This post features the final work from our lovely Natasia who has moved on to a full-time library job where she doesn’t get to show off her art skills, but she does get things like healthcare and better pay. Ahem.

Natasia brought limitless creativity and beauty to our community. Those things will still be a part of our library space, but it’ll never quite be the same. She set the bar really freaking high, and I miss her every single day.

We only had four themes this year due to our closed doors, but the April’s décor will remain up until a month after we welcome back patrons into our space. 

Now onto the themes!

January 2020: A Robot Celebration

We tend to start planning themes months in advance. But sometimes we just sort of go “uhhhh…” for awhile until we decide on something. The latter is pretty much what happened for this month. Neither Natasia nor I were feeling inspired, but she finally came up with robots celebrating the new year and I was like “do it.”

I suspect that our lack of excitement led to neither one of us taking lots of pictures of the various elements. Our Winter Reading Program was using the whiteboard to display the names of kids who had completed the program instead of sharing facts about robots.

However, I did put together our Robot Scavenger Hunt so that you can use it – just click on the image to the left to download a zip file.

February 2020: BEES!

No Nic Cages were harmed in the making of this month’s theme.

Oh hey! You can see queen bee Natasia in the top photo. You can also see the scavenger hunt setup on the left-hand side of the circ desk. Kids know that this is where they should look to find the hunt. We don’t want them to have to hunt to find the hunt. Heh.

I have no idea where Natasia came up with the idea to celebrate bees – but wow! Talk about a front window that had our community buzzing. Again I say “heh.”

She used craft sticks and various types of yellow-hued paper/plastics for the honeycombs. 

The sweet hanging beehives bedecked with cute bees were courtesy of our Library Director. She had made them for a Winnie-the-Pooh themed baby shower.

We put out insect books for our display, and if those ran low, then we added books on bears because you’ll never run out of books on bears. #LibraryFact

March 2020: In Rainbows

Here’s Natasia’s final full décor for us: rainbows. The colorful dots in our windows were made of tissue paper and affixed with watered-down Mod Podge. They were incredibly beautiful, and somewhat haunting after we closed our doors because of the pandemic.

Our rainbow scavenger hunt was a bit odd, but once kids (and even their parents) understood it, it was popular. Conversations would be about recognizing emotions, spelling, colors, and even the science of rainbows.

April: Gretna Has Heart

I like to say that public libraries are “the heart of their community,” and so this theme emerged from that. This really helped me get through the scariest times of 2020 – it was like art therapy. 

I hoped that this would be a community art project where anyone could submit an artsy heart for us to put in our windows. Can I share an uplifting story of how hundreds of people in the community submitted hearts? Nope. I can count on one hand the number of hearts that were submitted.

In the end, I took time out of each day to make a few hearts and post them. That helped take the sting out of this failed group project.

I also took some time each day to work on making 3D versions of the window hearts. I dusted off my paper mache skills and mached away.

I made three large hearts (pictured in progress above), and then five smaller ones. The plan was to make each heart have a different art style (either all over or on each side).

Natasia made the above epic heart piñata. She also worked on three of the smaller hearts. Every time I see those, I think of her.

The other large hearts are my work. I dusted off my penciling skills for the children’s book character one.

The woven one is colorful duct tape.

The drippy inked/watercolored heart was inspired by artist Jen Stark.

And the gel pen/watercolor doodle one took the longest and was inspired by a stock image.

Originally, we had hung the hearts using a sturdy cord. The downside to that was that the hearts didn’t spin in the air currents. To fix this I bought some 30lb fishing line, learned the easy Uni knot, and rehung them. Now they spin around beautifully.

My hope is that our Library Foundation will eventually auction off these hearts to help fundraise for a new library building. If that ends up happening, then I’ll be sure to add an update here.

And there you have it: our 2020 themes!

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions about how we did any of this – I’m happy to help.

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