2016 Children’s Library Themes

This is a brief-as-I-can-make-it rundown of our monthly themes at the Children’s Library.

If there’s a separate post that goes into more details of the month, then it’ll be linked in its header.

Have fun perusing!!!

January 2016: Joyful January

I spearheaded this month’s theme. I was in love with INside Out, and wanted to try a technique with photos and tissue paper. It was more-or-less a success.

Closeup of one of the image-circles.

The enormous balloons were an ebay purchase and they ended up being everyone’s favorite part of the month. If you get jumbo balloons, then be sure to have an electric pump. I brought in mine that I use for my inflatable bed and it worked great. None of them lost the slightest bit of air over the month, and then we gave them away on a Saturday where kids were losing their minds when we gave them one (with their caregivers’ permission, of course).

The reading bench display was a team effort, and was very popular with patrons. Almost everything we’d display there would check out, which is a great feeling.

Shelby put together the scavenger hunt. We gave out fun-face hand stamps for the completers. When putting this post together, I decided to update the scavenger hunt to have better graphics, and neutral prize language so that y’all can use it, too! Just click on the framed link above to get a pdf of the hunt.

February 2016: Puppy Love

February 2016! It was a blur of blurriness that involved death and a depressing road trip from California to Nebraska. Bet you didn’t see that coming with a post with the words puppy love in it.  But I felt that I should explain why there’s really only one photo of what we did.

Natasia, one of our newest team members, came up with this concept, and she did a great job of executing it. There was lettering (“Puppy Love”) and the bigger red paw prints with red tissue paper for the front windows. Lighter colored paw prints were photocopies of books featuring dogs – there’s an example of them to the left.

I heard one little boy come up to our front door and holler at his mom, “MOM! PAW PRINTS! LOOK AT ALL THE PAW PRINTS!!!!!”

We recycled the Lovesick Bookworms scavenger hunt. Thank goodness I save most of the scavenger characters we make – we just all ran out of time to come up with something new.

Our reading bench display was titled: Books We Love, and was filled with staff picks for books that we think should have better circulation. Many parents saw the hearts and assumed it was our Valentine’s Day book display. You could watch them glance at the sign, and then look at the books and realize that most had nothing to do with love, and then they’d look back at the sign again.

We eventually made our Valentine’s Day related books stand out more, and that seemed to solve the confusion. But hey – at least the Books We Love display got people to think a bit.

And there you have it! February at our Children’s Library: simple ‘n sweet.

March 2016: I Spy Ay Ay Ay!

We had a great time coming up with this I Spy theme, and are really pleased with how it turned out.

Natasia and Shelby worked together on making these windows both cute and playable. And when Shelby’s Mom found out our theme? She excitedly volunteered to make the Highlight‘s style art featuring our dragon mascot! See how many items that you can spot hidden in the picture to the left. Most kids had trouble finding the banana and the toothbrush.

We made worksheets for each window and released one every week of the month. It didn’t happen often, but when parents would work with their children to find the objects? Adorable.

Instead of a traditional scavenger hunt, we put together a “what do you spy?” activity at one of our activity tables. We used up a TON of stickers (we had a ton to use up), and then covered it all with contact paper to protect the stickers from being colored on.

April 2016: Artsy April Redux (The Lorax)

Once the local art teachers let us know that they would rather not do the art show we had in Aprils past, we shifted gears. Natasia decided she wanted to pay tribute to Dr. Seuss’ art – specifically The Lorax.

Natasia made the reading bench display extra-fun by creating a word scramble where the words would change weekly.

Our scavenger hunt was a simple “find Thing 1 & 2.” The two Things that Natasia made were so cute that we’ve kept them in our office.

The last thing I want to say about April is that you should go and read the story and its update in my original post about this theme. It’s about a little boy who loved our Lorax, and how that love sent ripples of goodness through time leading us to having an incredible infectious disease doctor on our Library Board in 2020. For reals. So read that and know that yes, décor can really be worth the time and effort.

May 2016: LEGO Mania 4

This ended up being the penultimate LEGO MAY-nia for us. Well, I should say that it isn’t a forever thing, but it had sort of become like a “holiday” expectation, and I’d rather free us up to be as creative as we wannabe.

You can get details on the standalone LEGO MAY-nia 4 post, but basically the front windows were bricks on one side and books that our kid patrons love on the back.

The reading bench display was pretty straightforward and featured staff picks (many times from the returns cart), and books kids wrote on their LEGO square.

And we repeated the “hiding minifigs” scavenger hunt from previous years.

Finally, we had our Mini Library LEGO Checkout Club (aka the LEGO tower) again, and it was a hit as usual.

June & July 2016: CSLP’s On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!

While it may have taken us awhile to come up with the décor scheme for the summer’s theme of On Your Mark, Get Set…Read!, once it was thought of, we ran with it. The gold medals we had up were a big hit with the kiddos – especially the one on the door. Many kids would look up to see what happened to the ribbon when the door was opened (nothing – it was in two pieces – heh).

Overall we had fun with the theme. I appreciated that we could get one more use out of the inflatable baseballs we had used with our Batty About Books décor.

August 2016: Having a Poké Ball

It was the height of the Pokémon Go! craze, and our team decided to have fun with it despite us normally taking a break doing new décor in August. That said, we tried for minimalism, and I think we succeeded without driving ourselves bonkers.

Reading bench display.
Collage for social media post.
Squirtle dry erase artwork.

September 2016: SeptZENber

The goal of this month’s theme was to help everyone feel more peaceful during a hectic time of year.

Natasia created a very striking mandala in our front windows using tissue paper and watered-down Mod Podge.

She also created the sign for our reading bench display:

October 2016: Pumpkin Patchwork Quilts

We focused October’s theme around pumpkins! After all, the area’s most popular pumpkin patch is part of our community. And considering how cheesy it is, I likely came up with the idea of making it sound like a Wheel of Fortune Before & After puzzle category: Pumpkin Patchwork Quilts.

Natasia, our awesome artist-in-residence/team member, took the theme and ran with it. I wish that my photography skills were better so that I could really show off her talent.

Reading bench “sign.”

I hope that these pictures convey how much fun we had with this theme. From the minimalist reading bench sign (that people totally got indicated that autumn-inspired books were being displayed), to the simple but OMGwasitpopular pumpkin decorating sheet – it was a group effort that looked effortless.

November 2016: KNOWvember

After our Children’s Librarian Jennifer asked if we would feature more non-fiction as themes, we came up with KNOWvember. Hooray for homonyms!!!

Boo for only having two pictures from this month.

The second pic features our factual white board.

December 2016: Decemberley Celebrating Jan Brett

To give us more creative freedom, we decided to expand what “Decemberley” means, and say that it celebrates children’s book illustrators. So our first non-Ed Embereley Decemberley celebrated Jan Brett with us focusing on The Mitten. And this theme was a HUGE hit with many parents. We received many warm ‘n fuzzy compliments and people waxing nostalgic for that book. It was awesome.

The animal faces in the windows are actually masks that Jan Brett provides for free on her website – Natasia just printed them larger than a typical child’s head. She drew/colored everything else: Jaw. Drop.

Natasia also made the awesome giant mittens using white craft paper and white yarn that she braided. The yarn feature really made this display pop.

And in this photo you can catch a glimpse of the rabbit scavenger hunt piece to the right of the clock. Basically, we took the masks and made them smaller, and then even smaller for the sticker prize.

If you’d like a deeper dive into any of the themes, then just click on the theme’s name to be taken to its counterpart blog post.

And that there was 2016 in a nutshell for you. I hope that you enjoyed it!

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