Joyful January

Front exterior of the library's window display featuring yellow tissue-papered photos of family photos and Joy from Inside Out.

The idea for Joyful January happened back in November, when I flipped out over some tissue paper art that Natasia did. I had a vision of seeing whispy images through the tissue paper, and then I realized that we could sandwich a photo between tissue paper and it would look like the memory spheres from INside Out.

So, I asked our staff, members of both our Friends group and Library Board, and our patrons to submit pictures to me for a special secret window display. All I’d say was that I wanted a picture of them and/or members of their family.

I used a mixture of water and white glue to adhere the tissue paper and printed photos (using regular paper with the image mirrored on the back of the paper). It was a bit messy, and I learned to be extra careful with the tissue paper since it rips crazy-easy once it’s wet. Also, once the mixture dried, I would use a razor blade to scrape up the mess around the circles (you can see the residue around the circles on the left side of the above collage, and what it looks like after the cleanup on the right side).

I think that next time I’ll try Mod Podge since there were some odd blotches on the tissue paper (mainly on the figures) that I think were due to the white glue.

I also added a simplified version of Joy and Sadness on opposite ends of our front windows. Since I correctly guessed that the pictures submitted would be happy pictures, I had one of my childhood pictures where I was obviously crying at the ready.

I also bought giant balloons from ebay that matched the feelings’ colors from the movie. It was a bit of a splurge, but I had such a strong internal drive to make this happen that I made a deal with my Director that if the balloons didn’t remain inflated for the entire month, then I’d pay for them. However, if they remained full, then the library would reimburse me.

Spoiler alert: I’m totally getting reimbursed!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE those balloons. These balloons were worth every penny. And if you get large balloons like this, then please get a simple electric air pump to blow them up. I had one for an inflatable bed at home, so I brought it in and it was so fun to use to blow up these balloons.

I also have to give a HUGE shout-out to our Young Adult Librarian Dustan for doing all the hard work of moving around the large ladder and hanging every one of those balloons for me. And he wore disposable gloves the whole time because he’s allergic to latex!!! 

Oh, and I’m planning on giving away the balloons once we take them down. One per family. Probably through social media. 

UPDATE: What we actually ended up doing was announcing on Facebook that we were giving away one giant balloon per family that day. As far as I know, no one came in because of the post, but we gave away every balloon before noon. AND IT WAS BEYOND AMAZING TO SEE THE KIDS FACES AS WE HANDED THEM A BALLOON AS BIG AS THEY WERE! I think we totally rocked some kids’ lives that day. Also, we had several people come inside to ask what was up with the enormous balloons that kids were carrying as they left. YAY! Get yourself some giant balloons, enjoy them for a month, and then give them away – it is INCREDIBLE!!! 

Shelby was in charge of the scavenger hunt, and she made a fun one where kids had to find different colored faces and identify what the faces were feeling (we changed the face colors every week). It’s been great hearing parents discuss what the faces are feeling – even asking why that particular face may be happy/sad/surprised. The prize for finding and identifying all of the feelings is a special silly-face stamp for their hand.

To the left is our super-crazy-popular reading bench display that Jennifer, Natasia, and Shelby worked on together.

I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve had to add books to the faceouts since almost every single book (both fiction and non-fiction) and movie has checked out.

While updating this post, I realized that I could update the scavenger hunt to make it useful for you – and so that’s what I did!

Click on the framed image to the left in order to get your own PDF of our scavenger hunt components. I only did one set of faces instead of how we changed the colors every week. I think that most kids wouldn’t remember the various face’s feelings since it’s mainly the hunt that they’re into.

There you have it: a theme that made me incredibly happy!

And as always, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions about this if you feel confused, sad, angry, silly, etc. Emailing me at is the easiest way.

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