Friday, October 4, 2013

Fall Library Bulletin Board -- Fall in Love with Reading-(Check my "Bulletin Board Masterpost" for more bulletin board images)

As a native south Floridian who has never lived outside of Florida, it is always a struggle to get the "fall look" just right.  The only tree objects that fall around my house are mangoes, palm fronds and coconuts.

Reading Leaves You Happy - Fall Library bulletin board

Saturday, August 31, 2013

An Idea for Generating More Traffic in the School Library

I am always thinking of ways to bring more students into my school library.
For a few years I have noticed some needs in my K-12 private school. Some students always need help in the area of academics. My library has become the home of after school "Homework Help" sessions 3 days a week. Students are dropped off after school for 30 minutes to receive help from National Honor Society (NHS)students. The NHS students receive service hours and the recipients of the help benefit from one-on-one interaction while working on homework or practicing with flashcards.
Did I fail to mention that I noticed no one had taken on the position of National Honor Society sponsorship after the previous sponsor left? I volunteered to work with the NHS students which made it very easy to create the Homework Help sessions. National Honor Society meetings have also generated more traffic in the library.
Becoming a sponsor for a service organization requires extra volunteer time for a librarian, but the benefits are enormous! I have the opportunity to build friendships with high school students and the school library has become a comfortable place for more senior high students to visit.
Lately, my administrator has been filling part of my day with study halls and online studies in the library. I welcome these classes because once again, it is generating more traffic in the library. Study hall students have become very familiar with the library and have encouraged other students to come to the library outside of their regular class time.
I wish to implement other ideas to generate traffic in the library during lunch and after school, but for now, my Homework Help sessions are keeping me very busy.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Tips for Creating Eye-catching Bulletin Boards (Please view my "Bulletin Board Masterpost" for more images of bulletin boards.)

I am not an expert on creating bulletin boards, but I can tell you from experience which type of bulletin boards receive the most positive comments. Bulletin boards that are colorful, in 3-D, and are relevant to what's popular at the moment, draw the most attention. A clever spin on funny TV ads, movies, games or billboards, always captures the attention of middle and high school students. I like to reuse bulletin board ideas, so I take pictures of each bulletin board and keep a history of the bulletin boards from year to year. I try to recycle the idea every 5 years if possible. I have listed some tips I have found helpful for creating bulletin boards.

Staple remover
Thumb tacks
String or thread
Bulletin Board paper
Construction paper
Glue gun

Best Materials to Create the Scene:

The most eye-catching bulletin boards use brightly colored construction paper (or tissue paper) to create the scene. Those people who do not have artistic painting or drawing skills (like me) can create colorful bulletin boards by cutting and gluing pieces of construction paper together. The first bulletin board below was created solely from bulletin board paper and construction paper:

Notice the brown vine made from twisted bulletin board paper and raised leaves, provide a 3-D effect for the second bulletin board. The "Welcome" letters were cut from old animal calendar pictures. Be sure to take pictures of random things when you are out, because they may come in handy later when you create bulletin boards, i.e. animals at the zoo. Don't be afraid to reuse the same solid colored background for the next bulletin board you create. (I hate wasting a good piece of bulletin board paper and have used the same background on 3 consecutive bulletin boards. I had to carefully place objects over the areas where there were many holes from staples.)

Choosing the Phrasing:

Sometimes, I look for current popular phrases and buzz words to create a library version of a phrase. Other times, I start with an idea for the picture or scene that I will create and then develop an appropriate phrase that matches. The following summer bulletin board began with an idea for the sun before the phrase was created. I knew I wanted to create a 3-D sun and the phrase just evolved. I sometimes try out my bulletin board phrases on my senior high library assistants for input. The sun was created separately from 3 sheets of poster board taped together and cut to form a sun. The sun was then covered with orange and yellow construction paper as a background, and then circles and squares (cut with the Ellison SureCut die) were folded in two and hot glued to the poster board. Sunglasses were glued on later. The sun is thumb tacked to the bulletin board to keep it in place.

The bulletin board below came from an insurance commercial being aired at the time of its creation. I added a library spin, of course.


The Ellison SureCut Die machine creates perfect letters. Laminating whole sheets of construction paper and using a letter cutting machine provides shiny durable brightly colored letters. Lettering may be shadowed by cutting duplicate letters from two different shades of paper for dimensional writing. I will even purchase foil wrapping paper (solid silver and other colors) at half price after Christmas to use for metallic looking letters. (Don't use aluminum foil, it might dull the blades on the SureCut Die machine.)

When I am ready to place the letters on my bulletin board, I use a string that is attached to two thumb tacks to create an invisible line for straight lettering. I thumb tack the letters in place, stand back far away to see if it looks straight, remove the string, and staple the letters permanently. Last, I remove all thumb tacks from the lettering. (Purchased letters are also an option.)


Purchased borders are great. I have an assortment that I have laminated to use over and over. I usually place the borders on, before I place the scene on the board. I temporarily attach the borders with thumb tacks in case I want to put something under the border. In the pig scene above, I have trees that are stapled under my cloud border. I have such a tiny bulletin board that I must make sure the lettering will fit inside the border, hence the border is in place before the scene and lettering goes on the bulletin board.

Think outside the box:

I started utilizing the wall past my bulletin board square a couple of years ago. The 4'x4' bulletin board is sometimes too small for what I want to place on the board. If you are creating a huge 3-D tree or other objects, don't be afraid to let them spill off the board or go above the top of the board. The phrase may fit best on the wall above or around the bulletin board.

Simplicity and Neatness:

During my high school years I took a poster making/calligraphy art class that taught me a valuable insight, keep the poster neat and simple with very few words. I apply this principle to bulletin board making. Thank you Mrs. Edmunds!