This post is meant to be an overview, and not a blow-by-blow breakdown of how we did it. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
I must give credit to my right-hand assistant and amazing artist team member Natasia. She created, from start-to-finish, almost all of the décor you’ll see here. More credit goes to her for taking and sharing most of the photos in this post.
Now onto the themes!
January 2018: Cameo Appearances
This paper chain people sign for our reading bench display proves that you don’t always need to have a sign with words on it to have an effective display.
The passive program of kids/parents drawing their own portraits was a hit. We posted their creations on our whiteboard by the activity table. We always offer to make a copy for the young artists for them to take home.
You also don’t need an elaborate set-up for a successful passive program.*
*2022 Update: I’ve begun using the term “self-directed programs” over “passive” since self-directed gives a much clearer picture of what these programs are.
February 2018: ???
This is a lost theme. Neither Natasia nor myself could remember what we did – it’s the second February that’s been “lost.” D’oh! Maybe we should have done our mystery theme in February instead.
March 2018: Mysterious March
Our reading bench display was constantly needing to be refilled. I believe that by the end of the month we were adding junior fiction titles to it (like Nancy Drew and the like).
Our scavenger hunt was pretty fun, but had the issue of kids thinking that the clues were in the front windows.
The best part was hearing how parents or caregivers would read the sign. What can I say? The opening line is great.
I could locate only on piece of this scavenger hunt’s component: the sign. If you click on the image, then you can have your own copy.
April 2018: Artsy April
Natasia had fun being artsy for our final Artsy April. It wasn’t that we hated the theme, it was more like we had so many other themes that we’d rather do instead.
We had a good time with our scavenger hunt and switched out the sets of paintings each week so that there were four different hunts through the month.
Click on the image below to the right in order to get everything you need to run your very own art appreciation scavenger hunt!
May 2018: May Flowers
Natasia had hoped that May would be a less-stressful theme by having kids and caregivers color two styles of flowers that we had at our activity tables.
My favorite flower design was by our Library Page at the time, Wendy. I ended up laminating her Totoro flower as soon as it came down, and it’s on our office wall.
But, you may have caught on that I said hoped that this would be less stressful. It was a great theory, but she ended up (even with us all trying to help her) spending a lot of time cutting out flowers instead of working on the upcoming summer’s theme.
I cannot locate the scavenger hunt for this month. It may have been very similar to this one we did later: the February 2020 bee theme.
June & July 2018: CLSP’s Libraries Rock
Honestly, the summer of 2018 was an absolute blur. I was Acting Director (my Director was on maternity leave), we had just lost our Young Adult Librarian to a full-time library job elsewhere, I was President-Elect of the Nebraska Library Association during one of its most tumultuous times, and my husband and I (after our landlord unexpectedly decided to sell the house we were renting) went through the process of buying our first home and moving into said home.
But you’re here for the themes, so let me get back on track.
In the above photo, you can see that there are music notes hung from the ceiling with fishing line. Well, you can’t see the fishing line (that’s why we use it), but you also can’t see the glitter on the notes. So not only did they twirl in the air currents, they also glittered. They were one of the bright spots during this difficult time.
If you look closely at the back of the building on the right-hand green wall – that’s where our whiteboard is. You can see some completed coloring sheets taped up on it. It’s not large, but kids LOVE seeing their work displayed.
August 2018: Our Library Is Doggone Great!
I’m a bit embarrassed that I was the most involved in this theme, and it’s the one I took the most pictures of. I can has ego. But, this theme was created by the teens who were in our Teen Summer Internship program.
The teens decided that for their big project, they’d be creative directors for one month. Based on our discussions of advocacy, they came up with “Our Library Is Doggone Great,” and to have a dog walk to benefit our Library Foundation. Unfortunately, for all the reasons I mentioned in June/July, helping to organize that awesome idea for an event was beyond me. At least we were able to get up the décor that they had helped to created, and shared it with our community.
An intern’s aunt works for a no-kill dog shelter, and supplied us with great photos. So I taught the teens some basic Photoshop skills, and they each got a chance to create their own dog face. Yay! Then I finished ‘shopping the doggos, and then had fun turning real or imaginary books into something fun for the dogs to read. On the exterior, the books were flat, but on the inside, we folded the book covers along their spines to give the books a fun 3D pop appearance.
I rarely include a photo of the prize stickers that we make for almost all of our scavenger hunts. I don’t know why I don’t think to share those. Thankfully I got a shot of the ones for this month.
These dog stickers are the “large” round stickers that we use occasionally. We cut them out individually so that they can fit in small bowls next to each circulation desk computer.
In general, we use spine labels with images printed on them. You would not believe how popular our small stickers are. They’re wildly popular. See October’s theme for an example of what those type of sticker sheets look like.
September 2018: Theme Break
We took our annual break from themes.
The following year, we took the break before summer so that there was more time for summer décor prep. That was a good idea.
October 2018: Creepy Crawlies
Having freed ourselves from holiday themes years ago, we continue finding fun ways to acknowledge the season without alienating anyone. Well, this time we may have alienated those with arachnophobia.
Natasia’s skills with tissue paper, cardstock, and pretty much anything, are always incredible to see. These photos don’t do her work justice.
Oh and look – ’tis another scavenger hunt that I can’t fully share because of my forgetfulness. But I do have a closeup of the check list:
Directly to the left is what our spine label prize stickers look like. We usually cut up a page like this into smaller selections to help with both space, and children’s decision-making.
November 2018: Owls Whooo Read
I wish that there was a better photo showing the gorgeous front windows that featured owls reading books in the woods. We only had the one above, and I had to boost the light and saturation a lot just so you can maybe get the gist.
Thankfully, I took a good picture of the owls before they were put in the window:
December 2018: Decemberley featuring Eric Carle’s Draw Me a Star
Natasia made these really beautiful stars using Eric Carle’s technique with thin cardboard, tissue paper, and paint. The above stars were just a few that were hung from our ceiling. The front window featured a few stars like this of various sizes, and the boy who was drawing the stars in the book, was drawing a star on our window.
This was also interactive décor in which kids and caregivers could participate by coloring their own stars.
Needless to say, I’m devastated that we didn’t get a photo of the final windows.
And that covers 2018!
Again, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions about anything, or you have any problems downloading any of the freebies.
I also love it when anyone sends me pictures of anything that I inspire them to do at their library. ::hint hint eyebrow waggle::