Blind Date with a Book!

I’m pretty late to be posting about Valentine’s Day- time has gotten away from me! But back in February, I wanted to create a fun display of books to get kids to fall in love with books they might not have normally chosen to read. One of the toughest parts to getting a hesitant reader to pick up a new book is getting the reader on board with the title and cover. Us avid readers tend to turn up our noses at the thought of judging a book by its cover, however for many people, it is a key factor in whether or not they pick up the book. After all, we all know the boys who will miss out on a great dystopian novel because there is a high-heeled shoe on the book’s cover (Cinder, anyone?). But how do you get these readers to look past the potentially fluffy description and cover?

My solution: Blind Date with a Book! After seeing this clever idea on Pintrest, I knew I had to adapt it to my school library. Fitting in with Valentine’s Day, the Blind Date with a Book display was fun to create and even more fun to see students’ participation! I wrapped up a variety of books with red paper and covered the titles of the books so that students could only judge each book by the short description I prepared. Naturally, I wrote each description to be as catchy and intriguing as possible, and decorated each wrapped cover with stickers and hearts. I pulled mysteries, romances, graphic novels, you name it- I wanted to catch the eye of as many readers as possible!

Here is the sign we made to hang over the entire display:



Here is an example of a covered book, with the description and the raffle card!


And here are some more pictures of the display as a whole!

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With lots of help from the real librarian Marjie, I wrote descriptions and wrapped covers for over 25 titles. We even set up a raffle for students; submit a “Rate Your Book Date” card after reading your chosen book “date,” and enter your name into a raffle for library themed prizes! (ALA mugs, bags, pens and  lanyards) And to our delight, many students participated! I had countless classmates approach me to discuss the “adorable display in the Info Center” and many more coming up to me to discuss a blind date book they were considering, or had already read.

It took about two weeks to pull together a resource list of titles, write descriptions, wrap/decorate the books, and design signage and the raffle. It was a busy two weeks, but definitely the most satisfying program I’ve been involved with thus far!

Stayed tuned for more Spring Weeding; this time I’m conquering the non-fiction! Yikes!

Read, Reduce, Recycle!

I’ve always been a fan of recycling, but the first time I discarded a book, my heart sunk that I had no way to re-purpose it before recycling it’s pages. I knew there must be some crafts that I could do, but I hadn’t done any before and I wasn’t sure how difficult they’d be.

I finally took the leap sometime in the spring, and the project I did was making a book clock. It was surprisingly simple, and the result was a beautiful birthday gift for my mom. Basically, to make the book clock, you have to cut a square in each page of the book using a box-cutting knife, glue the pages together, and then cut a hole in the front cover. Then all you have to do is buy a clock kit from Micheal’s, or another craft store, and put the base of the mechanism inside the hole you’ve created in the pages and the stem of the clock through the hole in the front cover. Glue the clock numbers in a circle and there you have it!



The project made me want to make lots more things with books, but I haven’t had the chance to do that until this fall, when I completed the reference weeding. With all the reference books we were going to recycle, Marjie and I decided that we could do various craft projects with them. The first craft project we found that was a really cute Thanksgiving centerpiece were paper turkeys with feathers made out of book pages! All it took was some ripped out book pages, tape, and a stapler! Taking one page at a time, I rolled it up to make a small cone, securing it with some tape. Then I stapled all the tips of the cones to a piece of card stock, so it made a fan of book pages. Then I cut out a piece of construction paper to resemble a turkey’s head and gobble, and taped that on the front of the turkey! It was a really cute addition to our other fall/Thanksgiving decorations, and it was so simple, that I ended up making one for my family’s Thanksgiving day centerpiece!


In the next few weeks, after some serious Pintrest searching, Marjie and I found someone that had made a 3-D pumpkin by cutting pages of a book and gluing the two covers together. Since we were going into December, we decided to make a 3-D snowman.

First, I found two books that were the same height, and I removed their hard covers until i just had the bound pages. Then I cut a tracer out of one page of the shape I wanted the snowman to be. The next three class periods were devoted solely to cutting, because unfortunately there is no way around the intense work of cutting each page of the two books to match the tracer. Once the books were cut, we realized we had forgotten to cut the shape for the snowman’s head!! So I had to find another book to cut the next hump for the head of the snowman. But after all the cutting was done, Marjie helped me glue the pages together in a 3-D fashion, using the super-strong, book-repairing glue that we had in the library. Since we had the extra pages for the head of the snowman, we had to cut a base out of cardboard on which to balance it,  and of course we used excessive amounts of “snow” (glitter) to hide the fact it was cardboard. Once all the pieces were glued together, we piled on more glue so that we could sprinkle fake snow and glitter over the rest of the snowman. Then I glued a red ribbon along the edge of the cardboard as a scarf, and made a 3-D top-hat out of black construction paper!

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The project took 3 weeks of class to finish- a lot more time that it took the library volunteers to make some folded snowflakes and book trees (fold most of the pages of a book to a triangle and set up in a stand). But all of the decorations bring out the winter spirit in the library, and I can’t tell you how many compliments we’ve gotten on all of them!!

A book-recycling project we might do after break is create a charging dock out of books- we’ll see how we manage that one!

Spring Cleaning, Fall Weeding!

We all think of spring cleaning as a time to get rid of those unwanted clothes, and do a little extra dusting around the house, but in a library, getting rid of the books you don’t need anymore is simply called weeding. And while spring time at my high school brings droves of kids to the library to check out books that teachers assigned last minute, or research materials for a final project, the fall is usually a time to get those major projects done. You know, the projects you’ve been dogging for months and you’ve finally decided to get done?

Weeding the reference section is one of those projects that my librarians Lisa and Marjie had said they’d been meaning to do for awhile. They knew that many titles were out of date, and were not being used, especially since our school’s databases covered much of the same material. They decided it would be a good experience for me to have the initial run through of the section, marking the books that I thought should be weeded, and why. I spent about 5-8 class periods pulling each reference title off the shelf, flipping through it to look at what information it held, how current the title was, and if it was still of good use to students and teachers. I also compared each book to the databases that our school has access to, evaluating if the title we had in print was redundant to a database or vice-versa. I put a sticky note with my reasoning on every book I deemed fit to weed, and in the weeks following my completion, Lisa pulled those titles and made the final call of whether to weed the title or not.

I had discarded books before while working at the town library, but never before had I been given the opportunity to make the decisions on weeding. I came in one Monday, however, to see all the books on which Lisa agreed with me, lined up on the top of the bookshelves. She told me there were only 10 or so titles that she disagreed with me on, but for the rest of the books she felt that I had correctly evaluated that they needed to be discarded.

Here are all the discarded books aligned on top of the shelves!



Here are the remaining reference books in our now less crowded, and less dusty reference section!




And so goes the success of my fall weeding! The discarded books were not at the end of their lives, don’t you worry! In my next post, I’ll talk about the many crafts we used the books for before finally donating the remaining titles to a book store.



Read, Free, or Die!

As many of you avid readers were aware, September 22nd – September 28th was this year’s Banned Books Week. For those of you who don’t know, Banned and Challenged Books Week is a week to raise awareness of how intellectual freedom is still threatened in the United States. More literature than you’d expect has been challenged in public, school, and college libraries; sometimes books are even banned because of various inappropriate content. While some books might not have a place in a specific library, the challenges made by people that wish to remove materials that they personally do not respect severely limits our rights to intellectual freedom. 

Lisa and Marjie, my two librarian teachers, allowed me to take on Banned Books Week as my first attempt at display creation. Over the course of three weeks, Marjie helped me develop my project in a way that would provide information to kids and exhibit a compelling design. I decided that I wanted to have three main sections of the display: books that have been challenged in my state of New Hampshire, books that are taught at my high school and yet are frequently challenged, and other banned and challenged books that we have in our library’s collection. To add an interactive element to the display, Marjie and I created a contest where we censored one page out of The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (a frequently banned book), didn’t post the title, and had kids submit their guess as to what the name of the book was in order to win a prize. My work periods during those three weeks were spent cutting and pasting to create the signage, assembling lists of all the banned books (most lists found on the American Library Association’s website), and arranging the books on our shelves. 

This project open my eyes to just how many books have been banned, many of which are books I love! The Hunger Games, To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men- even classics are not immune to the danger of being banned. This project also gave me the opportunity to run wild with my ideas for the display, and to work with the freedom and importance that a professional librarian would. 

Stay tuned for my next project: weeding the Reference section! Eeek!


Let’s Get Started!

The Sound of Music reminds us that “The very beginning….is a very good place to start” and so I will start with the beginning. My name is Julie and I am a high school senior who loves to read and to work in the hallowed place for reading: the library. I work in my town library as a page, but week after week I found myself craving more knowledge of my favorite place in the world. When the time came to pick classes for senior year, a very smart teacher suggested I put together an independent study to further explore library sciences.

Both brilliant in its applicability to my future and potential to expand my comfortable limits, my independent study on Library Sciences will be spent working in my school library. But not just working as a simple page like at my town library; this year I will get the opportunity to learn how to catalog, work with inter-library loans, create displays, do my own programming, and interact with my favorite staff. 

This blog will be my journal for my experiences as “librarian in training” this year. It will be a place to record my successes and failures, adventures and roadblocks that I will encounter throughout my time working in “the Info Center.”

In his novel Looking for Alaska John Green quotes the poet Francois Rabelais in saying “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.” I hope you’ll find enjoyment as you accompany me in seeking my own Great Perhaps in Library Sciences this year!