Library Displays

Blind Date with a Book - February 2014

This was a passive program conjured up by the teen librarian at another branch in our system, which she said was very successful. Using her model, I conjured up this display. The idea behind Blind Date with a Book, if you haven't seen this elsewhere yet (it's all over the place), is that you wrap up a book with wrapping paper or here, newspaper. You write a short "dating profile", and patrons can take home a book based on that information. This is a great way for people to check out books they might otherwise not notice/pick up. The epitome of  "Don't judge a book by its cover." On the dating profiles, we noted:

  • People say I'm: (list if the book is sappy/funny/etc.; genre-fy it, basically)
  • Hobbies and Interests include: (list activities/themes you might find in the book)
  • I am a bit like: (insert other books similar to me)
  • Barcode: this is so that staff can check the book out without unwrapping it
Then I threw some streamers in there for good measure (again, hoarded for years). We included both teens and adults in here, and I tied it together with a little banner that I made in Publisher. The glare is TERRIBLE on the glass case, but oh well. 

Can you guess what the book is? Hint: Gary Paulsen

Cozy Up with a Great Mystery - December 2013

Now since I'd started working at a different branch, that meant that I could use an old display idea in this new space. It turned out even better, I think, and I really love that there was ALREADY SOME PAPER THAT LOOKED LIKE BRICKS existing at this library. I mean, they had a mild case of library hoarding that had been going on for at least 20 years, but I did get to take away this little gem of material and put it to good use. Add in a small stuffed dog, and a sofa made from some boxes draped in fleece, and we had ourselves a winner! Stuck in each book is an appropriate bookmark - cozy mystery bookmarks for the cozies, and the crime in cold places for those Stieg-Larsson readalikes. Also, I made use of the fire (once again) from the banned book display that I did here.

Six-Word Memoirs Passive Program - November 2013

I found a book of six-word teen memoirs called I Can't Keep My Own Secrets, and thought it would be great for a passive program. So, with a simple printout, a bunch of post-it notes, and a sharpie marker, we got this. It was really fun - all ages got into it, and I used some of the examples from the six-word memoir to get the ball rolling.

Fictional School Passive Program - September 2013

As a teen librarian, I liked to come up with passive programming that could get the attention of my teens in my limited teen space. This space I'm using is the side of a bookcase that is very visible as you are walking toward the door of the library. Here, I used a display/quiz idea that my colleague at another library let me borrow. For back to school time, teens (and kids) could vote for their favorite fictional school where they would like to (read: rather) attend in the upcoming school year.  There are instructions at the top - and you could put a little gold star next to your vote. Harry Potter won (duh).

Dog Days of Summer - August 2013

I really had fun with this one. It's very simple. I found an image of a dog laying in the grass like this and wanted to basically make a display out of it. I had a volunteer cut out my little grassy pieces, an I drew the dog myself. Add in a ton of books of all ages featuring dogs - and Dog Days of Summer came to life.

Summer Reading 2013: Dig into Reading; Beneath the Surface; Groundbreaking Reads

At JMRL, we used to do the Collaborative Summer Library Program ( They sometimes had questionable graphics, although I really enjoyed working with this one (except the adults' programs, which are pretty much terrible across the board). I still like these themes better than the iRead program that the Library of Virginia now supports, but c'est la vie. So the themes were as follows:

  • Kids: Dig into Reading (cute underground animals)
  • Teens: Beneath the Surface (every fantasy graphic imagineable...)
  • Adults: Groundbreaking Reads (zombies and hikers, obviously)
Since I like to highlight that summer reading is for everyone, I took the poster for each one (these come with the CSLP images, along with individual graphics as part of the set). I put each one in the window, and then tied them together as best I could. I used rumpled brown paper for the background, and the blue against the back is wrapping paper. Then I pulled out images from each section, spread them around, and VOILA! Also, the fake hand was a fun touch - thanks to a co-worker who had it, well...on hand, as it were.

Teen Read Week  - October 2012 - "It Came from the Library"
When I transferred to a small neighborhood branch in our library system, I had the luck to work with a nice big display case! This case highlights Teen Read Week 2012's theme of "It Came from the Library". Themes can be really fun jumping-off points for making displays, even if the general public doesn't ever know that these themes exist! The letters were made in Publisher (Publisher is your FRIEND, display-makers!), and the zombie and werewolf were actually from a game that I created/painted for teens while at Northside. For similar results, print something like it off Google images.

Book Covers Abroad - September 2012

In August/September 2012 I transferred to a smaller branch library, working as a children's and teen specialist. I saw some international covers of popular teen books somewhere (a colleague of mine, I think?), and wanted to do this as a quiz almost as soon as I got there. Lessons I learned: don't make them so hard next time. I should have thrown in a few more obvious ones, because that's what gets people interested in doing a quiz in the first place - you should let them think they actually have a chance at winning.

Novel Destinations - May/June 2012

This is a display that I did transitioning into summer reading to get people ready for travel. I used the idea from last year's adult summer reading theme to create a display of books set in foreign countries. This is actually two pieces of poster board together. I printed out pieces of construction paper with a stone print on it to make the blocks for the arch. The center drawing I created from pictures of Venice, and it's done in oil pastels.

Novel Destinations Display - May/June 2012

Novel Destinations - Close-up - May/June 2012

Historical Fiction Display - April/May 2012

 This one I was a little rushed to do, but I liked the idea of those little silhouettes from history.

Historical Fiction Display - April/May Display
Close-up of Historical Fiction Display

The Year of the Dragon - Fantasy Display - February/March 2012

 Since 2012 is the Year of the Dragon, Sarah helped me think of making a fantasy display of dragons to showcase this magnificent mythological monster.
Year of the Dragon Display - February/March 2012
Hi, I'm a little dragon! I was just hiding in my cave
 over here. Please pretend you never saw me.

Cozy Up to a Mystery - January/February 2012

There are so many mystery lovers at our library that I decided to make a display featuring cozy mysteries and cold-weather mysteries. Cold-weather mysteries being mostly those mysteries set in cold European country, a trend that seems to have really taken off after Larsson's Girl with a Dragon Tattoo trilogy. I got to re-use my fire from the Banned Book Display for this one! I included a list of cozy mystery authors and cold-weather mystery authors for fans and put them in each book.
Cozy Up to a Mystery Display - January/February 2012
Signs in our library - Graphic Novels and Manga

Our library was closed in December while the interior of the building was painted, giving me some time to make these new signs for the graphic novels and manga in the young adult section. Sarah already had that awesome Batman poster, so I made the signs to compliment it. The manga one I had fun painting.

Happy Birthday Display - December 2011/January 2012

My library celebrated its 20th year anniversary in December, so I made it a cake, and we displayed some books that featured cakes.
Happy Birthday Display - December 2011/January 2012

Books Gone Hollywood Display - November 2011

I love listing books that were made into movies, mostly because people are always surprised that they didn't know their favorite movie came from a book. So I made this display to bring attention to the books, and it was a huge success. I'm sure that had everything to do with the miniature palm trees I scattered throughout. 

Books Gone Hollywood Display - December 2011
Horror Books Display - October 2011

During my Adult Reading Interests class in school, I was surprised to find myself loving a Dean Koontz book. Horror isn't a genre I generally go for, but books have a great way of surprising me. It's hard to see, but my favorite part of this display was creating the little gravestones that line the front and second level of the display. The Headless Horseman was a bonus. I created a bookmark with a list of horror books to stick in the tops of each book.

Horror Books on Display - October 2011
Headless Horseman in the moonlight!

Banned Books Week Display - September 2011

This was my first display, and from there I was hooked. People gave me a fair number of curious looks while creating the fire at the reference desk. I put up quotes from authors regarding banned and challenged books, and made a bookmark with a list of the 10 most challenged books of 2011.

Banned Book Display - September 2011


  1. Hi! I absolutely love your book displays. Currently I'm trying to figure out how to make one using the theme "Spark a Reaction" which is my branch's summer reading topic. I'm having difficulty thinking of a play on words with that statement. Do you have any tips or ideas that could potentially help me out??


    1. Whelp, I totally dropped the ball on your comment, as summer reading is now over! I will say that sometimes you don't actually need a play on words for something like this, you can just create a visual message that conveys your theme. So, spark a reaction could be whatever you wanted it to be - and since it was definitely science-themed, you could go with the Big Bang, bubbling Mad Scientist laboratory, fire, etc. You could go more people-themed and do a display about love (sparks fly...), friendships, or reactions to a cause. Just food for thought for your next display creations! Good luck!