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:


Week 1: The Silver Peep
     For the three weeks leading up to our Library Book Fair next week, we've had a Peeps Hunt Contest. Each Monday we've hidden a marshmallow Peep somewhere in the library, and the first student to find it wins a $10 gift certificate to the book fair.
     I anticipated the admin's objection to sugary candy lying around in the library and possibly drawing ants by painting each Peep with a layer of Elmer's glue to seal it. I also anticipated the way kids are sneaky and occasionally dishonest by spray-painting each Peep a different, secret color. (So a kid wouldn't be tempted to buy a package of Peeps, sneak one into the library, and say, "Look, I found it!")
Week 2: The Blue Peep
     The first Peep was found in about 5 minutes.
     The penultimate Peep was discovered after about 7 minutes.
     The final Peep, though, I inadvertently hid VERY well, apparently. It was sitting on a very bottom shelf in the corner, atop a book on Egypt. This was the black Peep, so it was harder to spot in its shadowed location.
Week 3: The Black Peep
     By the third week there were plenty of kids who were aware of the contest, and determined to get the last gift certificate. I counted at least 30 students who filled the library as soon as lunch started (that's when I said the hunt would begin) and immediately spread out and began frenziedly searching.
     After 10 minutes no one had found it, and they were all clamoring for hints. One of the girls eyed the two eraser hamsters that sit on my monitor and said, "I bet THEY know where it's hidden."
     I said, "Maybe I didn't tell them."
     She smirked, "I think they see EVERYTHING that goes on in here."
     After 15 minutes the Peep was still undiscovered. I started thinking I might have to let it stay there until after school, when they could search for it some more. But in the meantime they were racing up and down the aisles, peering under tables and chairs, knocking into each other, the panic building...
     One of the boys kept saying, "Found it!" even though he hadn't, just to screw with the other kids' heads. They kept yelling at him to stop saying that. I couldn't help snickering.
     More and more kids were coming up to me, eyes wild, begging for hints.
     "Is it in the locked cabinet?" (No, of course not.)
     "Is it up higher than where we can see?" (Duh, NO.)
     "What color is it this week?" (Not telling.)
     I had to tell them that it was definitely not anywhere behind my desk, so they didn't converge in my work space.
     I could see the artificial ficus trees at the back of the library thrashing and shaking like there was a hurricane blowing through the room.
     "Hey!" I yelled, "I did not hide it anywhere that requires DESTROYING anything!"
     I realized the library would never survive more hunting after school, so I had to start giving hints.
     "Okay, first hint: Neither of the eraser hamsters can see the Peep from where they're sitting."
Eraser hamsters
     One of the kids said, "The brown one is missing his left eye, is that important?!"
     "No," I sighed. "Just pretend he has both eyes."
     The kids began assessing the hamsters' lines of sight, which was pretty funny. But the clock was ticking away and still they weren't finding that stupid Peep. Meanwhile, there were a bunch of other kids working on the computers, printing stuff, and checking books out. I was ready for lunch to end.
     One of the Peep-hunters ran up to the desk and asked earnestly in a rush, "Do you have a ladder?"
     "Okay everybody!" I yelled, "Second hint: the Peep is LOW."
     All 30-some Peep-hunters dropped to all fours throughout the library, and it sort of looked like a covert military maneuver. One of the high schoolers hanging out by my desk shook his head in amusement. Most of the hunters were junior high kids.
     I thought for SURE they would find it after that hint, but a few more minutes passed.
     One of the kids asked, "What if somebody ATE it?"
     I said they'd be very sick because it's covered in a layer of glue and spray paint.
     The cleanup bell rang. 
     "Third hint: EGYPT!" I yelled.
     In the resulting chaos, one of the kids yelled, "What? Regis? Did he say Regis?"
     "Not Regis, EGYPT!" I clarified, wondering if that was a Regis Philbin reference. Do teenagers even know who Regis Philbin is?
     There was a chorus of exclamations and squeals, thundering of feet, etc. Finally the sounds of triumph and disappointment as an 8th grade girl claimed the prize.
     The cool thing is that because of the nature of this particular school (college-prep academy with high standards) the girl who found the Peep went through the Egypt section and straightened it up for me of her own volition, because she had noticed what a mess it was after the frenzy of the hunt.
     Incidentally, I ate a few stale Peeps last night. They really do taste like shit.


Book Fair Peeps Bunny Contest!
     We're having a book fair in the school library. To create excitement for it, I thought it would be cool to do a contest and give out three $10 gift certificates to the book fair. We could give one out each week for the three weeks leading up to the fair.
     Seasonally speaking, we have Easter to work with, which is pretty fun. So... Peeps, right?
     Instead of an egg hunt, we're doing a Peeps Marshmallow Bunny hunt. Each week a special Peeps Bunny will be hidden somewhere in the library, and the student who finds it first wins that week's gift certificate, to be redeemed at the Book Fair at the end of the month.
Secret Silver Peep
     When I first emailed the Principal to get her approval for our contest, I forgot to mention that I'd be coating and spray-painting the Peep. So this was her first response:

Would you be willing to hide plastic colored eggs with a specially marked message inserted rather than the marshmallow bunny?  We definitely support the promotional idea!

To which I responded:

Is the marshmallow bunny a problem because it’s food and might attract bugs or something? Because I had a plan for that. I was going to paint them with sealant and then spraypaint them a different secret color each week. Does it help that they would be inedible and coated with sealant?
     It’s not that I wouldn’t be willing to do plastic colored eggs instead, but Peeps bunnies sure would be more INTERESTING, in my humble opinion.
     Plus, I wanted to use the slogan, “HOP on over to the Library Book Fair and take a PEEP at what’s new!”
     But whatever you say goes, boss. ;)

So she wrote back:
Yes, the issue was that it was a sugary food item, but sounds like you in your great wisdom thought through all of the administration's possible objections. So , Peeps it will be since you are making them inedible and using a sealant.

     I'm assuming that was the most inane conversation of her day.
     Oh- and another good reason to paint the Peep a secret color is to keep sneaky kids from trying to claim the prize with just any old Peep from the store.
     The only promotion I had a chance to do last week was to put up a bulletin board (at the beginning of this post) with a message about the contest, and to put the contest info on the "date due" slips we put in all the books that check out. But even with that minimal amount of PR, we had a bunch of kids asking about it first thing this morning. I let them all know that the secret Peep would be hidden by lunchtime, and the hunt would start then.
Where is it?
There it is! Do you see it?
     A group of very determined girls came flying into the library at lunch and hunted for about 15 minutes. We watched them pass right by the hidden Peep several times. Then finally, shortly before lunch was over, one of them spotted it, and won the first gift certificate.
     Now the other kids are jealous, but I've been assuring them that we have 2 more Peep hunts before the Book Fair.