Sunday, July 17, 2011

Not So Extreme Makeover

Last year was my first year as librarian and my focus was on cleaning and organizing. Decorations were not high on my priority list. I did make some serious changes including rearranging shelves and adding some soft, comfy chairs; however, I feel like I can focus more on decorating and atmosphere this year. This is difficult for me because I am a minimalist decorator in my own home. I prefer clean and uncluttered spaces. Some might say my style is pretty boring and beige. I watch Hoarders and Clean House like some watch horror movies. I am fighting my minimalist tendencies and trying to spice up the library this year. I reread The Mighty Little Librarians' decorating post to inspire me and watched lots of HGTV. I want the library to be more cafe than classroom. The entire school was recently painted so I can't change that and they refinished the furniture last year so no changes there either. I can't bring myself to put up random, mismatched posters and I don't want to invest a lot of precious budget dollars on decorating so I brainstormed ideas with my color-loving BFF and came up with a plan.
I combed the clearance aisle and found some really cute striped flat King sheets that are going to be made into curtains and pillows. The only open wall space is above the shelves so I purchased poster frames that will fit in those areas. In the frames will be pictures from our school building and grounds. I have the first four ready. I have six more frames to fill and I am trying to decide if I want to take the pictures myself or have a contest during Teen Read Week for the students. The theme this year is "Picture It @ Your Library" so a photo contest would fit nicely. Maybe our art teacher would help me out and allow his Advanced Art students to participate.
I used Picnik to add frames and effects to these pictures to make them more artsy and interesting. I used ShortRun Posters to print the 18" by 24" size and will use Snapfish to print the 16" by 20" size.
I am looking forward to putting up the new Nonfiction subject signs and I hope that with these new pictures and curtains the library will be more inviting and cozy for the students. I will take more pics when everything is up and ready.
How is your library decorated? Is it inviting and welcoming for the students? How do you achieve that atmosphere?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Wordfoto Shelf Signs

You probably already know that I changed my nonfiction to subject categories instead of Dewey. Part of this transition was creating new signs for each area. I have been trying to decide how I wanted to create the signs. I wanted something creative, fun, yet still functional. I considered a ComicLife style like The Daring Librarian, Spell with Flickr, and even plain Power Point with lots of clip art. Yesterday, after reading The Library Girl's post about Wordfoto, I knew this would be great.
I created the signs using the Wordfoto app on my iPad. The app was $1.99 and well worth it, even if I never use it again (although I think I'm addicted now). I found clip art for each subject category, added a new word group for each area and voila. I tried to find clip art that was similar to the genre labels on the spine of the books.
What do you think?
You can find all of the signs on my Flickr photostream, where they are available for you to download and use if you like. I'm going to print them and frame in a plain, black picture frame.

One of our school-wide projects next year is to create a Palmetto tree shaped collage (We're Palmetto Middle) that tells all about us. Each teacher will have the tree outside the classroom door. I made a Wordfoto of my face with the word "librarian" that I plan to put on my tree. I will probably be making lots more for our teachers when they see it. I may even purchase this app for our school iPods because I see potential for simple, student projects.
What kind of signs do you have in your library?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Getting a Grip on Series

It seems that there are more series than stand along books these days and it is difficult to keep up with all of them. I have discovered a new tool to help me keep them under control.

The site is FictFact.

I created a free account and have started "Following" the series that we have in the library. I am looking forward to being notified when a new book is released in these series and I plan to use this site to label all of my series books. There is a social networking aspect of the site that lets you connect with friends and see what they are reading, but I do not know that I will use that part of the site. The strength in the site for me is helping me keep my series orders current and labeling them in the correct order.

Thanks to Fran Bullington's post for inspiring me to label my series books. I hoped to begin the project before school ended, but I focused my time and energy on changing the nonfiction. If all goes well, I can start on this project during staff development time when students will be around to earn community service hours and help me tackle the job.

Maybe one day soon I can post an update that I am finished labeling them:) Fingers crossed.