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.


Here are the highlights of our changes:


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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 |

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.


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

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.


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

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.


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

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. |

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.)


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

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.

Summer Hype Video 2017

I had the honor of making another video for the Washington County Cooperative Library System youth service team this summer.

A tiny bit of background on this project: the awesome Bryce from Bryce Don’t Play puts out an annual call to all library workers for fun/inspiring videos to help brighten the day of librarians who are pushed to the max during the summer months. Be sure to check out her compilation of the 2017 videos over on her blog. Watch and then think about doing one next year. Then do it.

Okay, on to my video – enjoy!

Libraries Are For Everyone

One of the bestest-best things that has happened as a result of having this blog is that I get to connect with librarians from all over the world. It’s just flat-out awesome. And sometimes those connections lead to a collaboration like what just recently happened with Julie Syler and Ashley Jones from the Saline County Library in Benton, Arkansas. They were preparing for National Library Legislative Day, and wanted to use my images. One thing led to another and we ended up making some pretty sharp-looking images for the occasion. (coughHUMBLEBRAGcoughcough)

Because we all love to share, we decided to post our creations here for anyone/everyone to use!

Without further ado – click on, download, and use any or all of the following images:

Libraries Are For Everyone sign with a rose background |

Libraries Are For Everyone sign with an orange background - can be used for National Library Legislative Day or Build a Better World 2017 CSLP theme |

Libraries Are For Everyone sign with a yellow background - can be used for National Library Legislative Day or Build a Better World 2017 CSLP theme OR as a profile picture |

Libraries Are For Everyone sign with a green background - can be used for National Library Legislative Day or Build a Better World 2017 CSLP theme OR as a profile picture |

Libraries Are For Everyone sign with a blue background - can be used for National Library Legislative Day or Build a Better World 2017 CSLP theme OR as a profile picture |

Libraries Are For Everyone sign with a purple background - can be used for National Library Legislative Day or Build a Better World 2017 CSLP theme OR as a profile picture |

Libraries Are For Everyone sign with a yellow background with 10 diverse representations of library patrons - can be used for National Library Legislative Day or Build a Better World 2017 CSLP theme OR as a profile picture |

Get an updated version of the above sign (with global variety) by following this link.

There you have it: something that I would not have done if someone hadn’t reached out to me!  (hint-hint eyebrow wiggle)

I’d love to know if you or your library end up using any or all of these signs either in the comments here, or by emailing me at Otherwise, I just plan on making high-pitched EEP! noises if/when I come across one of these in the wild (like as a profile pic or some such thing).



A NOTE: 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 use 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 the message. Just don’t tell people that you’re the creator – I’m fine with you say that it’s by “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.

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).

Build a Better Artwork pt. 3

Grouping of four diverse modified public library symbols |

I recently realized that I could easily modify my alternative summer programming artwork (here and here) to give a wider variety and make them overall more useful in library land. The way I’d do that would be to take each image and replace what the character was holding with a globe.

I must give a HUGE shout-out to both Angie and  Bryce for brainstorming ideas to represent PWD. These images would not be as diverse if I had not had their help.

There is a subtle difference in these images from their original counterparts: I moved the figures so that all would line up along the bottom line of their arms. The thought was that if you line them up, then they’d have a nice flow and their diverseness would be even more obvious.

Feel free to click on and download any or all of these and use them throughout your library, as profile pictures, buttons, etc.

Modified public library logo featuring a yellow background and an elderly person holds the world instead of a book |

Modified public library logo featuring a burnt orange background featuring a First Nation man holding the Earth |

Alternate library logo featuring an African-American girl holding a globe on a purple background |

A different take on the universal public library logo featuring a person holding the planet on a golden background |

An awesome African-American woman holds the world on this alternative public library logo |

An edgy person with a cochlear implant holds the world in a special version of the universal public library image |

A person in a reclining wheelchair looks at an assistive device that displays the planet Earth |

Homage to the public library logo featuring a woman wearing a hijab while gazing at the planet |

Library logo featuring an African-American male with a hearing aid and an epic fade holding the planet vs. a book |

A female with a tracheotomy holds the world in this modified universal public library symbol |

As always, if you feel that I have misrepresented or made any unintentional errors in any of my artwork, then please let me know.

Also please consider sending me a thank you donation for sharing this artwork. These look simple, but as anyone who does minimalist work knows, it’s deceptively difficult. For example: the female engineer took about 16 hours to complete. Seriously. So thank you for your thank you if you choose to thank me!