Our Chalkboard Window

At some point this past summer I had a flash of inspiration. It’s probably because I saw yet another awesome chalkboard sidewalk sign on Pinterest, which made me want to do something like that.

Then the location of it came about because although I love having windows everywhere in our building, I don’t like the one that’s right by my desk. Light would bounce off of parked cars and into my eyes and I would have to creatively place various objects in the window sill in order to block it. Also people would randomly bang on the window or just stare creepily through it and at me.

Front exterior of the Children's Library with an arrow pointing at the front office window | hafuboti.com

I took the above picture right after I had finished cleaning every window in the library (both inside and outside). I adore this picture because of how shiny those widows are. Just look at ’em! You could eat off of those windows, although gravity would make it difficult.

So one day I was like “OMG WE CAN PUT THE CHALK BOARD INSIDE THE WINDOW SILL TO KEEP THE BOARD LOOKING NICE, ADVERTISING OUR EVENTS TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE NEVER COME INSIDE OUR LIBRARY, ALL THE WHILE GIVING ME MORE PRIVACY!” I pretty much sent an email like that to my Director. Caps and all. Thankfully she loved the idea and suggested that her very handy dad might be able to put something together.

And, like two weeks later I had an awesome chalkboard in the window! Our Director’s dad had the perfect sized wood piece, and leftover chalk paint from a previous project so when it arrive it was practically a completed project: woohoo! It is utterly gratifying to have a flash of inspiration turn into reality that fast.

I then asked our very talented Natasia to take over the task of making the board look great – and that she did. She took some donated violet paint and painted the plain wooden backside, and then used chalk markers for almost all of the signs (we tried regular chalk and it was too hard work with as well as to read).

Check it out:

Our first chalkboard window sign at the library | hafuboti.com

As you can see above, we changed the chalkboard weekly during the busy summer months. For all of the non-summer-programming months, we change it on a month-by-month basis:

Exterior view of our chalkboard window in September featuring the month's children's events | hafuboti.com

You might have noticed on the second photo that there’s a small image in the lower left-hand corner of the window. That was our way of communicating a very important fact that we felt should really stand out and get non-library members’ attention. It’s taped to the window, and not to the chalkboard. Here’s a rainy day closeup:

A cartoon version of our Children's Librarian's head telling readers that they don't need a library card to attend our events | hafuboti.com

Boom. Marketing our events to anyone who walks by.

I added some fun photocopied book covers to the back side so that I wasn’t just looking at a giant purple rectangle. And our Director picked up a tension rod to keep the board from falling in on me (the wood is heavy and getting hit with it would definitely hurt).

Ah, the cheerful privacy! Plus, on occasion I can hear kids on the outside excitedly exclaim things about our events.

It’s also been a big hit with our community! We’ve had many people tell us that it’s great to see a breakdown of what’s going on in an easy-to-read format. It has also helped get people to the right location when we’re having a children’s event at our other library building. For example: when we had our most recent Kitty Cafe, the Humane Society representative went to the Children’s Library thinking that the event was there. The building was closed, but there was the event listed on our chalkboard which indicated where she needed to go instead. Yay! Kitty cat-tastrophe diverted!

Have you done anything like this at your library? Please share in the comments – I’d love to know about it. And as always, don’t hesitate to ask me any questions about this. Chalk On.

Family Fandom Festival

Have you made it through all of my holiday postings?

If your answer is “yes,” then you know what you should do?

Sparkly pink words of "Treat Yo Self" | hafuboti.com

I know that I will!

While working on all of my holiday posts, I kept debating whether or not to create foundation programs for pop-culture-based celebrations. The thought of writing at least a dozen more holiday posts made me want to cry. But then I had a flash of inspiration:

LET US CELEBRATE THEM, ONE AND ALL!!!

I shall call this program The Family Fandom Festival where all ages and all fandoms can come to the library and celebrate their holiday nerdery together.

Family Fandom Festival for libraries flyer featuring many pop-culture celebrations | hafuboti.com

Click on the above flyer template to get a larger version that you can download and use for your library’s celebration.

This event could be done in so many ways – especially depending on who in your community would enjoy cosplaying during the holiday season (and not just as Antasay Lauscay). Here’s a list of holidays that I selected, but you can definitely find and incorporate more – after all, the more the merrier!

Get some meat lovers pizzas, dust off your Vader helmet, and ring your bells!
*whispers* so much pop cultuuuuure…

DISPLAY & ACTIVITIES

Here are two scavenger hunt sheets that you can also use for a display. Click on the two image collages for a letter-sized version that you can download and print:

Imagery from pop culture holiday events for a scavenger hunt or display | hafuboti.com

Set of images from various pop culture holiday celebrations for a scavenger hunt or library display | hafuboti.com

SONGS

You have so many options here! Whether you have a sing-along portion of the event, or put together a playlist for background music – you’ll be sure to have fun with lots of these:





And in honor of my all-time favorite princess Carrie Fisher:
And there you have it: the final post of Library Holidaypalooza!

Hopefully you learned something (I know that I did) and have been inspired. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll rethink holiday programming at your library as a result. If not? At least I know that I tried.

If you happen to have started at the end of this series, then you should start here, or you can follow the holidays tag.

…OR IS IT?!

(It totally is. I am utterly sick and tired of coming up with holiday programs.)

Deal with it | hafuboti.com

LEGO MAY-nia 4: Resurgence

The prep for this year’s front window display began a full month prior, where we put out mysterious colorful squares containing two black lines. We instructed our youngest patrons to write their name on the top line, and then a book or book series’ name on the second line. We then kept the squares. That’s all that the public knew except that we were going to use them in the front windows in May.

What they didn’t know was that we’d add “can’t LEGO of” in between the lines, and then glue on circles to the other side to give it a false 3D look. THEN we built a picture using those 2D bricks.

Children's Library's front exterior windows in May 2016. Pretty landscape spring scene made out of flat paper LEGO bricks.

Closeup of a 2D LEGO paper flower in our front library windowsInterior library closeup of the 2D LEGO bricks' backs. Kids wrote their names and a favorite book or series, and we added "can't LEGO of."

LOVE LOVE LOVE

The only thing we thought we’d do differently in the future is pay attention to on which side the peg’s shadow would fall. If you look closely, then you’ll spot some shadows in directions that don’t make sense. It was a subtle thing, but as Melissa said in a recent Mel’s Desk post, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”

We also took the books/series that our young patrons wrote on the flat bricks as a pull list for our reading bench display:

"Books You Can't LEGO of" library book display.

Both very random and very cool.

Our Children’s Librarian Jennifer held a special Family LEGO Fun Night, and after this successful event, she put several of the creations in our new plexi display cubes:

Three of our plexiglass displays filled with creations from our library's LEGO Family Fun Night.

We reused our LEGO mini-figs as our scavenger hunt.

Our library's LEGO MAY-nia scavenger hunt.

And, of course, we had another Mini LEGO Checkout Club. I made a video once it was complete.

This remains the most popular annual passive program. I can’t think of any program that we have where kids ask about it throughout the year.

And there you have it: the re-re-re-return of one of our most popular themes!

Artsy April Redux

This year the schools’ art teachers graciously bowed out of the Artsy April community art show at the library. And so, my team set out to redefine Artsy April. And, like Decemberley, we decided to shift our focus to book illustrators.

Natasia had the strongest idea and drive to focus on Dr. Seuss – specifically The Lorax since we had Earth Day that month, and our state is the home to Arbor Day (and a tree is the focus on our city’s logo). So, credit for this month goes solely to Natasia – she utterly rocked it:

It’s amazing what construction paper, a black marker, and tape can become in special hands.

Side note about construction paper: for some reason, the makeup of construction paper causes it to lose its color in the sun. Natasia remade several of the truffula tree tops midway through the month due to major fading.

Here’s a closeup of the star of our show:

The Lorax was a HUGE hit with kids (shocking, I know).

One day a little boy was completely smitten with our Lorax. Our awesome Children’s Librarian remembered his name, and on the day we took down the display, we contacted his mom to see if she would like to have our Lorax. Her response was an unsurprising OMG YES!!!! And I was thrilled to be the one who got to surprise that little boy with his very own Lorax. He literally hugtackled it – and I’m amazed that it didn’t rip.

For our reading bench display, Natasia created a fun word scramble (the words changed once-a-week):

And we filled the display with environmental, gardening, and tree-focused books.

This was the fullest our display ever was. We kept having to find more and more to fill it with since the items were flying off the display – yay!

Oh yes, and wouldyoulookatthoseTruffulaTrees?!?! Here’s a closer pic:

Cardboard tube, construction paper, a paper mache ball (that Natasia made), a black marker, and feather boas! So. Cute.

Finally, Natasia made these adorable Thing 1 and Thing 2 for our super-ultra simple scavenger hunt.

I swear that kids treated those characters like rock stars – even if they didn’t realize the Thing they found was part of a scavenger hunt. These special things now live on one of our office walls.

And there you have it: our revamped Artsy April! 

Joyful January

The idea for Joyful January happened back in November, when I flipped out over the tissue paper window treatment that Natasia did. I had a vision of seeing whispy images through the tissue paper, and then I realized that we could sandwich a photo between tissue paper and it would look like the memory spheres from INside Out.

So, I asked our staff, members of both our Friends group and Library Board, and our patrons to submit pictures to me for a special secret window display. All I’d say was that I wanted a picture of them and/or members of their family.

I used a mixture of water and white glue to adhere the tissue paper and printed photos (using regular paper with the image mirrored on the back of the paper). It was a bit messy, and I learned to be extra careful with the tissue paper since it rips crazy-easy once it’s wet. Also, once the mixture dried, I would use a razor blade to scrape up the mess around the circles (you can see the residue around the circles on the left side of the above collage, and what it looks like after the cleanup on the right side).

I think that next time I’ll try Mod Podge since there were some odd blotches on the tissue paper (mainly on the figures) that I think were due to the white glue.

I also added a simplified version of Joy and Sadness on opposite ends of our front windows. Since I correctly guessed that the pictures submitted would be happy pictures, I had one of my childhood pictures where I was obviously crying at the ready.

I also bought giant balloons from ebay that matched the feelings’ colors from the movie. It was a bit of a splurge, but I had such a strong internal drive to make this happen that I made a deal with my Director that if the balloons didn’t remain inflated for the entire month, then I’d pay for them. However, if they remained full, then the library would reimburse me.
Spoiler alert: I’m totally getting reimbursed!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE those balloons. These balloons were worth every penny. And if you get large balloons like this, then please get a simple electric air pump to blow them up. I had one for an inflatable bed at home, so I brought it in and it was so fun to use to blow up these balloons.

I also have to give a HUGE shout-out to our Young Adult Librarian Dustan for doing all the hard work of moving around the large ladder and hanging every one of those balloons for me. And he wore disposable gloves the whole time because he’s allergic to latex!!! 

Oh, and I’m planning on giving away the balloons once we take them down. One per family. Probably through social media. UPDATE: What we actually ended up doing was announcing on Facebook that we were giving away one giant balloon per family that day. As far as I know, no one came in because of the post, but we gave away every balloon before noon. AND IT WAS BEYOND AMAZING TO SEE THE KIDS FACES AS WE HANDED THEM A BALLOON AS BIG AS THEY WERE! I think we totally rocked some kids’ lives that day. Also, we had several people come inside to ask what was up with the enormous balloons that kids were carrying as they left. YAY! Get yourself some giant balloons, enjoy them for a month, and then give them away – it is INCREDIBLE!!! END OF UPDATE

Eventually, I did have to share the idea with my team, and they all jumped on board with ideas to help round out this emotional theme:

Here’s our super-crazy-popular reading bench display that Jennifer, Natasia, and Shelby worked on together. I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve had to add books to the faceouts since almost every single book (both fiction and non-fiction) and movie has checked out.

Shelby was in charge of the scavenger hunt, and she made a fun one where kids had to find different colored faces and identify what the faces were feeling (we changed the face colors every week). It’s been great hearing parents discuss what the faces are feeling – even asking why that particular face may be happy/sad/surprised. The prize for finding and identifying all of the feelings is a special silly-face stamp for their hand.

And there you have it: a theme that made me incredibly happy! And as always, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions about this if you feel confused, sad, angry, silly, etc.