Summer Boredom Busters

“I’m boooored”.

summer1Summer is well under way, and by this point it’s beginning to lose a little bit of its shine. Children who once waited with bated breath for their two months of freedom are starting to get restless.

When the kids are grumbling, and their caregivers are coming to the end of their ropes, it’s time to head to the library. The library is filled with free and low-cost ideas to help keep kids entertained during these last few weeks of summer.

A simple display of “summer boredom busters” highlights some of the different craft, art, and game books available in the collection. Puzzle books like “I Spy”, “Where’s Waldo?” and “Find Momo” are great passive activities that can help keep kids entertained on rainy days or during long car journeys.

summer2Don’t tell the kids, but it’ll be back-to-school time before you know it! ­čśë

Love and Letters from the Library Lounge

Remember the amazing program that the Community Librarian put on as part of 100 in 1 Day Vancouver?

We put on display some of the love letters people typed for us on those beautiful vintage typewriters.

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The letters were a beautiful mix of heartfelt and hilarious. I particularly loved this one – what I can say, we’re Canadian!

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And I had to include this letter, because story time gets a shout out ­čśë

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A wee bit o’ the luck o’ the Irish

Making displays is one of the many aspects of my job I enjoy. Here’s a very simple little display I quickly whipped together to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. My grandmother was Irish, so I can claim a wee bit o’ the luck o’ the Irish myself!

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We have a Cricut electronic cutting machine at our branch, and oh man, is it ever a fun toy! Not a necessity by any means, but if you like making displays and changing them on a regular basis, this noisy, expensive little thing is a major time saver, and allows you to make pretty professional looking displays in a flash. I used the machine to cut out all the words and little shamrocks for my display, putting the whole thing together in minutes.

Here’s to a happy and lucky St. Patrick’s Day!

Teen Books We Like – Bookmarks!

I have been sick as a dog for the past week, and I’ve missed two story time sessions, which has just broken my heart! I miss my little ones so much!

I’m going absolutely stir crazy sitting around the house, coughing and feeling quite sorry for myself.

I though I’d share another aspect of the teen fiction display that my colleague and I have been working on. The teen section is a never-ending work in progress – the shelves are always crammed to the point of bursting, requiring almost constant weeding. To add a bit of visual interest, and maybe encourage some teens to try new reading material, my colleague printed out these “teen books we like” bookmarks, which we’ve been putting in books throughout the teen section.

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My colleague and I have very different taste in reading material, which is great, because it means there’s always a great variety in the kinds of books we highlight. Some of the teen books I marked this time around were “Such Wicked Intent” by Kenneth Oppel (yay Canadian content!), “Terrier” by Tamora Pierce (girl power!) and “The Knife of Never Letting Go” by Patrick Ness. My colleague tends to prefer more realistic fiction, so between the two of us, there’s a great bunch of books on offer.

The book marks look pretty snazzy sticking out of the books, dotted throughout the stacks.

Teen staff book picks

One of my missions during my time as a temporary teen librarian has been to build relationships between library staff and teens in the community. I really want our teens to know that we have staff dedicated to working just with them, and who care about them and their needs and interests.

It’s important that our teens┬áget to know their library staff members, by name and by face. The members of the Teen Library Council already know who we are, but other teen library users may not have had an opportunity to meet either of us (the teen team at our branch currently consists of myself and a library technician).

We have an awesome display board in the teen area that’s maintained by the library technician, and I thought it might be fun to add a “staff picks” board to the mix. Every month we could each pick a title to promote on the board, in addition to a┬ácontinuously changing display of cool teen books. Our names and pictures would go on the board (a silly picture of me, of course, because I am a goof), giving teens a chance to see who their teen library staff members are (Joy’s the cool one, I’m the weird one….)

The library technician put all of my ideas together into a really cool-looking display that I’m very happy with! My first pick-of-the-month is actually a manga, since that’s an area I know a bit about, and it’s a part of the collection I’d like to highlight.

Here’s the final product so far – the display will be changing every month, giving us opportunities to highlight different titles, authors and areas of the collection.

(I’m holding a stuffed cat in my outstretched arms, if you’re curious.)

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Unwrap a Read!

I feel very festive today, as my desk is strewn with tape dispensers, scissors, gift tags, and rolls of wrapping paper. It’s “Unwrap a Read” time across the library┬ásystem, and this morning I’ve been getting our branch’s display up and running.

The idea of “Unwrap a Read” is simple – it’s kind of like going on a blind date with a book. We wrap up some of our nicer, newer paperbacks in festive wrapping paper, then put a gift tag on them with a little clue that hints as to the content and genre of the book. Patrons check out the books using the self checkout machine, which can read the RFID tag through the wrapping paper. They then unwrap and read the book at home, and return it by the regular due date.

Mystery book Untitleddisplays are a great way of introducing patrons to new authors or titles that they might not otherwise consider checking out, and they look very pretty! Depending on the wrapping paper you use, “Unwrap a read” can be festive without being overtly “Christmas”, a nice touch in diverse communities where different holidays might be celebrated.

Our display is just for kids 7-12, though last year around Valentines day we did a “blind date with a book” display that had sections for kids, teens and adults, and included a little bookmark that patrons could use to “rate the date”, giving us feedback on the books.

Although we try to have clear and understandable signage, there are always patrons who don’t quite understand the nature of mystery book programs, and who merrily pick up a wrapped book and walk right out of the library, setting off all the gate alarms…