Jennifer, our kick-booty Children’s Librarian, had a great request for some of our monthly themes: throw more non-fiction into the mix. And we have! And it’s been more fun than I thought it’d be! And yes! I am exclaiming a lot! But that’s mainly because of our first super-focused on non-fic theme: Celebrating "KNOWvember" in November can be a lot of factual fun! |

As a child, I totally recall thinking about how both no and know sounded exactly alike. Hooray for homonyms! It was probably the first time I enjoyed linguistics and stuff like that there. So seeing this theme made my inner child pretty happy for the entire month.

Natasia did a beautiful job on decorating our front windows:

"Knowvember!" A theme for the Children's Library where the focus was on non-fiction and facts! |

Each section of the window had its own theme: history, science, math, and the arts.

She also turned our whiteboard in the activity area into a jumble of facts:

A whiteboard with "Did You Know?!" at the top, and then a mix of facts printed out and taped up for kids and families to read and learn. |

Natasia also made a cool non-fiction book display with the word KNOW spelled out as a sign. Sorry that I failed to take a photo of that. I also failed to get a photo of Ashlynn’s nerdy scavenger hunt. I really need to make a monthly list of photos that I need to take before we switch out themes. You’ll have to trust me that those things were pretty cool.

But I hope I was able to share enough to inspire you to create your own non-fiction and factual displays!


It turns out that I got some of my themes/months confused. I had thought that our Pokemon Go decor had been in September. Nope. It was a bonus August theme (thank you to my team for pointing this out to me – and I’ve gone back and corrected my earlier posts as a result). Basically for September’s theme we wanted something relaxing and peaceful; thus SeptZENber was born.

Natasia made a stunning tissue paper mandala in our front windows:

The front windows and door at our Children's Library featuring a lovely tissue paper and Mod Podge mandala in celebration of SeptZENber |

I would find myself gazing at it when I needed a mental break from the tasks at hand. It looked especially beautiful in the morning sunlight since our building faces east. We also received a larger-than-normal amount of compliments and questions on the application technique from our patrons.

Natasia further continued the loveliness with our reading bench display:

Beautiful "Relaxing Reads" library display with a simplified flowery mandala |

HUGER THAN NORMAL thank you goes to Natasia for this picture. I absolutely failed at getting good pics of all of her hard work which I hope to have corrected for future posts. It’s worth noting that this display was quite popular with parents who were in the midst of back-to-school stresslandia.

If you look closely at the above pic, you’ll notice a smallish peace sign with something on it on one of the window frames – that was part of our monthly scavenger hunt. It was one where the kids had to find the different colored peace signs and put it on their worksheet. Then they had to unscramble the letters to spell out a simple word like peace or love – depending on the week (or their age – we didn’t make preschoolers do the word scramble).

We also had special classes with Two Keys Creative Studio on stone mandalas and stone painting. Thank you to the instructor Sarah Fettin-Kuester for providing this pretty cool picture from one of our classes:

Image of library class attendees showing off their painted stone mandalas. Photo courtesy of Two Keys Creative Studio |

It was during this class that Sarah discussed cultural appropriation and what a fine line it can be while giving a lesson about mandalas and what they meant in Hinduism and Buddhism. As a result, I had an “OMG I NEVER THOUGHT OF THIS THAT WAY ” revelation. And because of this realization, I do not plan to repeat this exact theme, class, or use mandala coloring sheets for any of our passive coloring programs. I’d much rather err on the side of respect.

We also had a local yoga instructor come in and host classes for both young ones and their families. They were a big hit, and I only had to handle one complaint that “yoga is demonic and anyone who does it invites demons in to possess them.” True story. I believe that the patron and I had a good discussion about this since I try and do yoga to help with my chronic pain, and not once have I been possessed. In the end she was grateful that I took the time to listen and thoughtfully respond. Again – erring on the side of respect.

And that was really the biggest lesson I learned during SeptZenber:

Wouldn’t the world be a nicer place if we all erred on the side of respect? 

Have a Beautiful Day

I could bore y’all with the origin story of how I got this idea, but I’d rather just get to the good stuff: the sharing!

Look at what I did:

Mister Rogers and friends are featured in our activity tables' window featuring a monthly Fred Rogers quote |

I created the minimalist yet diverse images and quotes to go in our activity tables’ window. The idea is to swap out the quotes every month for an entire year. I also made sure to include the reverse images so that this display could be accessed from the outside as well so that our entire neighborhood can enjoy it:

Exterior photo of our new Fred Rogers window display that will feature a new quote every month |

I printed my designs out on card stock, cut them out, then double-sided taped the mirrored images together. Then I trimmed the edges until they looked a bit cleaner. Finally, I used matte contact paper to adhere them to the window.

Now it’s your turn to share Fred Rogers’ wisdom! Feel free to download and use these images and quotes however you’d like. Clicking on an image will give you the option to download the pdf (or a zip file in the case of the 12 quotes) that contains the original images and the reverse images.

A simplified "universal man" version of Fred Rogers free to download, remix, or use in any way | A set of four diverse neighborhood children available to download, remix, or use in any way | A second set of four diverse neighborhood children available to download, remix, or use in any way |

Update: I should have included the font I used in my original post – sorry about that! It’s this one from dafont, and I used a combination of the regular and the swash versions.

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions you may have. Also, I do love to see how you’re using any of my designs/ideas. Comment here, send me an email, find me on Facebook or Twitter; I’m always thrilled to hear from you!

Partial bust of a minimalist Fred Rogers with the soft blue wording that says "Have a Beautiful Day!" |

Pumpkin Patchwork Quilts

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

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.


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 |


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 |

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 |

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 |

And here’s my favorite pic by far. It reminds me of when I left for work one evening with everything zen, 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 |

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 |

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

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 |

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 | Silhouette of a dog wearing a witch hat for our October therapy dog reading time flyer |


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

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!