Signs, Signs, Everywhere There’s Signs

12 Mar

When I began this blog over the summer, I was firmly entrenched as a children’s librarian.  Then in October I made a transition and became a branch manager.  I still read a ton of children’s books, and while I have written a number of bookcentric posts, I have never wanted this to become a literature blog.  The blogs I enjoy most are about children’s programming and pushing the envelope (ie. putting the z before the y) in this library-o-sphere we all inhabit, and that’s a conversation I wanted to contribute to.

But here’s the deal.  I haven’t been doing a heck of a lot with children’s services since I began my new position.  In fact, I haven’t been up to much of anything that would make for interesting blog posts (the day I post about preparing staff schedules is the day I shut this operation down and check myself into a home for the Chronically Boring and Bureaucratic).  Please bear with me.  My new location has a ton of potential, and I am talking a big game about it becoming a vibrant gathering place and indispensable partner within the community.  I’ll write about it as it unfolds, and that’s an ironclad promise.

A small project I have been chipping away at is replacing signs and shelf labels, particularly in the adult room.  I create them as text boxes in Microsoft Publisher, which I print on color paper, cut out, and rubber cement onto pieces of cardboard (a cereal box I brought from home).  The primary font I used, Rod, is one I stumbled across by accident when I began designing these shelf labels, and it has since become a favorite.  I want our signs to be noticeable and stylish, but at the same time, not too big or ostentatious.  As you’ll see below, it is difficult for me not to get a little cheeky and whimsical.

The bulk of the collection in the adult reading room is fiction, and there are now 11 of these puppies affixed to the bookcases.

Fiction Label

We have one bookcase of large print books.

Large Print Label

Below is the sign that initiated the whole sign-making spree.  When I first arrived, there was nothing to indicate where the holds were housed.

Holds Label

DVD Label

The next two labels are pretty mod, and they complement each other.  I am scheming to eventually bring the non-fiction downstairs from the balcony where it currently resides.  We’ll probably set up the New Non-Fiction over there once the move has been completed.

New Books Label

Saving my favorites for last.  We have three bookcases of romance paperbacks (which circ like hotcakes).  Here’s the label on the first bookcase.

Romance Pbk Label

Then I put up these arrows on the two remaining cases, because after all, the love goes on and on.

Romance Arrow

Finally, we have the graphic novels.

Graphic Novels Label

That ‘Kapow!’ is in 3-D.  I came across the idea while browsing library display ideas in Pinterest.  The source is the In the Children’s Room blog.

Kapow label

So that’s what’s new and nifty in the adult reading room.  My Adventures with Microsoft Publisher don’t end there, however.  I’ve only been at this branch for four months, and my experience has been that programs are not much of a draw here.  My fingers are crossed that business will pick up when the weather gets warmer, but we’re also trying out new ways to build interest and awareness in the community.

I found we had an extra flannelboard, which I commandeered along with an easel.  Then I made the world’s skinniest banner in Microsoft Publisher, taped it to the top of the flannelboard, and thumbtacked program fliers on it.  I set the board up on the easel and put it in the front entrance where it’s the first thing patrons see when they walk through the door.

bulletin board

The board hasn’t increased program attendance, but I do notice a lot of patrons stopping to peruse it.  I’m patient.  If all it does at this point is illustrate that this specific library offers a variety of programs, then I’m satisfied.  We’ll continue publicizing programs through community and school outreach, and try to get those numbers up.   I think we’ll eventually have to adopt more drop-in and stealth types of programming instead of relying solely on programming with fixed dates and times.  But that’s another blog post for another day…

I’ll wrap up this post with a sneak peak of an upcoming project, a project I have given the title…

Operation 1

Operation 2

Operation 3

Operation 2

Operation 4

I really do refer to it this way in meetings and emails, but sans glitter.  Some history: the children’s room used to be on the second floor, but a couple of years ago, when it became too difficult to staff two floors, it was moved downstairs.  Here’s what it looks like now.  Like a bank, right?  A bank with scary masks in the windows.

Childrens Room

I think we're stuck with these lamps because they are affixed to the furniture.  Nothing says we can't stick stuff to them, though.  Right?

I think we’re stuck with these lamps because they are affixed to the furniture. Nothing says we can’t gussy them up, right?

The masks are the only decoration in the children's room.  They're in the picture book area, and I wouldn't be surprised some children find them scary.

The masks are the only decoration in the children’s room. They’re in the picture book area, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some children find them scary.

I have put together a mini-committee of myself, our children’s librarian, and one of our clerical staff.  We’re going to have our first meeting on Thursday to toss around ideas and get the process rolling.  I can’t wait!



14 Responses to “Signs, Signs, Everywhere There’s Signs”

  1. Rakisha March 12, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

    To gussy up the lamps, you might try decorating a card board paper towel roll, slitting it down the middle and wrap it around the stem of the lamp. If you want to make it interactive, you could attach tiny unbreakable plastic mirrors to it.

    • zbeforey March 12, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

      That’s a cool idea. Thanks, Rakisha! I won’t actually damage library property to achieve an aesthetic end. Anything we do should be able to be removed easily.

  2. magpielibrarian March 12, 2014 at 12:50 pm #

    You are doing an incredible job. Wburg is lucky to have you.

  3. Andrea VJ March 12, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    omg it does look like a bank. A lovely bank but a bank nonetheless. If you had $ for rugs under the tables in bright colors, do you think that would help define the space and make it look more fun? Or, you know, just run with the bank theme and put in a pint-size teller window with pretend deposit slips. 😀

    • zbeforey March 12, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

      We have a blue rug that was never opened, and that will likely go into the space, but I won’t turn anyone down who has $$ for additional rugs plural 😎

      One of our branches was giving away a couple child-sized tables, with tables, last week, and I pounced on them.

      I can’t wait to post the before and after photos!

      • Andrea VJ March 12, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

        I’ll ask RP to add it to the master wishlist. 😉

      • zbeforey March 12, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

        Thank you. Also, I am planning to incorporate some toys into the space, and I am loving that bank idea. Maybe we can have little visors and sleeve braces for that authentic early-20th century feel.

      • Andrea VJ March 12, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

        Eeeee! Do it! You’ll start a movement in sarcastic library decorating. Love it.

      • zbeforey March 12, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

        Sarcastic library decorating? That’s GENIUS!

  4. Rakisha March 12, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    I also love the bank idea. I have some oversized toy money I used for a Girl Scouts lesson you could have. I’m also imagining oversized novelty pens with plastic chains on them. 🙂

    • zbeforey March 12, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

      I’m only interested in the pens if they don’t work, just like at the bank 😎


  1. Update: ‘Operation Make the Children’s Room Look Like a Children’s Room’ | Z Before Y - March 24, 2014

    […] guyz!  I wrote in my last post about the how the children’s room in my new branch looks like a bank and is completely devoid […]

  2. It Takes Blood, Sweat, and Pom-Poms to Re-Design a Children’s Room | Z Before Y - May 23, 2014

    […] the downward shift, I whipped up shelf labels using a similar technique to the ones I made for the adult room.  I started with a rectangle in Microsoft Publisher which I gave a funky checkerboard border.  […]

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