don’t judge a book by it’s cover

We all do it, let’s be honest.

The colours or pictures on a book cover jump out at us, shouting: “Pick me!”

Sometimes the book is better than the cover, sometimes we’re disappointed and the initial attraction doesn’t lead to any deeper love.

And sometimes a treasure can be found under an unlikely cover. You might even find yourself passing it on to a friend, asking them not to judge the book by it’s cover.

So with this in mind, I’ve created a display for my library that challenges readers to pick a book, sight unseen. “It’s like Christmas!” I had one student proclaim as they unwrapped the book they chose so we could check it out to them. Considering they came back for another unknown book and brought a friend with them, I’d say the display is a success.

It was easy to put together and could be used during any season — both qualities are a perk for this busy librarian!

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I am spoiled by having a laminator at my disposal and often will laminate parts of my displays — this makes re-using elements easier and the colours don’t fade. Actually, I have a filing system for all the letters that I use. There is a large manila envelope for each letter of the alphabet and all the colors and font styles and sizes per letter go in the envelopes, which go into a hanging file system. I like mix-and-match lettering … you don’t have to worry about lining things up when they’re uneven on purpose!

For this display I used laminated circles cut from discarded books as a graphic backdrop for the title.

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I chose a selection of books that I would consider page-turners and would most likely be enjoyed by either guy or girl readers. I wrapped them in old newspapers– simply because they were handy and large enough to fit around a book and don’t cost anything! If I had large sheets of solid paper or non-Christmasy wrapping paper on hand, I would have used that. The secret to quick, easy, and cost efficient displays is being creative with what you have.

I also added bright colourful signs to the front of the wrapped books, encouraging students to grab them off the display. I made the signs in a Word document that was landscape orientation and divided into two columns, so that 2 signs could be made per printed page. You could also make smaller signs and fit four per page. I printed off more than I needed for the original display so that I’d have them ready to go when I needed to replace books that had been checked out.

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If you try this out, I’d love to hear your students’ reactions and how this idea worked for your library or classroom space!


happy new beginnings

One of the aspects of my job (as Library Tech. in a Secondary library) that I love, is the creative freedom to promote our books and services. I have a not-so-secret stash of prepped bulletin board and display ideas organized by month, that I will often re-use from year to year. This month, as we’re kicking off a new year, I felt like creating a new bulletin board — perhaps something interactive.

So, after some pondering and a little bit of Pinterest perusing, I decided to display the first lines of a handful of books, for the first month of the year. The title is: Happy New Beginnings — with the directions: Can you guess the books these beginning sentences belong to? I printed out various quotes and glued them onto the front of file folders; the author and title of the book were glued inside the file.

I have seen many staff and students pausing to look at the display, and flip open the folders to reveal who said what, and have heard students talking about the quotes as they enter the library. Mission accomplished — they’re noticing and pausing and discussing and coming in!

For those of you who are also library-types, or are simply curious about what first lines of books were used, here is the list (in no particular order):

  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller — “It was love at first sight.”
  • Incarceron by Catherine Fisher — “Finn had been flung on his face and chained to the stone slabs of the transitway.”
  • The Kill Order by James Dashner — “Teresa looked at her best friend and wondered what it would be like to forget him.”
  • The Guardian Dukeby Jamie Carie — “Heaven could be found in music.”
  • Safely Home by Randy Alcorn — “Three men watched intently as peculiar events occurred, one right after the other, on opposite sides of the globe.”
  • Words by Ginny L. Yttrup — “I collect words.”
  • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld — “The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit.”
  • The Chair by James L. Rubart — “On Tuesday afternoon at five thirty, an elderly lady strode into Corin’s antiques store as if she owned it and said, ‘The next two months of your life will be either heaven or hell.”
  • Too Far To Say Far Enough by Nancy Rue — “Every Monday morning I quit.”
  • Certain Jeopardy by Captain Jeff Struecker with Alton Gansky — “Sgt. Major Eric Moyer hated goats.”
  • Waking Hours by Lis Wiehl with Pete Nelson — “Tommy Gunderson woke in the middle of the night to the howling of the wind and the siren of his home’s security system.”
  • Double Blind by Brandilyn Collins — “Desperate people make desperate choices.”
  • To Darkness Fled by Jill Williamson — “What do you mean she’s gone?”
  • Megan’s Hero by Sharon Gillenwater — “She’d thought things couldn’t get any worse.”
  • Sunsets by Robin Jones Gunn — “’Coffee,’ Alissa muttered, pushing herself away from her cluttered desk, ‘a tall café mocha, and I need it now.’”
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card — “I’ve watched through his eyes, I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he’s the one.”
  • Chosen by Ted Dekker — “Our story begins in a world totally like our own, yet completely different.”
  • So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld — “We are all around you.”
  • After The Leaves Fall by Nicole Baart — “Waiting is a complicated longing.”
  • The Skin Map by Stephen Lawhead — “Had he but known that before the day was over he would discover the hidden dimensions of the universe, Kit might have been better prepared.”