Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pinterest Blew Up in My Library!

I am in love with Pinterest, which my husband would say is an understatement!  I started an account for personal use, and I pinned recipes, decorating ideas and craft projects.  Then, I began to see how I could use it in planning ideas for my library.  Today was the first day of school for my district, and many of my friends have made the comment, "You must have been on Pinterest a lot this summer!"  I will admit, Pinterest blew up in my library.  I found fabulous ideas for fun decorations, cute bulletin boards and new rules posters.  My library is now transformed!

All of the furniture in my new display and reading section came from Ikea, and it is the first thing the students have noticed!  I learned how to make tissue paper look like different types of flowers.  The desk organizer has come in handy for items that students always need, and now they have a go-to place to find it.  Since I am alone in the library, it is necessary to close the doors sometimes so that I can attend meetings.  It is not very often that we are closed because I always want to be available if my students need me, but my sign says closed on the reverse side.

I found these eye catching rules that were created by another teacher, Krissy Venosdale, who has tons of beautiful graphics available for download on her Flickr stream.  I loved these because they are not like traditional rules, but they show my students that I have high expectations.  The In Our Library board is also my message to my students that they are going to do wonderful things, but they are not alone--they have my support and the support of all of their teachers.  I can't wait to see my bird bulletin board fill up with tweets about my students' favorite books!  The final touch is the dry erase frame calendar that my wonderful colleague, Monique German, found on Pinterest.  If you look closely, you will see the letters for each day.  I love this idea because my students and teachers can see, at a glance, what is happening in the media center during the week.

Ok...I know you are thinking the library is not all about looks, and you are right!  But it goes a long way to have a warm, inviting space that your faculty and students want to spend time in.  When I began my job six years ago, I spent two weeks in my library painting, making curtains, cleaning and rearranging.  It all paid off because I had students and teachers who wanted to spend time with me, and I was happy!  After six years, I needed some change!  My goal was to make a space that is conducive to learning, creating and reading, and I am happy with the result!  I think my students are as well from the comments they have made about the "whoa that is awesome" decor.

My Pinterest Boards are not all about crafting and decorating.  I also have boards for the meat of our library program...learning and creating.

If you don't have a Pinterest account, I encourage you to sign up today and start pinning! You will find so many wonderful ideas that will benefit your students!

Happy pinning!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Meet the New Kids...New Books for a New School Year

One of my favorite things about a new school year is new books!  My avid readers are always waiting by the library door on the first day of school waiting to see if I have the newest book in their favorite series.  I am starting this year off with a book display of new books titled Meet the New Kids...New Books for a New School Year, in hopes that my avid readers will find what they are looking for and my reluctant readers will be lured by the shiny new books and the promise that they are the first to ever check them out!

Feel free to grab this poster from my flickr account!

One great way that librarians and teachers can meet the new kids of the literary world is through NetGalley, a digital book galley website.  It is completely free to sign up, but make sure you give as much information about yourself as possible in order to be selected to receive a large amount of galleys.  I made sure to include my blog address, school website and detailed information about how I select books for my school, help teachers select books for their classrooms and provide readers advisory for our students.  This information lets NetGalley know that you are a real person, not internet spam, that will read their books and recommend them to people in your schools and professional circles.  Once you have selected books, send in requests and watch your NetGalley home page fill up with books.  These books can then be downloaded onto your iPad or e-reader.  I have never received unsolicited emails from NetGalley so it is not going to clog your inbox.  I highly recommend this website because what is better than a free book that is so new you can't buy it yet?!  

My first read from NetGalley was Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz, based on a true story about a young Jewish boy who lives in Poland during World War II.  Yanek has lost all of his earthly possessions and every person that he loves.  He lives in ten different concentration camps, each of them increasingly more brutal than the last.  Can Yanek make it through the atrocities that he faces each day, or will he lose his desire to live?  This book is definitely worth a look.  It does not deviate much from what we typically think of when we talk about World War II novels, but your students, who are avid historical fiction readers, will enjoy hearing about the journey that Yanek experiences.  

I know you will all find something you will enjoy, and you will probably find many somethings!  Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

These are a few of my favorite fonts...and they're all free!

I have a bit of an obsession with graphics.  I love the colors, angles and most of all, the fonts!  A beautiful and unique font can transform an ordinary and forgettable graphic into an eye catching brand that will stay in the minds of your students and teachers for months to come.  

I have been pinning font boards on Pinterest for the last few months, and I have downloaded my favorites to use in the graphics that I create for my library and our staff development sessions.  I am not sure that I am a great designer, but I certainly have fun! I decided to try my hand at creating a font board of some of my favorite free fonts!  Here are a few of my favorites...

Download fonts here:  Mossy - Lemon Drop - Stars from Our Eyes - Things We Said 
Tall Dark and Handsome - Roskrift - Matilde - Skinny Jeans - Freehand
Petunia Bounce - Champagne & Limousines

Download a few of these fun fonts and start creating a brand for your library!
Happy designing!