November NaNoWriMo Display

November is National Novel Writing Month. Although it has a short duration, I like to do a display for NaNoWriMo because it ties so well to the library and, of course, to the collection.

This year my coworker wanted to host some pop up writing workshops for kids and teens excited about NaNoWriMo (our adult department has workshops all month with another organization coming in to host writing sessions) so I also wanted to tie back to that.

img_3799This year’s display prompts teens to find their inspiration with some books from the YA collection. All of the books featured on the board were written during NaNoWriMo except for Afterworlds. (Afterworlds features a young NaNoWriMo winner navigating her first book deal while sharing her NaNoWriMo novel though so it still fits.)

After creating the graphics which I love–I think it’s one of the nicest displays I’ve made, I stocked the display.

img_3797In addition to some of the books featured on my sign (or books by the author at least) I also included some books from the 800s which is the “how to” writing section in the non-fiction area. I was especially excited to have an excuse to showcase The Anatomy of Curiosity which is one of my favorite books about writing.

Are you familiar with NaNoWriMo? Are you participating this year? Have you read any of these titles? Would you recommend others? Let me know in the comments!

Book Display: The Talking Dead

I don’t do a lot of seasonal/holiday displays in the library, but October sort of demands it. I have used The Talking Dead a lot as a booklist name and in previous displays so I was excited to turn to that idea again this month with some new graphics (made with PicMonkey like always) and featuring some new titles.

As you may have noticed from my other posts, my library’s teen area doesn’t have a lot of display space. I tried to spread out the display this time around with plastic sign holders and books on the YA information desk and on top of some of our shorter display shelves to accompany my larger poster board display.

Here’s the main display:

talkingdead1As you can see I pulled books including ghosts, zombies, vampires, and other sundry undead creatures to stock the display.

I added stock images of pumpkins and a creepy fence to fill out my poster:

talkingdead2I kept things simply by the reference desk and shelves with just a Talking Dead sign and some books.

talkingdead4Have you read any of the titles I’m featuring? What are some of your favorite spooky reads? What displays would you make for Halloween? Let me know in the comments!

Banned Books Week Display

Since blind books are always a hit, I decided to bring back a wrapped/blind book display for Banned Books Week.

This year I started with a black background (foam core as usual) and tried to streamline some of my graphics. I printed a giant “banned” to put on the side and then made my “Do You Read Banned Books?” image with a stock photo featuring letters on it. This year I realized I could save myself some time by making the actually BBW graphic separate so that I can conceivably reuse my other graphics down the line. (I also saved the stock image I used for background because it turns out they are not easy to find at all.)

I really like the way the display looks with the black background. Here it is fully stocked with banned books:


I stocked the display with wrapped books. I pre-printed the banned graphics which I did save from last year and then just worked with a second sheet of paper to make sure that the books were all fully wrapped.

Here’s a close up of one of the books:


Because we have barcode checkout (and self-checkout options) I also made sure the barcode on the back is visible even when the book is wrapped:


This year I put my Banned Books Display up very early (start of September) to coincide with a coworker’s interactive display (she printed out pictures of frequently banned books and prompts patrons to use stickers to mark off the books they have read). It’s been interesting having the display up so early to see how patrons are interacting with it. I have routinely come back to restock the display to find it filled with unwrapped books or book wrappers that have been abandoned. The “sexually explicit” books I have put out have been opened several times to the point that I had to make new wrappers from scratch because they got so beat up.

If you want to know more you can visit BannedBooks.Org. The American Library Association also has a handy Banned Books Week landing page with a lot more information. School Library Journal also has compiled many useful resources.

What are you doing this year for Banned Books Week? Tell me in the comments!

Wondering how scandalous your reading history might be? Take this BuzzFeed quiz to find out (and share your results in the comments).

Here’s how I did on the quiz:

How Scandalous Is Your Reading History?

You ‘ve read 28 out of 93 banned books! You’ve dipped a toe into the pool of banned books, and you’re not afraid of at least some of life’s more illicit themes, like drugs, sex, and/or spooky monsters.

Summer Reading 2016 Display (Get in the Game)

Summer is a very busy time in any public library because kids are out of school and the library usually has some kind of Summer Reading Program.

Such is the case at my place of employ. To make things easier (and to promote the summer reading list) I usually create a summer-long display in the YA area to show off summer reading books. This also works well because we buy special “summer reading” copies and have them in a separate section during the summer. The teen section isn’t always the easiest to find while browsing so my hope is that the display helps make it more visible.

Since I helped create this year’s middle school and high school booklists, I was especially excited to make the display.

This year’s summer reading theme is “Get in the Game” so I decided to go for a comic style in my main sign. I included the theme, an explanation that the books are from the summer reading list, and directed patrons to the information desk if they want more information and/or to sign up.

sr16cAround the informational sign I put images of book covers for titles featured on the list. I also made larger images with some book covers and quotes. I chose which quotes to use based on whether I had already made an image/quote file (The Scorpio Races) and whether the books had good quotes available. The Great Greene Heist, for instance, did not have any good quotes I could find online so I just used the book cover. Then I just tried to do a mix of ages/formats to flesh out the display. I also tried to go for books with bold covers.

sr16bI stocked the display with summer reading books found in the regular collection as well as the special summer reading copies (new paperbacks with a summer reading label). As the summer has progressed I’ve restocked the display with whatever titles we have the most of on the shelves. I added copies of the summer reading list for people to grab too.

sr16aSo this is what my YA display table looked like for the summer. This week marks the end of my library’s summer reading program.

You can check out my library system’s summer reading lists online.

What books have you been reading this summer? If you work in a library, what was your summer reading theme/booklist?

“I Can’t Remember the Title . . . But It Had a Blue Cover!” Book Display

Instead of doing a seasonal display for December I decided to make a book display that could transition into the new year (I’m hoping to do an award winners display after the Youth Media Awards announcements are official).

After thinking about it, I decided to do a color-based display. There’s an old joke in bookselling and libraries that people will often ask for a book by saying they don’t remember the title but it had a blue cover with a dog on it. (Invariably when you find the title it will be a red book with a cat on the cover but that’s a different story.)

I chose to take that as my starting point for my display before heading off to my trusty PicMonkey to start creating graphics.

I started with an 8 by 10 graphic with my display title.


PicMonkey has a lot of themes which include premade backgrounds that I used as swatches here. Their comic book theme (with the building backdrops) proved especially helpful for this display.

After that I made some book signs with quotes. Goodreads cover view of all of the books I’ve read was very helpful with this. I also wanted to pick books with different genres, protagonists, and a diverse mix of authors which I kept in mind while making my choices.

For this display I chose The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough.

IMG_0686I could quote from this entire book because there are so many good parts but this quote is my favorite and I think one that’s really indicative of the book. The comic theme also conveniently includes an image with the Seattle skyline where this book is set so I included that as well for a little pop of color.

Next I made a graphic for The Truth Commission by Susan Juby.

IMG_0687It’s no secret that this book was one of my favorites from 2015. It’s also another highly quotable one that has a great cover so this image basically made itself.

Next I made a graphic for The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness which has a great iconic blue cover.

IMG_0688I rounded out the display with Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten.

IMG_0685I’m especially pleased with the way the branches behind this quote mirror the matches on the book cover.

Obviously the only choice for a background on this sign was blue paper. When I was making the display, the library was short on paper. I had one piece to work with and a stack of program flyers printed on blue paper. I wound up cutting all of the scrap paper into smaller pieces and spreading them out to make a patchwork design which turned out looking really great.

IMG_0684And here’s the display with some books in front of it (blue covered, of course):

IMG_0690To make things even more fun, this display got some author love recently on Twitter from the lovely Melissa Walker:

Have you ever seen (or made?!) a blue book cover display? What’s your favorite book with a blue cover?

Banned Books Week Blind Book Display

Banned Books Week is a week-long event to raise awareness about the dangers of banning or challenging books as well as to celebrate the intellectual freedom that people enjoy by reading books and having books available in their libraries or schools.

Banned Books Week runs from September 27 to October 3 this year.

If you want to know more you can visit BannedBooks.Org. The American Library Association also has a handy Banned Books Week landing page with a lot more information. School Library Journal also has compiled many useful resources.

This year for BBW I knew I wanted to do a blind display. I’ve seen other librarians make displays covering books with paper bags and listing the reasons they were banned or challenged. (The Lorax is always an interesting one for this since it is sighted as promoting eco-terrorism and being anti-industry sometimes.)

I wanted to streamline the process (because restocking my Blind Date with a Book display got to be a bit tedious last February) so I went a little simpler. I made a few graphics with a “banned” stamp and some of the top reasons books are banned or challenged in libraries.

Here’s what that looked like:


Like my Blind Date with a Book display, these books are all wrapped in such a way that they are still scannable at check out and easily unwrapped if someone needs the book.

I also have a poster board I use for displays so I made a sign with some text background and Banned Books Week information:

IMG_0294Part of the sign is a little hard to read because I didn’t make the background opaque enough when I made the sign in PicMonkey but I kind of like that because it seems fitting with what Banned Books Week is all about.

After that I put everything together and installed the display.

IMG_0329Reasons listed include: nudity, sexually explicit, anti-family, controversial, unsuited to age group, drugs/alcohol/smoking and offensive language.

Here’s a closer view of the display:

IMG_0330How are you exercising your right to read this Banned Books Week? Does your library have any cool displays for Banned Books Week this year? Are you featuring Banned Books Week content on your blog?

Let me know in the comments!

Fall into Your Next Book Display

Since September is finally here, it was time for a new book display at the library.

While I enjoyed my Summer Reading display and the RA fortune tellers seemed to be a hit, I also knew I didn’t want to be tied to a specific set of books for this display.

Since I wanted to do a back to school or fall themed display, I decided to go punny with “Fall into Your Next Book” which is versatile enough that I could stock the display with whatever titles are on hand. I also can trot this display out again next year and just change out some of the titles I highlight.

Working on my trusty sheet of foam core with help from PicMonkey I made five images for the display.

IMG_0241So as you can see I have nice autumn tree clip art with “Fall into Your Next Book.”

For the books to highlight I chose some titles I like that have fun connections to fall/back to school.

Here are the titles along with the quotes:

  • This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales: “You think it’s so easy to change yourself. You think it’s so easy, but it’s not. True, things don’t stay the same forever: couches are replaced, boys leave, you discover a song, your body becomes forever scarred. And with each of these moments you change and change again, your true self spinning, shifting positions–but always at last it returns to you, like a dancer on the floor.”
  • Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero: “Living a lie is painful, and doesn’t do anyone any good. I had to be true to myself, because, either way, God would know if I was lying.”
  • Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber: “She was completely soaked in blood. Her hair swung in red tangles around her shoulders, and her face was a gleaming mask, her eyes like hard diamonds.”
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: “It’s the surf on your face, the deadly magic of November on your skin.”

Here’s the display stocked with books:


Summer Reading Display with Reader’s Advisory Fortune Tellers

In the midst of summer reading madness at the library, I finally had a chance to make a new display. Summer is crazy at my library (and every public library) so I knew I wanted something that would be simple to stock and require minimal upkeep.

For me this summer, that meant a summer reading display because it allows me to pull titles from our summer reading section (a list I helped make so I like all of the titles already!) and also anything else that looks cool on the shelves.

I decided to skip the trivia/giveaway portion I’d been adding to my displays because it’s just too busy to expect staff to run around getting free books while doing all of their other work. But I still wanted to do something fun.

Several months ago I read an article from Molly Wetta (she blogs at Wrapped Up in Books and maybe you recognize her from when she contributed to Poetically Speaking 2015?) called “If Books are Magic, Librarians are Wizards: Readers’ Advisory as Fortune Telling.” The article has a lot of great ideas, but what really spoke to me was the idea of passive reader’s advisory with paper fortune tellers (or maybe you know them as cootie catchers?).

This is a picture of the fortune teller Molly talks about in her article.

I decided to adapt that idea for my Summer Reading Display. I wanted something that could be easily reproduced so I started by finding a printable template. And, believe it or not, there’s a site for that.

DownloadableCootieCatchers has a blank template you can download and edit. They also share a lot of fun user-created fortune tellers. In retrospect I could have edited mine a bit more to make it a little cooler but I decided to keep it basic.

Pick a color . . .
Pick a color . . .
Now pick a number . . .
Now pick a number . . .
Until you get your answer!
Until you get your answer!

I included a blend of titles from my system’s summer reading list (like All Our Yesterdays). And some reader’s choice options (in addition to Graphic Novels I also included fantasy, mystery or adventure).

Here’s the full display:

The image is from my library's summer reading art. I adapted it using PicMonkey.
The image is from my library’s summer reading art. I adapted it using PicMonkey.

And here’s a close up of the sign:

I added all of the text here except for "Summer Reading 2015" which is part of the original graphic.
I added all of the text here except for “Summer Reading 2015” which is part of the original graphic.

I made two versions of my sign. One with the text above and one that just reads “What will you read this summer?” That way, if the fortune tellers become more trouble than they are worth (or just aren’t a hit) I can still keep the display without it being inaccurate. I added the white text suggesting people pick a display book just in case someone is drawn to the display when the fortune tellers are not fully stocked.

Like my Blind Date with a Book Display I really like this idea and I’m hoping I’ll be able to use the fortune teller aspect again in future displays.

What do you think? Would you be into an RA fortune teller? If you work in or use a library, have you seen/tried passive RA ideas before?

Poetry Month Display

April is National Poetry Month. Since I’m doing a month-long series here on the blog (details coming April 1) I figured I’d be remiss to not also do something in my library.

Instead of highlighting specific books I decided to focus on some of my favorite poems on the signage and then stock the display with poetry collections and verse novels.

Here’s the smaller display:


And here’s the bigger one with the poems:


This sign was definitely the most intricate one I’ve put together as it was a puzzle project to assemble everything. I tried to highlight a variety of poems. Thanks to my constant display-making tool PicMonkey I also was able to keep to a spring theme with the colors. For a giveaway option I’m asking for the title of a person’s favorite poem to win a free book.

Here are some close ups of the poems and sign (I loved the Emily Dickinson one so much that I printed it out and put a copy on my desk). You can click the images for larger versions. The links go to my previous posts about the poems.

This is the sign explaining the display and also “The morns are meeker than they were” by Emily Dickinson:


Here is “Woman Work” by Maya Angelou, “The Mad Yak” by Gregory Corso, “Resume” by Dorothy Parker and “Mad Girl’s Love Song” by Sylvia Plath:


Here is “This is just to say” by William Carlos Williams and “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost:

IMG_2092How are you celebrating National Poetry Month in your library or on your blog? What do you think of this display and the poems I chose? What is your favorite poem?

Let me know in the comments!

Black, White and Red Book Display

Last month’s Blind Date with a Book display was a stunning success. I have never had to restock a display so often. I have never gotten so much positive feedback.

Unfortunately even if I had wanted to keep the display going, the level of work involved was unsustainable. I plan to bring something similar back for Banned Books Week and also for Halloween (masked books anyone?!) and of course next Valentine’s Day. In the mean time I decided to keep things simple.

This simplicity also stems from the fact that someone walked out of the library with one of my Blind Date with a Book signs. No one knows when or how it was stolen but it is gone. That smaller display is also by a heating vent and too small to accommodate the foam core I use for my display table. Instead of trying to find a new piece of cardboard I decided to commandeer a plastic sign holder and just use that to hold the sign display since that part is always 8.5 by 11 anyway.

For March I wanted something simple and after tossing around some ideas on Twitter I decided I wanted to do a color based display.

Here’s what I came up with:

bwr1If you think too long about the display text, it’s going to fall apart because the “red” should really be “read” if we are going by the old joke. But I really wanted to have black and white and red books so I just went with it.

The backing for my big sign is construction paper which I randomly and luckily found while assembling pieces. The actual sign was made in PicMonkey as usual and I just printed out two copies.

Here’s the smaller display (When I took this picture it was still stocked with my last four blind date wrapped books which were white so it works!):

IMG_2033I’ll leave you all with a close up of my sign that details the giveaway option for the month as well.

IMG_2032What color displays have you made or seen in the library? Do you organize your shelves by color? Tell me everything in the comments!