:

Robot Decor for our library's Summer Reading Program - featuring interchangeable stomache panels | Hafuboti

I put together some signs to sprinkle throughout the library. I was very much inspired by Big Block Sing Songs:

Robot decor for our library's Summer Reading Program - simple robot head signs| Hafuboti

Robot decor for our library's Summer Reading Program - simple robot head signs| Hafuboti

In our window display I opted to have us extend what we do on top of our picture book bookcases: fill the display with books to be shelved from our return cart. I can’t even tell you how grateful I am that I made this call. Our page was on vacation this past week, and this really helped us keep up with shelving.

I also used these cute robots from Dabbles & Babbles to create our scavenger hunt for the month. I made them bigger and tried my best not to hide them in a sneaky manner – and yet, we still stump some kids (and parents). Next month we’re veering away from a traditional scavenger hunt, and will be a “how many can you find” game. This will keep us from having to give hints (hooray!).

Robot decor for our library's Summer Reading Program - simple robot scavenger hunt| Hafuboti

The prize stickers were made from the cute “mad scientist Booker T. Dragon” that Bruce created for our summer programming:

Bruce's adorable contribution to our library's Summer Reading Program - our mascot as a mad scientist! | Hafuboti

As always, whenever I can, I’ve included printouts for you to use if you’d like. Feel free to use any of the following (click on the image for a larger pdf or jpeg):

Have fun – and I hope that your summer programs are kicking robo-booty too!


All Hallows Read Story

Free printable short comic for All Hallows Read (or just for fun)

If you work with or love books, then I highly recommend that you take part in All Hallows Read this year. Giving out scary books seems like a sweet alternative to candy (bad pun intended). I wasn’t in the position to have our library celebrate this new tradition last year, but by golly this year I am.

Our library (like practically every library out there) has very limited funds, and so giving out books to all the children who stop by on Halloween is out of our financial reach.  We have a handful of books – mainly for junior-level readers, but only a couple of books for the younger crowd.  Therefore I decided to do something about that.

I took the famous campfire story The Golden Arm (also a favorite of Mark Twain’s), and put my own librarian-spin on it.  I think it’s still spooky enough for preschoolers, but silly enough for slightly older kids.  I also swapped out the usually very dark ending with a rather blunt lesson at the end.

This also marks the biggest collaboration that Bruce and I have had a chance to do together.  It was pure joy.  I put together the story and sized it, and Bruce had a blast illustrating it.  It was a great deal of fun watching him bring my simple story to life.  I only had one critique when he had a very scary ghost librarian.  He easily made an adjustment and kept her spooky (but no longer nightmare fuel for our youngest patrons). Oh! And when he asked what the librarian’s name was, I decided to use the name that we used in this display.

We decided to keep it black and white both for cost in printing as well as making it a mini coloring book as well. So it’s two-books-in-one in which kids get a fun story, but then also get to add their own artistic flourishes to it! Yay!

Now, without further ado – here’s the story:

Mini picture book/coloring book for Halloween. Only slightly spooky and overall silly. Basically, it comes down to "don't mess with librarians."

If you’d like to make your own booklets, then here’s the simple how-to and the jpegs that you can use to insert into Word (I found that converting to a pdf smooshed the images just enough to make the book pages uneven). Be sure to insert it into your Word document as large as it can go without cutting off anything. Here’s set one, and here’s set two. You’ll also want the cover page.  Yes, the images look all out-of-place, but they work when you print on both (short) sides and assemble them.


Supplies? 9″X12″ construction paper (in fun Halloween colors), a paper cutter, a long stapler (shorten the construction paper if you only have a regular stapler available), and quick-drying glue. That’s all!

Print out the story as well as a set of the cover pages.  Cut both the story and construction paper into fourths, and then cut out one of the cover images.

A visual example of how to slice the paper to prep the book's assembling.

Then fold all of the story pages and the construction paper. At this point I go ahead and glue on the cover page.

Making mini-books is a great way to afford to participate in All Hallows Read.

Then put all of the pages in order.  You basically nest the open pages (so you’d tuck the upper-right page that you see in the photo into the first upper-left hand page, and then tuck the third page into that, and the final page last). Once you’ve put a couple of books together then you’ll get the hang of how to fold them.  Then put two staples through the back.

A long stapler makes it easier to assemble the small book.

And boom!  It’s your very own affordable book to give out for All Hallows Read.  I’ll be sure to add an update after the 31st to let you all know how it went.  And please, let me know if you have any questions. Or if you make and hand out our book, then I’d love to know how it was received!

My Red Dress Moment

If you haven’t read The Bloggess’ The Traveling Red Dress, then stop what you’re doing and check it out before continuing.

Read it?  Good.

Here’s the thing – I had a mega “red dress moment” during the past few hellish weeks.  It really had nothing to do with me, but was all about Bruce’s mother Marti.  I was never lucky enough to meet this incredible woman (someone recently called her a “goat-drivin’, bear-huggin’ space lady!” and they were not wrong. They left out many things including – but  not limited to – Jeopardy-writing/playing, house-winning, brilliant and incredibly funny).  She passed away suddenly and just as suddenly Bruce and I found ourselves in Arizona attempting to deal with the emotional trauma along with her estate.  It was one of the most difficult times of our lives.

While going through boxes and drawers and everything else that accumulates during a lifetime, we discovered a whole treasure trove of photographs that Bruce didn’t know existed.  So we spent several evenings winding down and looking through them, and he would tell me stories of his family.  And as we were going through them we discovered a photograph of her from 1956.  My reaction was immediate: “WOW, now that’s a gown! She looks gorgeous.

That’s amazing, isn’t it? Yes. Yes it is. It left rather an impression on me.

We looked through a few more pictures and then collapsed from exhaustion.

Early the next morning I took on the task of cleaning out the first floor coat closet that had a crawlspace back under the stairs.  It was hot and dark, and I could only see vague outlines of objects.  I grabbed at a large bundle that was hanging on a post and began to pull it out into the light, and as I did so I caught a glimpse of red – I assumed that it was part of her holiday decor.  But as I emerged from the crawlspace I saw the glitter of sequins and actually gasped with realization: this was her dress.  This was that dress from the night before – and it was RED.  One of the most vibrantly red gowns I had ever seen in person.

“Oh my God Bruce – look at this! It’s the dress! It’s THE DRESS!” He didn’t remember what I was talking about, and I didn’t waste time unwrapping the dress that had been bundled up in plastic while I tried to remind him of the picture.  I really was in awe of this woman I had never met, and a whole new understanding of her as a woman dawned on me.  This woman seized her days and was vibrant and didn’t hide from life.  She owned a red dress, completely rocked that red dress, and then preserved that dress for 57 years.  This discovery was one of the most amazing moments of my life.

So, cut to about a week later, and we’re back home and beginning to try to recover from everything that we had been through.  We had shipped as many items as we wanted home, and yes, one of those items was the dress.

I took the dress out of the vacuum sealed bag it had been in for its journey, and fluffed it out.  I then somehow managed to squeeze it onto my dress form that I had painted purple a few years back (have I ever mentioned my forever love of the color combination of red and purple? I have a forever love of the color combination of red and purple).  Marti was crazy-petite and I had to do some major smooshing of the dress form wires to get the side zipper zipped.

Finally after some very creative furniture re-arranging, the dress took up a place of prominence in our living room.  It actually looks like we designed the whole living room around that dress.  Bonus points are that Hafukiti LOVES to hide and sleep under that dress (Marti adored cats).

Here it is:


Both Bruce and I marvel at how beautiful it is and how it beautifully fits into our place.  We both think that it’s a lovely tribute to his lovely mother, and that she’d be amazed that we love her dress as much as she did – and that it reminds us every day to live life to the fullest.

Thank you Marti.