It's not enough for students to find the library a welcoming, safe environment. I want my students to find themselves unable to resist the displays and BOOKS!! If the displays can get them moving around, talking to one another and perhaps exploring a little, then WIN WIN WIN for the librarians of the world!!
Taste the Rainbow Mini Research Challenge
Okay - this challenge took a little bit of time, but March is SO dreary in upstate NY I was desperate to liven things up in the library. I poured cement into a bucket so I could ground a cardboard rainbow with wooden stakes and hot glued golden coins to the whole thing. It was glorious!
At the bottom of the rainbow were tiny envelopes with mini research questions (see resources below).
Who's Reading What?
Here is a pretty simple way to engage your ENTIRE faculty/staff while also building a reading culture in your school.
Send out an email (or, if your school is anything like mine, pop in and visit with your people) and ask what book they are currently reading.
Take an afternoon and print out pictures of your people and their books (number the books - see form below) and staple them to a cork board, bulletin board, whatever you have. I'm sure you can come up with a digital platform if your school is 1:1 that would be fun.
Students had to go around interviewing teachers they hadn't seen in years, secretaries they normally don't converse with. The activity ended up having a host of unexpected bonus benefits. Plan to do multiple rounds a year.
Picture Book of the Week
**Work in Progress
As a former elementary school librarian and general admirer of all things childish, I love picture books. Having one on display in the junior or high school library - with a purpose is great way to engage your students. For example, a poll, like the one featured to the left, "could you survive a day without technology?" Or a quick craft, like a book mark. I plan to add a Google Doc with picture books and related activities here. **Coming Soon**
Movies I've Read...
There are many variations of this idea. I tried adding fake popcorn (yellow tissue paper works great) and lights. You can go with the classics and there's always remakes coming out. For the interactive part I asked students to correctly identify the release dates of various movies.
This idea is modified from the awesome librarians at Poland Regional High School, in Maine.
Blind Date with a Book
There are a variety of ways to present the "Blind Date with a Book" display depending on your decorating talents. I chose to wrap the books in lunch bags (I'm pretty sure this was a Pinterest find), glue heart shaped doilies and old school valentines to the bags with descriptions. Students were offered piece of chocolate to enjoy with their mystery book. Below are some resources to get you started on your interactive display.
Banned Books Week
This display requires a white board or poster paper to record student "votes." After a day or two, amend the question to say - would you risk jail time for your MUSIC? The conversations get very interesting.
The Thankful Tree
Here is a super simple idea that generated a lot of positive energy in the library around Thanksgiving.
One small bag of cement
A bunch of large branches
Precut leaves of various fall colors
Students write what they are thankful and hang the leaves on the tree. Surround the tree with books about the holiday or people who are game changers in selflessness, holiday crafts, and so on.
The Emoji Display
I saw this idea on a message board from librarian Cathy Jo Nelson. I have not done it yet, but when I do, links will be available for the materials. Students make emojis for books they have read, which are then displayed around the library. Super fun!
Tweet/Snap your Advice
Another idea from the fun librarians up in Poland Regional High School, students "tweet" their advice to incoming freshman. This year I modified this to "Snap" your advice as Snap Chat is super popular. Print out a bunch of templates and leave in a basket with pens/markers. Templates are below.
Guess the Book
I saw this posted on Future Ready Librarians by Danielle P. Schmitt. The instructions were pretty clear cut: Students who guess the most titles win a cupcake. SWEET! The first pages of books were photo copied, mounted, and given a number. I've made a sheet template for collecting answers.
This excellent interactive display is submitted by librarian Leigh Kutach. It's similar to "Blind Date with a Book," you can run any time of the year. Clues are written on the cover. Students review and rate the book. I feel like there could be a modification where students have to guess books based on clues as a weekly event, where they don't necessarily have to read the book to participate in the activity. Below are the resources provided by Leigh.
Spooky Author Challenge
This super engaging challenge is shared by Julie Purdy at Poland Regional High School in Maine. Students have to match authors with book covers. You don't have to go spooky if you don't want. In one version, Julie found fun facts and taught students to use the "find" function when searching online. Super cool!! Check out her website: http://inforsu16.weebly.com/ or her Instagram: @prhslibrary.
Who Inspires You?
Just a simple blank poster board that reads: "Who Inspires You?" surrounded by books about inspiring women for Women's History Month. Nothing fancy here, but it gets kids talking about people who mean something to them and why.
GooseChase...for anything really...
I used a GooseChase scavenger hunt to get students exploring Mexico for Cinco de Mayo. I created a display with all kinds of books - fiction, nonfiction, art, informational, etc. Then set up "missions" that required students to take pictures of specific pages or images in the books on the display. You could modify this for any holiday or topic. *I also use GooseChase for Scavenger Hunt Booktalks that were super fun.