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.
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:
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.
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:
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 Café, 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 let me know – I’d love to know about it. And as always, don’t hesitate to ask me any questions about this.
UPDATE: We kept this chalkboard going for a while longer, but it took a lot of work. So what we did for a longer time was post enlarged calendars (front and back) on it.
The whole thing was removed after awhile. I can’t 100% remember why. But it definitely would have come down when our buildings closed during the pandemic.
I actually forgot about this practice until revisiting this post to fix it. I’ll likely put the enlarged calendars back in the window with a black paper backing.
If anything else changes, then I’ll be sure to update it here.
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).
Boom. Marketing our events to anyone who walks by.