Pumpkin Patchwork Quilts

October 2016 written out with the "O"s modified to look like patchwork pumpkins | hafuboti.com

Long story short: I am WAY behind on sharing with y’all all the fun themes we’ve had over the past (counts on fingers) five months or so.

So.

Lemme start catchin’ y’all up!

This year we decided to focus October’s theme around pumpkins! After all, the area’s most popular pumpkin patch is part of our community. And considering how cheesy it is, I likely came up with the idea of making it sound like a Wheel of Fortune Before & After puzzle category: Pumpkin Patchwork Quilts.

Natasia, our awesome artist-in-residence/team member, took the theme and ran with it. I wish that my photography skills were better so that I could really show off her talent.

These were the best pics I’d taken of the tissue/scrapbook paper pumpkins she’d made to go along the bottom of our front windows:

Tissue and scrapbook paper "quilted" pumpkins | hafuboti.com

THEY ARE SO ADORABLE!!!

I regret to inform you that I never did get a good exterior shot of those pumpkins – you can get a glimpse of them in this interior shot. And yes, there are other fun things that you’ll see that I’ll show off more in a moment:

Paper lantern pumpkins suspended from the ceiling with tissue paper and scrapbook paper pumpkins in the window of our library | hafuboti.com

And here are the special pumpkins that she made out of scrapbook and poster board:

Scrapbook and poster board pumpkins for our reading bench display | hafuboti.com

These pumpkins were all that we used for our reading bench display’s sign. We kept it simple and neat without using any words, and people completely got that autumn-themed books were featured – with some football thrown in to keep it interesting…ier. Interestingier. I’m going with it.

And yes, I’m going to make you wait to see more of the adorable pumpkins that Natasia hung from our ceiling. Instead, I’ll show you the cute Five Little Pumpkins sign that she made on our whiteboard. I believe that Jennifer, our fantastic Children’s Librarian, made the cute and very popular worksheet:

Five Little Pumpkins rhyme featured on a white board behind our passive "decorate your own pumpkin" worksheet | hafuboti.com

And here’s my favorite pic by far. It reminds me of when I left for work one evening with Pokeballs on our windows, and walked in the next day to a pumpkin wonderland:

Pumpkins made out of orange paper lanterns with paper leafs and painted scotch tape over newspaper for the stems | hafuboti.com

These paper lantern pumpkins feature paper leafs and stems made from rolled newspaper wrapped in masking tape and painted a dark green.

You can also see more “patchwork pumpkins” on the wall in the back. We made pumpkin counting into our passive program – so if kids got within five of the correct number, they’d earn a special coloring bookmark featuring our dragon mascot carrying a big pumpkin.

And there you have it: our cheery October theme of Pumpkin Patchwork Quilts!

Shadow Play Signs

This is one of those ideas that I really can’t explain how I came up with it.
It just sort of happened.

About a month prior to having this idea, I had a realization: use all of the front entryway windows at our main library building for programming flyers. Prior to this idea, all events were limited to the windows in and next to the front door. It was getting crowded since we hired an amazing Adult Services Librarian, and this was such an elegantly simple solution that I know that I ::headdesked:: the moment that the thought occurred to me.

We dedicated the door’s windows for super-special events (like in the image below, there is a Food for Fines sign in the door’s upper window). So the event windows go from left to right Kids Events, Teen Events, and Adult Events:

The front exterior of our main library building where programming signs are posted within their respective age groups | hafuboti.com

A closeup of both the Teen Events and Adult Events windows featuring lots of flyers | hafuboti.com

And yes, my regular readers will immediately spot how clean and shiny the windows are. I believe in first impressions being good ones, and having clean windows? It shows we care. Or like shiny things. Or both.

The thing with window signs is (and I hate to admit how long it took me to realize this with our event flyers – I’m talking years), they need to have things on both sides so that the people inside aren’t left to look at a bunch of blank sheets of paper taped to our windows. And with how much sunlight our building gets? It can make reading the signs difficult from the inside with all of the bleed-through – so after years of looking at the blank back side of flyers, we started puting either a sheet of dark paper or card stock between two signs to make them easy to read.

All of that brings us to the idea that I had one day: why not cut out a fun silhouette related to the event and use that to sandwich the two signs? I tried it out and immediately fell in love with it. Depending on how the sunlight is hitting the library, you can either see the shadowy image hidden within the signs, or it completely disappears.

The toughest thing is finding a good, simple image to cut out. If it’s too fussy, then the sign will be even more difficult to read. Once we find a good image, then it’s printed it out onto a piece of card stock, and then cut it out:

Black and white clipart featuring a fork, knife, and spoon printed on card stock and cut out | hafuboti.com

Here are some examples of the finished product:

A jack-o-lantern's shadow appears when the sun shines through our library's All Hallows Read sign | hafuboti.com Silhouette of a dog wearing a witch hat for our October therapy dog reading time flyer | hafuboti.com

 

A silhouette of a spoon, knife, and fork appear when the sun hits our library's Cook Book Club sign just right | hafuboti.com

I cannot fully express how sad I am that there were water spots on our windows the day that I took interior photos. Okay, I’m not that sad, but it still irks me a bit.

We don’t do this for every single sign, but I definitely think that the ones with hidden images are more eye catching.

There you have it: a simple way to kick your window signs up a notch. Yay!

Having a Poke Ball

Our summer programming usually goes through the end of August, and like public librarians everywhere, we’re exhausted once it’s over. Generally in September I try and give our team a break from decorating, and we “reset” the library to a neutral state. Which can be fun since it’s generally when we get the most compliments (usually via the “oh – you didn’t do anything this month – I always love seeing what you all do!” sort of way). But every-once-in-a-while there comes a decor opportunity that we can’t pass by.

It was that case this past September.

The Pokemon Go! phenomena was in full swing, and one of our staff members (::waves hi:: to Ashlynn) was totally hooked. So I asked her if she’d like to put together a Pokemon Go! Crawl event. After I got up from the floor and recovered from her hug tackle, I then asked Natasia to do something in the windows, but not go too crazy. I swear that I have the best Marketing Minion ever – check out what she did:

Three giant pokeballs featured on the front windows at our Children's Library | hafuboti.com

SHAPOW!

Interior picture featuring two enormous pokeballs in our library's front windows | hafuboti.com

These were a HUGE hit with people of all ages. Besides the Pokemon Go! Crawl event (which was also an ENORMOUS hit), we had a Pokemon scavenger hunt irl for kids who didn’t have the ability to access the app for any reason. That was extremely popular as well.

I’m so glad that my team made the effort to do more work than usual post-summer programming. It was a great experience for both patrons and staff alike.

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.

Go for the Gold

Every-once-in-a-while my team gets stumped on decor for a theme. We throw out ideas and then we throw out those ideas. And nothing goes “ding” like you hope it will. It was like that for this past summer’s CSLP theme: On Your Mark, Get Set…Read!

We talked about book characters, giant foam hands, and lots of other random things. I love a good brainstorming session, but this one felt like a struggle.

Side Note: I don’t know that I ever have mentioned this before, but I made a promise to our Children’s Librarian that none of our displays would ever have the term “a good book” in it. Like our previous Get Caught Up in a Good Book theme. It’s just a pet peeve of hers (and once you notice it, you notice that it is EVERYWHERE in the library world – which isn’t a bad thing at all – it works and gets the job done. It’s just a pet peeve of hers and hey, I usually like being different so that all works out).

Anywho.

It was our Children’s Librarian who finally suggested the idea that sparked excitement for summer decorating: what about gold medals? After all, we had used gold reading medals to promote our Readathon event, as well as in promoting our summer programming.

Natasia took the idea and ran with it. She bought shiny gold poster board (I didn’t know that existed!!!), some bendy mesh red white and blue ribbon, and then cut out words and images using my Silhouette.

Behold Natasia Magic (we totally should trademark “Natasia Magic”):

Gretna Children's Library's 2016 Summer Reading gold medal front windows. On your mark, get set...read! | Hafuboti.com

These were incredibly striking, and you could tell that the kids thought that they were awesome. Everything on them shimmered except for the black – and that made the black really pop.

The favorite part of this for quite a few kids (who seemed entranced by this) was how Natasia handled the medal on/above the door. It’s in three pieces so that the door can open freely. Therefore, when the kids came in, many of them would be looking up to see if the ribbon stretched – but it didn’t and it was like magic to them.

Here’s a close-up:

On your mark, get set...read! medal at the Chldren's Library's front door | Hafuboti.com

::whispers:: Natasia Magiiiiic…

Oversized gold medals along GCL's long wall. #1 Reader. Speed Reader, and Marathon Reader | Hafuboti.com

She continued the theme inside on our long wall. These made me smile several times a day during the summer. Shiny or twirly – or even better shiny AND twirly – things tend to have a positive effect on me.

Ashlynn and Shelby (it was Shelby’s final display before heading off to college ::sniffle::) made the reading bench display. These are books that have recently been returned to our library – which saves us time on reshelving during the summer months. Woohoo! We also reused the inflatable baseballs that were the previous October’s baseball bats. We hung most of them using fishing line, but the ones in the top part of the windows were just thrown up there (which yes, that was fun):

"Books that Are a Hit" reading bench display along with inflatable baseballs | Hafuboti.com

Finally, I got in on more of the fun by making another passive name game on our whiteboard. I wanted it to be short ‘n sweet in terms of both creating it and playing it . I also wanted to surprise our boss with it since she’s a huge WWE fan:

Very simple "find your wrestler name" passive game at Gretna Public Library | Hafuboti.com

Fun Fact: We posted this picture on our Facebook page, and we counted those who replied with their wrestler names as participants in this passive program. Woot!

The summer’s scavenger hunt was created by several team members, and it involved finding several images of sports balls hidden throughout the library. If you look back at the reading bench display, then you can see the basketball “hidden” on our clock.

And this brings me to a slight change on my blog. It might not even be noticeable, but I’m aware of it. As my team has strengthened, and I now have a Marketing Minion (i.e. the magical Natasia), my focus at the library has shifted. Therefore, you won’t find as many passive program printables here.

I’ll write more about that later, but I wanted to say that if there’s something that I write about or picture on my blog and you’d like more information and/or anything I might be able to send your way – then please just ask! Post a comment here or send me an email at hafuboti@gmail.com. I seriously love to get reader emails and am ridonkulously excited to help fellow librarians out!