BULLETIN BOARDS & DISPLAY : March Book Fair & Easter

This was my idea, with books on the Ferris Wheel, and books as roller coaster train. I just found a good simple carnival silhouette online, and replicated it with banner paper, prefab "books," copy paper, and a big black pen.

     We're having a Scholastic Book Fair the last week of March, so this month's bulletin board decor is a nauseating mix of carnival-y book fair imagery, Women's History (see previous post), and Easter & spring bunnies, etc.

     I did a Google image search for "carnival," and "fair," and found some nice & simple ideas. Primary colors, that circus-type font in Word, etc. We printed big fair ticket images on colored paper and cut them out, printed lettering on yellow paper, etc. SIMPLE. Because this is a busy month and shit's gotta get DONE.

This was my idea, too. Isn't it nice? Doesn't it tie the "fair" theme in nicely?

     And here's the circular glass display cabinet that some of my fellow library techs are jealous of. It is pretty cool. I don't know where it came from.

Countdown: "11 more days 'til the book fair!" (I update the number each morning)

     We got a cheap little round blackboard for less than $2 at Michael's for the countdown.

Various little bunny figurines and eggs donated by the previous Librarian who is still my friend, and by my mom. Who is also still my friend.

Tough to find rabbit or bunny books in a junior high/high school library. So we have the emotionally scarring Watership Down lurking at the bottom of the display, beneath cheerier titles like Peter Rabbit and Bunnicula.

Egg wheel from my mom. That ties Easter in with the fair theme! It's all cohesive. And before you say, "No, it's not! What about that Birding book?" let me interject that birds fit the spring part of our theme. COHESIVE.
Per reader request, here is the carnival ticket image, which I think I found online searching for free carnival/fair clip art:

BULLETIN BOARDS & DISPLAY : March is Women's History Month

     Did you know March is Women's History Month? Well, it is. So give it up for the lay-deees!
     I'd had a hard time finding a visually pleasing poster for it, so I was happy to obtain the one above from the "Diversity Store," HERE.

     The World War II woman above is from a free set of historical encyclopedia posters I picked up at some library conference. I cut the commercial stuff off and then my library volunteer aunt created that lovely lady-border around it using flowery stationery. Clever, yes?

     We used the nicest pictures from an old calendar of "Women Reading." "The Reading Woman?" Something like that. Then we added appropriate books to the display. Alcott's Little Women, A Break With Charity (Salem Witch Trials) by Ann Rinaldi, Sacajawea by Anna Lee Waldo, and Beyond the Burning Time by Kathryn Lasky.
     Women's History ain't always pretty, you guys. Shit happens.

     And here's the image I use for a bibliographic bookmark I call "Sugar & Spikes," which features edgier books for edgy girls.

Here's the list of books, all of which are available in our school library:


The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy & Goth Girl by Barry Lyga
Bad Girls, Bad Girls, Watcha Gonna Do? by Cynthia Voigt
Blister by Susan Shreve
Blue Is For Nightmares by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Born Blue by Han Nolan
Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci
Changeling by Yasmine Galenorn
Cut by Patricia McCormick
Dark Secrets: Legacy of Lies by Elizabeth Chandler
Define “Normal” by Julie Anne Peters
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Generation Dead by Daniel Waters
Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley
Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn
Glass Houses by Rachel Caine
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
Goat Girls by Francesca Lia Block
Green Angel by Alice Hoffman
Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger
Haters by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You by Ally Carter
I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert
Lucy the Giant by Sherri L. Smith
Midnight Predator by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Poison by Chris Wooding
Stoner & Spaz by Ron Koertge
Stop Pretending by Sonya Sones
Sunshine by Robin McKinley
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Threshold by Caitlin R. Kiernan
Tithe: a Modern Faerie Tale by Holly Black


33 Things Every Girl Should Know About Women’s History… edited by Tonya Bolden
Girls: a History of Growing Up Female In America by Penny Colman
Gutsy Girls: Young Women Who Dare by Tina Schwager
Patently Female: Stories of Women Inventors and Their Breakthrough Ideas by Vare and Ptacek
Picture the Girl: Young Women Speak Their Minds by Audrey Shehyn

(added after original post:)
     There's also this, which we put on the smaller bulletin board behind the counter--

     Years ago the Librarian and I made these "framed" pics of famous women, just by printing nice pictures out in black & white, and putting a backing frame of black construction paper, then creating labels that say who the women are, and what they're famous for. So we have Jane Goodall, Rosa Parks, and Abigail Adams. It's probably time I added some more ladies to this little gallery.

BULLETIN BOARDS & DISPLAY : Banned Books Week 2013!

     This post is quite tardy. The library has been very busy. But better late than never, right? Banned Books Week 2013 was September 22-28. I had the library all decorated to support intellectual freedom, and I did presentations about censorship and intellectual freedom for 6 eighth grade English classes. They were all very attentive and polite, and had great questions and participation. Their teacher had them all check out books that had been either banned or challenged, which made for some interesting research coming up with about 200 titles that fit the bill and were currently available in our library.
     She gave them an assignment to read their challenged/banned book and take a stance on whether they agreed or not with the book being challenged or banned, and why. Of course she leaned heavily toward influencing them on the side of intellectual freedom.
     I really liked how the teacher made it very clear in her paperwork for the students that banning a book means removing it from an entire community so that NO ONE has access to it.
     I felt it was totally worth the effort on her part and my part. I loved that the teacher wanted to do such a thorough exploration of a subject that's near and dear to my heart. It gave me the opportunity to talk about my own personal experience with censorship. It's great to see teachers who recognize how important it is to teach kids about the issue, and make sure they understand all the complexities of it. It's not simple or easy.
     I ended up having some great conversations with students regarding the reasons (so-called and real) why some people try to ban certain books. Sometimes it was difficult to find the info, which was also a nice research challenge. ;)
     Here are some pics of what I put up in the library for Banned Books Week, 2013.

There's that comic I drew a billion years ago when I worked in the junior high library...

Detail of the "Library Key"

I like this poster.

I like this poster, too. Those robots are cute AND open-minded.
     "Think for Yourself and Let Others Do the Same" poster available from ALA HERE.


Vintage Halloween tablecloth used as bulletin board covering.

     My Aunt Wanda gave me this rad bag full of vintage Halloween decorations. We figure they're from the 1950s, or maybe even the '40s. Some of the stuff was never even opened! Anthony and I put some of it up at home, and the rest I took to the library. My mom helped me put everything up, which was totally fun. Thanks, Mom! Thanks, Aunt Wanda!

Vintage scarecrow as centerpiece of the big bulletin board. (I made the reading tarantula years ago when I worked in the Children's Room of the Santa Ana Public Library.)

     I'm actually ashamed of that half-hearted "WEAVE ME ALONE, I'M READING" slogan. I was in a hurry to come up with something reading-related and also spooky or whatever, and kids were due to come flooding into the library any minute.

Luckily for me there were TWO of these vintage flying saucer witches, so one is at home hovering over our dining table, and the other is coasting across the library whiteboard. She's bitchin'.

     Then this crepe paper honeycomb spider happened!

"Kiss my fat black ass!"

     Rubberhead the Skeleton Man hangs out in the library every year. He's surrounded by potions, ravens, a vintage black cat crepe paper thingie, and horror stories.

Vintage crepe paper honeycomb bats, clip art collage stuff, and spoooooky books! Plus my extended bibliography of horror reading recommendations printed on orange paper.

There's that witch, some skull lights, and that sassy black spider...

Vintage Halloween tablecloth, vintage crepe paper spider, Maurice Sendak calendar, Chris Van Allsburg glowing pumpkin print from "The Mysteries of Harris Burdick," and Alice In Wonderland Halloween scrapbook paper.

I drew that lil' skeleton years ago, and he really needs some new material because he says "The horror… the horror…" every damn year.

    In the picture above, see those two vintage orange and black plastic Halloween decorations? My Librarian gave those to me before she retired. I love them. Thanks, Marilyn!

The End!

SANTA VS THE KRAMPUS : the legend continues

     A few years ago I did this illustration for the cover of the school newspaper's December issue:

     This year I used the same illustration for due date bookmarks, but I split it in two halves, so that students get either the Krampus, or Santa.

It's entirely random. If you're superstitious, you could choose to believe that getting the Krampus means you're BAD, and getting Santa means you're GOOD. I don't tell the kids that, because I wouldn't want the ones who get Krampus to feel bad. But if it were me, and I got the Krampus, I might think I was totally doomed.
     The students are totally aware of the Krampus because of this bulletin board display I have up, which I also did the artwork for several years ago. I do like me some Krampus.

     I was pleased to overhear two girls who were borrowing books teasing each other that if they let their books become overdue, the Krampus would get them. They were giggling and freaking each other out with the Krampus. I approve.
     I've also had several kids asking for a matched set of the due date bookmarks, so they'd have both Santa and the Krampus. One kid even muttered, "Okay, good, now I can just cut off the edge and fit them together to make the complete picture..."
     I think that's pretty cool. It's the little things in life...
     (...that will judge you NAUGHTY, beat you with switches, stuff you in a basket and drag you down to HELL... Merry Christmas!)


     So I had the library half-decorated for Halloween when I had to do jury duty. I hoped I would be excused after sitting around for a while, thus I left all my decorating stuff out in the library, thinking I'd be back the next day to finish it all up.
     But no, I ended up being selected for a case that took 8 full days, and was emotionally draining for all of us.
     So when I finally got back in the groove in the library, Thanksgiving was almost here, and I just quietly slipped all the Halloween stuff back into the storage room and slapped up one temporary November/Thanksgiving board, which you see below: 
We're thankful for... (genres)
     Eh. It's okay, but no great shakes. I already had all the elements in a November folder, having made the acorns and leaves a few years ago.
     I did think it was a happy coincidence that the November page of the My Little Pony calendar coordinated perfectly with my fall colors.

     One of the students had asked me when I was going to update our "Coming Soon" board behind the circ desk, because we finally caught up with all the upcoming releases. So I cruised our library's wishlist on Amazon for popular series, and put this list together:

Feb. 5th:
Cross My Heart, Hope To Die by Sara Shepard
(The Lying Game #5)

March 5th:
Day of Doom by David Baldacci
(39 Clues: Cahills Vs. Vespers #6)

March 5th:
Requiem by Lauren Oliver
(Delirium #3, the final book of the trilogy)

March 12th:
Chasing the Prophecy by Brandon Mull
(Beyonders #3, final book in the trilogy)

March 19th:
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
(Infernal Devices #3, final book of trilogy)

April 16th:
Fyre by Angie Sage
(Septimus Heap #7)

     A few little thoughts on this list: Cassandra Clare's series (plural) seem kind of cool, but the titles "Mortal Instruments," and "Infernal Devices" remind me too much of my beloved His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman. I'm just referring to the titles, not the actual content. Haven't read Clare's work, yet.
     Regarding the 39 Clues sub-series Cahills Vs. Vespers, I think the publishers of that series must want to annoy library catalogers. It's bad enough each one is written by a different author, and I resorted to making the call # "FIC 39."
     And one more thing-- I think it's interesting that there always seems to be some apparent trend in the "Coming Soon" lists I put up. Obviously this one is March's trio of final books in trilogies. March being the third month. I GET it already. 3.



     Since I'm struggling to get my OWN brain re-focused on school stuff (weh), I figure it must be even harder for the kids. Anyway, this is my slogan, and I think David Sedaris is a great example of a smartie-pants thinking person. Plus I put up some articles on the enduring popularity of print books even in this era of (relatively) affordable ereaders and free ebooks.
     I used the Bone poster because it's not like graphic novels are DUMB, right? Represent.

     I just Googled "brain" and "light switch" images and pasted them into a Word doc, one on top of the other, then printed it on nice brainy pink paper.

     For both of these boards I also Googled "light bulb" images, and printed them out in varying sizes. Easy and cheap, like yer mom.
     Fuchsia is a cool color, but the spelling of the word is seriously f***ed up.


Coming Soon in late 2012...
     So, I'm back at work after summer break.
     Things feel a little grim because the district is in such dire financial straits, and they followed through with their threat to eliminate all but ONE of the credentialed Librarians in our district. Which means all of us Library technicians will be running our libraries single-handedly ALL the time, rather than just half the time. It's a sad joke to expect ONE credentialed Librarian to manage 18 libraries.
     As of this writing the district hasn't even told our lone Librarian where she's supposed to report on her first day, whether she'll have an office at the district to work out of, or if she's supposed to just float between all 18 campuses, or what.
     Anyway, at least I still have MY job. For now.
     7th grade orientation is this week, likewise registration for all students, so I realized I needed to get something up on all the bulletin boards and display areas in the Library.

Ray Bradbury memorial wall
      One of the students asked me in mid-June right before school was out if we could do some sort of tribute to Bradbury in the Library, and I felt bad that I didn't have time right then to get something together. Better late than never, right?

Vintage Muppets library-themed poster featuring Kermit and Miss Piggy
      My site Librarian who just retired (since she would have been eliminated anyway), brought in this awesome old Muppets poster, which had a little bit of mold damage on it, but I carefully used some Windex and then laminated it. I love the Muppets and this old poster is great because there's absolutely NO nod to any current obnoxious trends. I'm guessing it's from the late '70s because of Piggy's outfit.

James Patterson article, plus "Maximum Read" poster, and various Patterson book cover images
      The now-retired Librarian was always bringing in book- and reading-related articles from the newspaper (the actual print version!), and I tried to use them around the library when possible. I figure it's a good idea to visually remind kids of various formats, and that it all counts as reading. Know what I mean? Print-rich environment, etc.

New book posters, plus My Little Pony calendar
      Behind the circ desk I did a simple board with some free book posters the Librarian and I grabbed at ALA in Anaheim this summer.
     We have a lot of Asians at this school, and I predict that the Koreans, Vietnamese, Chinese, etc. will make some snipey comments about the poster that proclaims, "THE FUTURE IS JAPANESE."
     (I would)

"BEWARE: QUIET READING TIME IS SACRED." "A Library is for Peaceful Reflection..."
     Since the Librarian is now officially retired, not to be replaced, her old office was just sitting there, and even though it felt a little weird... Well, it's MINE now.
     To put some of my stink on it, I took an old Sweeney Todd movie poster, printed out my own slogans, and glued them over the original wording. Now it's a threatening library poster complete with a straight razor!
     I love working with the kids, and create a welcoming environment and stuff, but seriously- when it comes to my breaks, I want my book, a cup of coffee, and SILENCE.

BULLETIN BOARDS & DISPLAY : Bottom Shelf and Superheroes

     One of our library regulars happens to be an Eagle Scout, and told us he wanted to do something for the library as his Eagle Scout Project. I guess this is something they have to do by their 18th birthday, and needs to be some type of public service/work. We suggested that he could make a slat-wall enclosure for the horribly ugly electrical tower that looms dangerously between the flag and the storage room.
Touch me! I am full of live electricity! I'm an accident waiting to happen!
     This room was originally built as a shop room, not a library, so it has high ceilings and some ungainly things that we've had to be creative in order to camouflage.
     Here's the lovely new facade/enclosure the student made for the ugly tower:
"Books From the Bottom Shelf"
     Isn't that nice? We're very happy with it. Not only does it completely camouflage the electrical tower (the side walls are white) but it gives us extra space for book displays because of the slats.
     Right now we're using it to highlight some of the books that get lost and forgotten on the lowest shelves.
"READ: What's On Your Most Wanted List?"
     We felt rather uninspired in the dull days after Spring Break, especially since we're losing all our credentialed Teacher Librarians for next school year. But we finally had to suck it up and ditch the Easter eggs, baby chicks, and "March is Women's History Month."
     We found some new posters we'd forgotten about in the back room, one of them with Batman and other superheroes. So I put together a display with novels that are about or related to superheroes and comic books (or have some cool sequential art tie-in). Here are a few of the titles:

Hero by Perry Moore
Will Eisner: a Dreamer's Life In Comics by Michael Schumacher
It's Superman! a novel by Tom de Haven
Mary Jane: a novel by Judith O'Brien
How To Disappear Completely And Never Be Found by Sara Nickerson
Sidekicks by Jack Ferraiolo
Interworld by Neil Gaiman


"Read, Know, Grow," plus a sneak peek at the upcoming book fair
     Okay, after processing a bunch of new books we were able to order with profits from our Amazon Associates Account, I finally added wording to the Library Pinwheel Bunnies board. The Librarian suggested the old stand-by, "Read, Know, Grow..." Simple and springy.
     I just printed the letters out using the "Curlz" font on green paper.
     I also printed out some sneak preview pages from the Mrs. Nelson's Book Fair website. We're hosting one of their fairs the last week this month, right before we all go on spring break.
     By the way, the background on this bulletin board is striped because I didn't have enough of any one of these colors. Time to hit the school supply store, again.
     After spring break the only things I'll have to change right away are the Easter Eggs and book fair preview pages. That'll buy me some time.
     Our district is planning to lay off all the credentialed Teacher Librarians again this year. They threatened that last year, but this year the general consensus is that it will really happen. By law the district has to keep ONE Teacher Librarian, but how effective is that going to be, for 18 school sites? Please. Anyway, this will mean all of us Library technicians will have almost no support at all, and have to establish new parameters as far as what we're willing to do, and what we're NOT. Some services will have to go by the wayside. One person can only do so much.
     Anyway, that's one of the reasons I'm thinking bulletin board decorations may be low on the priorities list when we get back. There's already lots of angst and drama and resentments brewing. Easter Bunny better bring me some f*cking Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs.

BULLETIN BOARDS & DISPLAY : Library Pinwheel Bunnies!

Yes I made these myself, out of discarded library book pages and construction paper.

Library Pinwheel Bunnies!
     Library Pinwheel Bunnies!
          Library Pinwheel Bunnies!
     Are you trying to figure out how to decorate your library for spring? Not sure what to do? Library Pinwheel Bunnies!
     There is no situation that can't be improved by Library Pinwheel Bunnies!!!

This photo is blurry because I was shaking slightly from being SO EXCITED about the BUNNIES!!!
     Never mind that I can't come up with a reading or library-related slogan, yet. I'm still thinking.


BULLETIN BOARDS & DISPLAY : February's got it all goin' on.

          Well, February is just packed with things to make mention of in the Library. Presidents' Day, Valentine's Day, Black History Month, even Groundhog Day. I am ignoring Groundhog Day. Not because I don't think they're cute and winsome, but because I've run out of bulletin boards and display areas.
          Normally I hate decorating for Presidents' Day because it's hard to do much with images of Lincoln and/or Washington. But I ordered Last Gasp's FREE full-color catalog of arty books and stuff, and there was this awesome two-page spread of one of Mark Ryden's paintings from the Snow Yak Show, with Lincoln's giant spectral head appearing in an icy cave before a young girl. Perfect! With a few minor alterations, it became my Presidents' Day poster on the circ desk. 

"Thank you for Presidents' Day, Mr. Lincoln!" "You are welcome, young lady!"

          Last year I made some Valentine's hearts that reflect diversity. Boy + Boy; Girl + Girl; and Girl + Boy. Love is universal, y'all. I made a display interspersing images from various teen books that show examples of each configuration.

"Boy + Boy; Girl + Boy; Girl + Girl"

          At the back of the room I revived an old "Take time to REFLECT on what you read" display I put together one of the first years I worked at this school. It became quickly apparent to me that these are smart kids who DEVOUR books, but sometimes I wonder if they're so eager to increase their number of books read that perhaps they race through things without taking time to savor good writing. I'm not impressed by how quickly they read, or how many books they check out. I'm impressed by how much they contemplate and internalize. And enjoy! This is leisure reading, not English novel assignments.
          Anyway, I made the "REFLECT" letters out of reflective prismatic paper. ;)

"Take time to REFLECT on what you read"

          The best, most exciting thing we have going on this month is a visit by published author Stephanie Jefferson, whose historical fiction novel, Princess Kandake, is now available through CreateSpace and Amazon.
          She'll be speaking to 7th and 9th graders about her writing process, and signing copies of her book. I'm totally looking forward to it. (And not just because she happens to be a personal friend of mine!)

Meet the author: Stephanie Jefferson


"READ THE MOVIE but don't judge the book by the film"
          After I tore down all the Christmas crap in the library, things were bare for a while before I could wrap my head around what to put up next. Then we received a copy of the ALA catalog and I saw the new "READ" poster featuring the cast of the Hunger Games movie, so I thought it would be a good time to revive the "Read the Movie" theme. We've ordered the Hunger Games poster, and I'll add it when it arrives. In the meantime I cut out the image of the poster from the catalog and taped it to the front of the circulation desk, and kids are totally noticing it and squealing and dragging their friends over to look at it. I feel like saying, "Okay, take it DOWN a notch so I don't end up HATING the Hunger Games!"
Left to right: Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), and Gale (Liam Hemsworth)
ALA ordering info for Hunger Games poster: http://www.alastore.ala.org/detail.aspx?ID=3650

Detail of 3-D foam film reels and filmstrip ribbon
          For my b-board I used a construction paper marquee I made a few years ago, with the library symbol. The film reels are cut out of foam sheets, and spray-painted silver. I used black construction paper circles glued between to make it look like rolls of film. The filmstrip ribbon is something you can get at party supply stores that have "movie theme" stuff. I used more foam to create spacers between the halves of the film reels. It wasn't that hard, really.
          I went through all of our posters and used the best from books that were made into films. I purposely did NOT use the Twilight poster because some girls saw it out and said they'd be very disappointed in me if I put that one up. I happily obliged them by exiling it. They reminded me that when it was up before, during the heyday of Twilight, I ended up sticking goggly eyes on Kristen Stewart. They liked that.
          I also weeded out the Diary of a Wimpy Kid poster just because... well, it's lame. The books are lame, the movie looks lame, the poster is lame. The "READ" poster actually has an illustration of the Wimpy Kid on the TOILET. I am not putting that up.
          Oh- and I cut out stars and printed this slogan across several of them: "...but don't judge the book by the film."

BULLETIN BOARDS & DISPLAY : "Squirrel Appreciation Day"

          Did you know that January 21st is official "Squirrel Appreciation Day?" Well, it is. And you should do something about it. Last year my mom special-ordered a tie with a squirrel on it for me, to represent. I wore it proudly and received many nice compliments. This year, however, the calendar is cruel and has placed Squirrel Appreciation Day on a SATURDAY, when I will not be at work and not have a good reason to wear a tie.
          One of the students I work with suggested I wear it on Monday instead, so I guess I'll do that. But it won't be the SAME.
          I love seeing the perplexed yet delighted reactions of the students when they see the Squirrel Day board.


Halloween's ON, witches!
           Banned Books Week is over, so I spent yesterday re-decorating the library for Halloween. Yay! The first thing I pulled out of the back room was my mom's awesome feathery witch hat, which I stuff over an artificial fern in a black urn, and set on top of an upturned black plastic witch's cauldron. Then I set that in the center of an artificial black wreath. (Well, it really is a wreath, but you know what I mean) 
          The color scheme is chartreuse green and purple. I recently discovered that CM School Supply, which has a nearby location, has these handy-dandy giant rolls of colored paper. Plus they have the wavy border stuff I love, in a panoply of fashionable colors.  ;)

"Dare To Be Scared" poster, and "Halloween in Wonderland" scrapbooking papers, plus vintage ghostie and pumpkins, and a simple hand-crafted black construction paper bat with White-Out eyes

          When I first put that "Dare To Be Scared" poster up (it's new this year), one of our library regulars told me it really freaks him out, and he'll be glad when Halloween's over and that creepy guy won't be staring at him anymore.
          I said, "Yeah, he IS pretty creepy. Can you imagine if you were walking home alone one day, and you turned around and HE WAS FOLLOWING YOU?!"
          The kid said, "I get a ride to school, Mr. Kovac."
          I said, "Well, what if you're sitting in class one day, and you turn around and HE'S SITTING IN THE DESK RIGHT BEHIND YOU?!"

Jinkies! There's even a RAVEN perched atop the sill! And are those GLOWING SKELETON HEADS?!! So chilling!

"The horror... the horror..."
          The big bulletin board has all my old handmade Halloween stuff. I made the spider way back in the early NINETIES, when I was working at the Santa Ana Public Library, in the Children's Room! I was basically their art whore, so I was given plenty of time to make arty things in the back work room. It was only recently that I thought to make clip art books for the spider to be reading. Now he represents people who read a bunch of books at one time. (I admit sometimes I do that)
          It's too bad you can't really see the details on the building there, but it's a spooky library, which I drew in black over dark grey paper. I think it looks really cool and subtle in person, but doesn't show up in pictures.
           At the back of the room over history and biographies is a long bulletin board that still had a summery display asking "What did you read over summer break?" so it was way past due (pun intended) for a change. Now it's Frankenstein's monster, and bats.  

Frankenstein's monster "Library Good!" poster, plus clip art stuff
Google image search for "bat clip art"

Google image search for "bat skeleton" and "fancy frame," and a few layers of colored paper
          Near the front half of the library is a long bulletin board that used to have a cheery smiling pencil and "Welcome!" in big letters. Now it's all skulls and weird scenes.

Clip art skulls, and posters from Chris Van Allsburg's Mysteries of Harris Burdick

          I've been using the posters from the "portfolio version" of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick for years. It comes in handy for creative writing workshops AND decorating! In case you haven't seen it, here's a link to it on Amazon (be patient for the widget/link to load, it may take a few moments):

          Recently I saw there is a new "Harris Burdick" book, which is an anthology of new tales by prominent children's and YA authors, who have used the tantalizing illustrations as inspiration. But the book is getting mostly bad reviews, because people seem to like Van Allsburg's pictures specifically for their unexplained eerieness. Despite the quality of the stories in the new anthology, the stories just aren't going to live up to what fans of the original have been imagining in their OWN heads for the past 27 years. (And yes, it really has been that long since the original book came out!)

Our cylindrical display case done up like a "cabinet of curiosities" 
           Our "cabinet of curiosities" has a rubber skeleton and various stuff from Michael's, or wherever, plus fake grass at the bottom with little "tombstones" I made out of construction paper and metal bookends. Plus some spooky-looking books. We're lucky to work with students who don't (often) steal things. We leave the case unlocked so they can get to the books inside.

Oh my gosh, the Reference Section is suddenly TERRIFYING!!!
          That raven on the pedestal is from Michael's, fairly cheap. I put a little "Nevermore" tag around its neck. The little orange plastic witch is a total vintage thing the Librarian brought in, from when she was cleaning out old decorations from storage. I love it.

I did a variation of this same Poe shrine last year
          The Librarian brought back some cool things from her visit to the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia. We now have parchment reproductions of some of Poe's poems in his own handwriting.
          The raven is just more Google image search clip art, and so is the little pic of Edgar in the clip art frame. I made the "curtains" last year out of construction paper.
SNEAKY TIP: when I'm printing clip art images and I don't have copy paper in exactly the color I want, I frequently find construction paper that's the right color and cut it to 8 1/2" x 11" and put that in the printer.

If you wanna see 2010's Halloween bulletin boards in our library, click HERE.

COMING SOON: September - December

The "coming attractions" board behind the circulation desk
          In case anyone is wondering which teen and YA series are popular around here, this is our latest "Coming soon..." board with the upcoming releases our students are peeing their pants in excitement about.
          As you'll see below, the two obvious trends in popular teen/YA fiction are 1) authors who probably don't really write their own books anymore because their names are so bankable anything with their name on it will sell, and 2) "tangential" series fiction, which is confusing to library workers because the same author will have 2 series going that look the same but they're not.

Here's the run-down of upcoming series fiction:

September 19th: James Patterson's & Ned Rust's Daniel X: Game Over, which is #4 in the "Daniel X" series. The title makes you think it's the last in the series but we've been tricked by teen series before, like Eragon, which was supposed to be a trilogy but turned into a 4-book sequence.

September 20th: Heather Brewer's First Kill, first in the "Slayer Chronicles," which is kind of a tangential series to her super popular "Vladimir Tod" series, only this time it's told from the vampire SLAYER'S viewpoint. Necessary? Not sure, but the kids will want to read it.

October 11th: James Dashner's The Death Cure, 3rd and supposedly final in the "Maze Runner" trilogy. Like I said, we've been tricked by "trilogies" before, so if this dystopian series continues to make money, the publisher might pressure Mr. Dashner into making a four or five-book "trilogy."

November 15th: Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever, #6 in the "Wimpy Kid" series. It's like the new "Captain Underpants" or something. Ugh.

December 5th: James Patterson's & Jill Dembowski's The Fire, #3 in the "Witch & Wizard" series. Patterson. Hmph. Sick o' him. He's juggling too many plates and they're gonna start crashing. Besides, so much of his stuff is written WITH other writers, how much of it is he even really doing these days? I think he's just a brand, now. Maybe James Patterson doesn't even EXIST, like Franklin W. Dixon or Carolyn Keene. Have you ever seen him in person? I haven't. He's an urban legend. Nobody can write that many books.

December 6th: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare, #2 in "The Infernal Devices" series. This is a tangential/simultaneous series (like Heather Brewer's above) that co-exists with Clare's continuing "Mortal Instruments" series. Clare is actually writing the two series at the same time. Both take place in the same fantasy world, but along different timelines. Confused? Read the author's explanation of this HERE. I haven't made up my mind yet if I find that impressive or annoying.

Here's a few other bonus upcoming releases we also have posted behind the counter:

October 4th: Rick Riordan's Son of Neptune, #2 in the "Heroes of Olympus" series. It's like a whole sequel series to the "Percy Jackson" series, about the next group of young kids at Camp Half-Blood. Not quite as annoying as a tangential series, but I still have to keep explaining it to students.

November 4th: Christopher Paolini's Inheritance, #4 in the Eragon, or "Inheritance" series. Which was supposed to be a trilogy.


          Couldn't figure out what to put in the glass display case at first. Then my mom was volunteering in the library one day (adorable, right?) and she suggested back to school stuff and next thing you know the idea of the traditional "little red school house" popped up, which seemed perfect. If you try to get too "modern," and figure out what back to school really means for today's teen, you'll just end up looking like an old person trying to be cool. I don't know what the hell kind of supplies and electronics and doo-dads they need or want now. (Yeah, I work in a school, but I don't pay attention to anything other than books.)
          Going vintage/iconic seems safer, and ultimately cooler.
I grabbed a bunch of very obviously school-themed books to display.
Close-up of my handiwork.
          I even cut out the windows of the little schoolhouse and cut the door so it opens! I used red construction paper, some blue paper (it matches the bulletin boards), yellow for the bell, and white-out for the trim and the clock. I felt very clever with the letters, sticking them in the ends of the books and using erasers to make the "YOU" stand up. But every time I see that phrase, "are you ready," in my head I hear Jonathan Davis from Korn screaming/growling it at the beginning of "Blind."
          Don't know if you noticed in the first picture, but one of the books on the very bottom shelf is "School of Fear" by Gitty Daneshvari. I think that's funny.
          For the rest of the library I chose a pleasing blue and purple color scheme that I am quite fond of.

GENRE: a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content.

Can't decide what to read? Pick a genre!
          We got all the genre posters free from Random House Teens. We've been slowly collecting them. There are even a few more than this, like horror and "beach reads," but they wouldn't all fit. Sometimes the Librarian asks me if we have enough of the books on each of these posters to display them, but I tell her if kids start asking for some of the books we DON'T have, that just gives us a good excuse to ask for money.
          I keep a clipboard labeled "STUDENT REQUESTS," and write down any titles we're asked for that we don't have. We use that, plus our own recommended lists, whenever we get some funding. I also take the student request list to the used book store when I have credit there from our donations program.
          As soon as the kids get settled after the first couple weeks of school, I'm going to plaster everything in here with "BANNED BOOKS WEEK" (September 24th - October 1st) stuff. I thought it might be a little too alarming for the parents and new 7th graders during registration and orientation. But look out in a few weeks.

BULLETIN BOARDS & DISPLAY : Graduation & summer break

          I was feeling uninspired regarding a few of the bulletin boards, since it's the end of the school year and we're having lots of drama, with the Librarians being laid off, and the Library techs being cut from 11 months to 10.  Then suddenly today I realized we'd be having people from "the community" in the Library this Thursday, for something called "Senior portfolio presentations."  That means board members could saunter in here, and it shouldn't have the look of bitter resignation.
          I was trying to think of some "goodbye" slogan for the seniors, and remembered those awesome singing dolphins in Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy," how they sing that adorable little song right before they leave Earth and the planet explodes.  It seems appropriate, and literary.
Douglas Adams reference
           Then I had this great idea to make one of those coin-operated fortune teller booths, only instead of "You will meet a tall dark stranger," it would be spitting out the names of colleges our students might be accepted to.
"What does the future hold?"
          Some of the colleges I included are UC San Diego, UC Riverside, Pepperdine, NYU Abu Dhabi, Cypress College, and more.  I asked one of my Library assistants to name all the colleges he could think of that our students had actually been accepted to this year, so the fortune teller wouldn't inadvertently taunt them with places none of them will get to go.  (It's getting more competitive every year)
Detail of the "fortune" coming out of the slot. I made it 3D! I'm awesome, right? Look at it.
          There's a long narrow bulletin board toward the back of the 'brary.  I used this one to encourage leisure reading, which hopefully the kids will have some time for this summer.  I figured I might as well continue with the baby shower colors, for the sake of consistency.
"Read something JUST FOR FUN this summer"

BULLETIN BOARDS & DISPLAY : June is Gay & Lesbian Pride Month!

          OMG, this narwhale is totally freaked out about the final library due date of the year!  She's so worried that students won't clear their library and/or textbook fines until the last minute, creating a library traffic jam for poor Mr. Kovac!
The stunned, half-wild expression is what comes most naturally to me when I draw.  Why is that?
          Just to be different I papered the bulletin boards in the library (all 4 of them) with a charming combination of pink and blue/yellow stripes, accented with navy blue borders.  The Librarian came in and said, "Who's having a baby shower?"
          I snapped, "NOBODY is having a baby shower!  I just thought the pink and pastels would be sort of summery, and also gay, for Gay Pride Month."
On the left we have Gay Pride, on the right is Summer Reading
          I put this stuff up right before the weekend of Harvey Milk Day, which is May 22nd.  The first official Harvey Milk Day was last year, and I'd made this big poster with clip art I pulled off the internet and a picture of Harvey.  I like the slogan on the big white button that says, "If the fetus you save is gay, will you still fight for its rights?"
          Let's talk about the Gay Pride clown for a minute.  He's new this year.  I had made the conversation balloon last year for my June is Gay Pride Month bulletin board, and a squirrel was shouting, "Say it loud, say it proud!" But I don't know where the squirrel is now, so I had to draw a new loudmouth.
          I was thinking about the rainbow as a gay symbol, which I've never particularly liked because it's just so... well, GAY.  But then I thought about those Native American rainbow figures.  Dancers, warriors, whatever they are. 
Native American Rainbow person
           I thought I'd draw my own version of one of those, because that would seem clever, right?  It would allude to existing mythology, AND tie in with Gay Month.  Sort of.  But as you can see, my little rainbow guy came out looking nothing like the Native American rainbow icon.  Before I knew it, he had morphed into a sort of mean-looking clown.  I was a little concerned that "clown" imagery would be a poor choice for Gay Pride Month, but I left my clown on the board because I like him.  Despite his playful appearance, he looks like he would NOT take shit from anybody.  And that's a good message for the gay kids, right? 
There's that half-wild expression again, but with a touch of menace. Is the clown dangerous? If you aren't gay & proud, will there be consequences?
          The other three bulletin boards are not pictured because I haven't finished with them, yet.  As we careen closer to the end of the school year, I'll have less and less time & energy for that, so those other boards may end up with quick and ill-tempered slogans like, "See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya," or, "So long, suckas."