Category Archives: Displays

Day of the Dead Display Idea

If you saw the title of this post and thought “Wait a minute… wasn’t the Day of the Dead over a week ago?” Yes you are right, it was! I had this idea too late for his year but wanted to write about it as a reminder for next year (and to share it with readers of TeenLibrarian).

For those of you who do not know what the Day of the Dead is, here is an introduction:

…Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is not a Mexican version of Halloween. Though related, the two annual events differ greatly in traditions and tone. Whereas Halloween is a dark night of terror and mischief, Day of the Dead festivities unfold over two days in an explosion of color and life-affirming joy. Sure, the theme is death, but the point is to demonstrate love and respect for deceased family members. In towns and cities throughout Mexico, revelers don funky makeup and costumes, hold parades and parties, sing and dance, and make offerings to lost loved ones.
[source: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/destinations/north-america/mexico/top-ten-day-of-dead-mexico/]

Basically if you have seen The Book of Life


or Coco

you will have a basic understanding of what it is all about.

If you have not seen one or both of these films then take some time and watch them, they are beautiful and highly educational and thoroughly enjoyable for viewers of all ages.

For a deeper understanding of the Day of the Dead you can visit this resource page

My idea is rather than creating a display to educate passers-by (although this is not a bad idea to foster cultural awareness) you create an ofrenda celebrating favoured authors that have passed away.

Ofrenda: An ofrenda (Spanish: “offering”) is a collection of objects placed on a ritual display during the annual and traditionally Mexican Día de Muertos celebration.

My author display next year will feature Terry Pratchett, Ray Bradbury, Mary Shelley, Virginia Woolf, Robert Heinlein, Herge, Vita Sackville-West, Jane Austen, Jules Verne, Emily Brontë anda number of other writers I have loved.

For a great guide on how to set up an ofrenda, follow this link:

How To: La Ofrenda

The Librarians’ Bookshelf

Suzanne Bhargava shared a photo of her brilliant “bookshelf” idea on twitter the other week, and we loved it so much that Matt asked her to write a bit about it for the blog:

When my school built its new library, it was designed with no walls or ceiling. Just shelves forming the perimeter, lots of tables and chairs for sixth form study, two giant trees and an extremely expensive sculpture in the centre. It is stunning. A showpiece. The bit of the school that is always shown to visitors. It’s a powerful message about our values. I mean, I was still annoyed of course, about the lack of display space. But oh well. It’s an awesome space anyway.

Ages ago, I came across a book display idea on Pinterest, but never knew how to riff on it or where to put it. Last summer the lightbulb moment finally arrived: I would create a sort of “What we’re reading” display to go with the little “Your librarian is reading…” chalkboard which was already on my desk.

I had the perfect space for it – the flat, blank front of my desk, which sits at the entrance to the library. The idea was that every time my colleague or I finished a book, we would update the display so it would be full of a wide range of book titles by the end of the year.

I started the year by making a little, unobtrusive sign saying “The Librarians’ Bookshelf (what we’ve been reading)”. Then I cut a stack of different coloured paper and card to roughly the size of a bookmark. When I finished reading a book, I wrote the title and author on one of the strips of paper and fixed it with blutac to the front of my desk. As the year went on, the “shelf” filled up and I started a new row beneath.

[First Day of School]
[Last Day of School]
I received lots of positive responses from staff and students. Staff would point to one of the titles and ask what I thought of it, or share their own opinions if they’d read any of them. In this way, I managed to get a lot of teachers to read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and My Name is Leon (my two favourite grownup reads this year). It became a sort of unofficial bookclub that never meets.

Students interacted with it in a very different way. They didn’t use it for choosing their next read (except maybe with Ms Marvel – there’s a strong little Kamala Khan fan base amongst the Oratory boys now), but took a keen interest in my reading habits: “How long does it take you to read a book, Miss?” “Why do you read kids’ books, Miss?” “What are you reading right now, Miss?” “Have you read __________ yet Miss? Well you have to.” “What’s your favourite book ever, Miss?” That one always stumps me.

I will definitely do this again next year, as it has been one of my most successful efforts to date. Next academic year I’ll be in a primary setting, so I will definitely be including picture books this time. Other than that, there are only a few practical changes I’d make:
1. Use only card. It won’t tear or roll up so much when students inevitably pick at it! Also, paint pens are better on card.
2. Take time with the design of each bookmark. I scrawled some out when I was pushed for time, and they just don’t look as good.
3. Get student library assistants to create their own shelf too! Peer recommendations can be a very powerful thing.

Celebrating British Authors during LGBT History Month

February in the UK is LGBT History Month.

To celebrate in my Library I have been working on a display celebrating British LGBT Authors both classic and modern. If any colleagues would like to make use of the display materials I have been working on, you may download them below. More pieces will be added as they are completed.

International Women’s Day Display Materials

March is Women’s History Month and Wednesday 8th March is International Women’s Day.

To mark the day I have been working on a display and creating rosettes with the colours of the Women’s Sufferage Movement and utilising classic and contemporary slogans.
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I have created a blank .pdf rosette that students can use to create their own, downloadable here:

Download (PDF, 164KB)

To go with the display I have been adapting classic photos of Suffragettes but with modern slogans on their banners.

These are downloadable here:

for-women-equal-pay for-women-attacked-by-feminism

Read the Movie / Watch the Book Display Materials

As Oscars Season is just round the corner I have put together some resources to aid library staff in schools and public libraries to put together a display of books that have been adapted into movies. An A4 colour Oscar Reading poster and five A3 pages of books for children and young people that have been adapted for the silver screen in film strips.

Download (PDF, 111KB)

Download (PDF, 1.83MB)

If anyone would like to create their own filmstrips with book covers you can download the transparent film strip here:

Making use of Limited Display Space

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My School Library, while being a classically beautiful and retro (in appearance) library space while at the same time managing to be fairly modern in offering a relevant, 21st Century service is rather limited in display space, owing to nearly every available wall being covered in bookshelves.

In December of 2015 I decided to turn my storage cupboard (one of the few usable forward-facing flat spaces) into a display board, which you can see on the left alongside my beautiful grandmother clock.

The other flat spaces are between the windows, but use of this space is tricky due to the ban on anything sticky being attached to painted walls. To get round this, I attached poster paper to the window frames on each side to create a semi-permanent display advertising the library clubs that I run on a weekly basis
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Has anyone else had to get round limited display space in inventive ways? If yes I would be interested in hearing how this was accomplished.

#ParisAttacks Display

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I started planning a display on the Paris Attacks the day after they happened. Initially I was planning on using reports from the various news agencies around the world to give an international perspective on what was happening in Paris. This idea did not last long as there was so much information being generated that I could have papered the library with everything that was available.

Another are of concern was the fact that as a boarding school, I work with a large number of students that have English as a second language and I wanted one display for everyone. Fortunately The Day has created a report on the attacks that they have made free to use

I also used the sketch by French artist Jean Jullien,

peace paris

the teachings of Islam from a tweet by Khaled AL Homsi

to show that what the terrorists do is not in the name of the faith they profess

and the joint statement from the London Mosques denouncing this crime against humanity.

I included a travel guide on Paris, the World Book Encyclopedia entry on Paris as well as a book on being Muslim, The Times and The Guardian newspapers from today, an explanation of why Da’esh is being used by a growing number of people and organisations instead of ISIS & ISIL and three general information books on terrorism.

Lastly, I added a sketch from French cartoonist & film-maker Joann Sfar to stimulate conversation about religion and secularism

paris sfar

Read any Good Films Lately?

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The Academy Awards took place yesterday. To celebrate I put together a display based on novels (mostly for children and young people) that have been adapted for film and television.

The centrepiece of my display is my Reading Oscar:
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I used my photocopier to enlarge him to eye-catching size and placed my version of the Hipster Kitty next to him:
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The books I used are:

Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Before I Die by Jenny Downham
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen by Dyan Sheldon
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Dracula by Bram Stoker
the DUFF by Kody Keplinger
The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula le Guin
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Gansta Granny by David Walliams
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
Holes by Louis Sachar
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
I Know What You did Last Summer by Lois Duncan
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Matilda by Roald Dahl
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Nick and Norah’s infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman
Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
Twilight sequence by Stephenie Meyer
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell

If you would like to create your own book of the movie display you can download the Reading Oscar here and Hipster Kitty here

Library Genre Displays: Crime

For the rest of the school year I will be celebrating genre fiction (& relevant non-fiction) in my library display space. I have decided to start with crime as everyone loves a good mystery.

I am hoping to extend the displays into the next school year to introduce readers to the best that genre fiction has to offer

My idea is for these displays to rotate and with each cycle they will grow and evolve to grab the attention of browsing students.

Books so good the only CRIME is not reading them!

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A book list will follow.