2017 Children’s Library Themes

This post is designed to be a fast ‘n furious update about what we’ve been up to at our Children’s Library this past year. If you have any questions whatsoever about anything you see here, there, or anywhere on my blog, then don’t hesitate to ask me! Either on social media or at hafuboti@gmail.com.

Now onto the themes!

January 2017: ‘Appy New Year!

Click on this framed image to get your own emoji coloring sheet.

This theme is one of the most loudly commented-upon by kids. I lost count of how many kids would come into our library and excitedly tell us how much they love emojis.

We also had ample opportunities to discuss our ebook resource with patrons.

We filled our reading bench display with computer or engineering-related books.

In the photo to the left, you can spot a piece from our scavenger hunt on the clock face. That one was an Ebook cover of a Curious George title. And that’s what patrons were seeking: Ebook covers.

We also set out these simple “make your own emoji” sheets back at our activity tables. This was a huge hit, and we covered our whiteboard with kids’ creations.

February 2017: Toss Kindness Like Confetti

This is the only 2017 theme that neither Natasia, our resident artist and creator of our décor, nor I remembered to get a picture of anything.
::trombone wah wah::

But wait! I found a picture of our passive décor program – yay!

March 2017: Nebraska Sesquicentennial

All Nebraska librarians learned to say the word “sesquicentennial” when our state celebrated it’s 150th birthday.

The bunting is made out of an atlas that was in our Friends’ book sale with yellow circles in-between.

April 2017: Artsy April

This time around for Artsy April, I asked Natasia to show off her personal artistic style. And let me tell you what: this has been the most popular window display EVER.

Check it out:

Both children and adults alike where enamored with Natasia’s beautiful work. What you can’t tell from the photos is that the smaller circles are gold leaf. For reals. It shimmered and created gorgeous effects. Pure. Magic.

The other dots were tissue paper. It was a lovely effect wherever the tissue paper circles overlapped.

The reading bench display showed off more of Natasia’s skills while highlighting our artsy books – both fiction and non-fiction.

May 2017: The final LEGO MAY-nia

We decided that 2017 would be the last time that we celebrated all things LEGO in May. We felt like we were giving a lot of free advertising to the LEGO company. Plus, we had plenty of other things we wanted to do instead. All that said, we went out with quite a LEGO bang!

The front window display was made using plastic table cloths and cardstock – easy and impactful.

We put up real LEGOs on our wall to hide all of the paint damage from sticky tack.
::side eyes sticky tack::

The giant LEGO bricks that Natasia made were so cool that we decided to group them in a smaller space so that they’d have a bigger impact. We generally don’t decorate around our activity area, but this was perfect.

And although LEGO MAY-nia is over, we will forever do our most popular passive program: The Little Library LEGO Club. A HUGE shout-out to S Bryce Kozla for this program. This year we finally decided to not put batteries into the base (the tower would get too heavy to spin), and let the kids turn the platform to find the perfect spot. This has been a wonderful change that I wish we’d done from the beginning.

June & July 2017: CSLP’s Build a Better World

Natasia did an incredible job with our décor for the summer. Her use of tissue paper and cardstock is mind-blowing.

After we felt how hot it can be behind the circ desk without any shade, Natasia tweaked her design, and got even more compliments on her work since her solution made them really pop. Plus, lightly-colored shadows were cast onto the white paper by the tissue paper gears in direct sunlight. It looked super-cool.

The bench display, was again, books that had just been returned. This is still one of my very favorite way to keep the display full while having variety and keeping the reshelving cart empty.

A cool aspect of this sign was that the gears would actually turn (if you gently tried to do so). This was a really nice 3D feature.

August 2017: The Ocean

The main paper cutout of the shark was popular with kids. So popular, in fact, that many would come up and smack the window, which scared the bejibbers out of us. It also looked Mary Downing Hahn Creepy™ when kids had their hands on the outside windows.

(little shadowy hannnnds…)

It was a lot of fun to see people notice the jellyfish – usually when the air vent was blowing and their tentacles gently moved. Natasia made these using paper lanterns cut in half, paint, and plastic bags.

The display pictured on the right was a team effort between Natasia and Adina. All of those ocean creature silhouettes strategically hid sticky tack scars.

::stink eyes sticky tack::

September 2017: Monarch Butterflies

This monarch-in-progress photo (to the right) shows both Natasia’s mad skills, and how creative we have to be with our future décor.

Plus it can be a fun preview for our patrons. Like, this monarch framework is on the cabinetry just behind my desk – which is visible to everyone in the library.

It’s rare for me to declare a theme, but I couldn’t help myself with this one. I have adored monarch butterflies since I was a child, and had begun rearing them from egg to adult.

What Natasia did with my request was absolutely stunning. Everything (except the green leaves) were made from black poster board and tissue paper.

The j-hanging monarch caterpillar in the left photo came home with me once November’s display went up. The rest of the display went to a very happy high school teacher.

I haven’t talked about our fabulous team member Adina enough on this blog. She’s revolutionized our décor over at our Main Library, and lends a helping hand at Children’s now-and-then. She created this cheery scene with paper, scissors, and paper punches. Wow!!!!!

The awesome Ashlynn put together the whiteboard facts about monarch butterflies. I loved hearing parents read aloud these facts.

Click on the above image for the monarch scavenger hunt.

October 2017: Creatures of the Night


We continue to enjoy not being constrained by holidays in terms of decor, though that doesn’t mean that we don’t have fun with it. Our focus was on nocturnal critters, and Natasia knocked it out of the park using scissors, an x-acto knife, and black poster board.

::sings:: Gooooogly Eyyyyyes!!!

I had to recreate our moon themed scavenger hunt minus the prize stickers since I cannot recall what they were. And since I recreated the moon graphics, I decided to make their high-res pngs available for y’all to use.

November 2017: The Return of Dinovember

Typically we don’t like to repeat themes, but since Natasia wasn’t part of our team during our first Dinovember, we thought it’d be fun to have her take a whack at it. She decided to do a “doodle” version of dinos à la Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the like.

I had hoped families would use the door as a photo op, but not many did even after I posted this picture of myself demonstrating how to do so on our library’s Facebook page.

December 2017: Decemberley featuring Mo Willems

Ok y’all. I know that we’re in the wrong in the world of copyright. But there are times where I can be a bit of a petulant child (sorry, Hyperion Books for Children and Mr. Willems). When I had the thought of “Don’t Let Pigeon Drive the Zamboni,” I knew that we had to celebrate Mo Willems’ work for our annual Decemberley celebration. And I think that it was a good choice because we could hear kids shouting their favorite characters’ names as they approached our front door. Duckling got a ton of love.

I was unable to photograph the cool ice effect that Natasia achieved after some trial and error. The ice is made up of long strips of packing tape that have been covered in different sizes of glitter. It looked amazing in the sunlight. Sooooo sparkly.

My favorite part of our décor was when I realized that we could hang images of all the things that the Pigeon wants (as chronicled in both Pigeon Wants a Puppy and Duckling Gets a Cookie!?). It was irreverent, fun, and a ton of fun when either people figured it out or asked us what was the deal with the cookies, hotdogs, french-fry robots, etc. Plus they would spin, and at least once a year I want things hanging/spinning from our ceiling. What can I say? It makes me happy.

More ways that we celebrated Willems’ work:

Another big shout-out to Angie Manfredi for her Winter Reading Program idea. It continues to be very popular and is a good idea.


Hooray! You made it through my most epic post ever. And as a reward for making it to the end, I’ve included the images that I created (or just colored in) for our Mo Willems celebration. Click on the image below to get a pdf of both sides of the following images: a cookie, hot dog, walrus, iceberg, puppy, bus, and french-fry robot. You can use these images however you’d like – enjoy!

Disclaimer: no pigeons were harmed in the making of this post.

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