Parachute ideas for all kinds of programs!

Stumped for ideas for using the parachute at storytime?

Think outside the picture books stacks!

Here are some great ideas for incorporating material from other areas of your collection.

Want to make your own clip art?

Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started!

Some easy ways to spice up your site!

Be sure to suggest your favorites in the comments!

Ideas for incorporating factual materials into storytime

There is lots of great nonfiction for kids out there. If I missed your favorite, leave a comment!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

"Bee a Reader" Poster

Here is a fun poster I made just to experiement with the layering capabilities on the Cricut. I think it is very cute! You could easily adapt this idea into a bulletin board or display. Take a look!:

What do you think? 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Using image creators as displays

Emily over at Shelf Check (one of my favorite library comics) has a great post about using Image Generators to create library displays. I am partial to the Magic 8 Ball display, and agree it would be great in a teen section.

Painting project

I thought it would be fun to try and use my Cricut for a painting. It didn't turn out perfectly, but it was a lot of fun & a learning experience! I will definitely try this again in the future.

First I cut out an owl shape (3 layers) using the Create a Critter cartridge. I believe it is 10 or 11 inches--I think I used the fit to page option.

Then I traced it onto the pre-stretched canvas.

And then I painted it. 

I am pretty satisfied with it for a first attempt. Next time I will work on my brush strokes a bit. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Unshelved Book Club Display

I put this display up on a Friday afternoon and I love the touch of color it has added. Since we are a basement youth department, any time I can bring some color in it adds interest and cheer. This is a fun and easy display that anyone could do. Gene & Bill encourage librarians (and booksellers and educators) to use their comic for good. My biggest problem was that many of the books that Unshelved has covered in its Book Club strips were already checked out. I did put some of the checked out books up anyway. People can always put them on hold if they want to read those books, right? :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Do you Dewey?

One of the first projects I wanted to tackle when starting my current job was updating the Dewey posters we have hanging in the kids' nonfiction section. After two years, I've given up on finding a commercially produced product that I like enough to purchase and have started to make my own. This has been a really fun project so far!

And a sneak peek of a few scrapbooking-inspired ones that I have started (still have some work to do--some of these aren't even glued down--, but was excited to share!):

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bulletin Board Using Projection Art

This year's summer reading program (SRP) theme was "Make a Splash: READ!" so I did a bulletin board of a mermaid sitting on a rock in the ocean. The kids who signed up for the SRP were able to color a sea creature and write their name on them. Then I stapled them to the bulletin board. It was very cute, in my unbiased opinion.

I wish I had taken a picture of the whole board, so you could see it, but I don't think I did. Here is a picture of the centerpiece, a mermaid that I traced using the template in Projection Art for Kids, which I borrowed through ILL:

I didn't like the way the tail was drawn in the original picture, so I redrew it for my bulletin board. It is one of my favorite parts of this mermaid.

By the way, Projection Art for Kids is a great book for if you want to paint your own murals in your kids' rooms. You could also use it in any setting where kids will be (dentist's office, doctor's office, daycare, library, school, etc.) The book says kids can do it themselves, but I would not recommend it. Some of the projects might be simple enough for older kids though. You can use an overheard projector and transparencies or borrow an artist's projector (you can also buy these for about $50-100 online.)

I also made a box for the middle schoolers to put their drawing slips for their prize (a gift certificate to the local movie theater). The supplies were purchases from Oriental Trading (the High Seas Kit):

I didn't take a picture of it, but there were also some cut-outs on the top of the box where the slot to put your entries in was.

Oriental Trading has cute papers, but I don't like cutting them on the Cricut and prefer them for projects like this, where I am just throwing something together. It was nice to have a decorated box. The middle schoolers really noticed it, and yet it didn't look too babyish.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Passion for Fashion Display

Here is a fun display I made to showcase some of our newer sewing/jewelry-making/crafting books. I just wish the area where the display case hangs was better lit, but I think you can get the idea:

I made a clothesline from some twine we had at the library and made clothes out of fabric torn from upholestry sample books given to me by a retiring interior decorator. I searched Google Images for paper doll clothes & printed out some vintage designs. I used full pages to balance the display's title sign. The letters "SEW ON" are stickers from a kid's paperback Valentine's Day book that we didn't want to leave in a circulating copy. I also cut out some dresses that I found in my paper doll clothes search. 

It was hard to get the top and bottom (books) in one shot, given the display case has glass and is in a hallway, so here is the bottom section:

We used to use construction paper to try and lighten up the background, but it was constantly fading and looked unprofessional. So I decided to replace it with cork tiles, which I attached magnets to with hot glue. I love the way it turned out and it makes it easier to switch the display in and out as things are simply pinned to the corkboard.

Carnival Decorations

My library hosts an annual Carnival the Saturday after Labor Day. Kids in the summer reading program earn tickets which they use to play games and win prizes at Carnival. This year was our 39th year of Carnival festivities, and my 2nd Carnival. Since my Cricut had just arrived, I siezed the opportunity to make some signs for the games and other activities. I hope you like them! If you have any questions, I can attempt to answer them in the comments or you can always email me.

I used the following cartridges for this project:
Accent Essentials Shape Cartridge (Used to cut the spiral the lollipop is fashioned from, this cartridge came with the machine)
Plantin SchoolBook Cartridge (Most of the words were cut from this cartridge, which also came with the machine)
Cricut Create A Critter Catridge (Used for the giraffe on the balloon animals sign, but nothing else as it only arrived the night before Carnival)
Cricut Lite Carousel Cartridge (All the Carnival/Circus images and fonts are from this cartridge which is exclusive to WalMart.)

I am very glad I took pictures of these signs as three were destroyed by a laminator malfunction and another four were destroyed by the severe rain, even though they were laminated. Oh well! The nice thing about the Cricut is how fast and easy it will be to remake the ruined signs.

The tooth on the Loose Tooth sign is actually a coloring page I downloaded off the Internet. 

Bowling pin and ball are also Internet coloring pages. 

Game signs in action! 

My next project will be making new signs for the most popular Dewey sections. I am having a lot of fun with this one!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fall Events Bulletin Board

One of my first Cricut projects was to put up a bulletin board promoting all of our fall events. I am pretty proud of how it turned out.

I used two cartridges: My Community Cricut Classmate Cartridge, which I bought new from and Plantin SchoolBook Font Cartridge, which came with my machine. All the text was cut using Plantin and the storytime, library, puzzle piece, and book are all available on My Community, which is a great cartridge for youth librarians as it also has fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters (Three Little Pigs, Little Old Woman & Shoe, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Jack & The Beanstalk, etc.) as well as community helpers, buildings, behicles, and scenery (roads, trees, etc.) The leaves and papers were from the Clearance section at our local Jo-Ann Fabric store (50% off the giant designer paper packs last week!).

Here is a shot of the entire bulletin board:

And some detail shots: 

I'm not super happy with this, and am brainstorming other options. 

I wish I had covered the puzzle piece in another paper, and perhaps I will go back and do that.

I think this needs a bit of punch to it as well. There are so many possibilities! 

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Taking a Display Cue from Scrapbooking

I recently acquired a Cricut Expression personal cutting machine (i.e., a die cut machine) and have been brainstorming lots of fun ways the Cricut could be used to create library displays and/or bulletin boards. There appears to be a sad lack of library blogs focusing on making the library aesthetically pleasing in such simple ways as an appealing bulletin board, but here is a compilation of some neat ideas I have found.

Ideas using Cricut (by ProvoCraft) Machines and Cartridges

The Cricut message board is very active and there is a section exclusively for educators. Some teachers have posted their steal-worthy ideas and it is definitely worth checking out. A few I printed out for my ideas file were:

This owl-themed classroom from a Scraphabby Southernbelle.

"Smart Cookies" idea from message board member bdonley

Hot Library Technician, a public school employee, has many ideas posted on her blog. Two of my favorites are "Whoever You Are, Wherever You Are: READ" and a board based on the book 97 Things to Do Before You Finish High School, which could easily be adapted into 97 things to do at your library, in this community, etc.

Other Bulletin Board Ideas
Bulletin Boards from Mrs. Killbourn's Classroom has many religious ideas you could adapt for a public library or school or keep intact if you work in a faith-based program.

There is a Flickr group called Junior High/Middle School Library Displays & Bulletin Boards

Flickr user genevadesigns has a set called Sage Valley Middle School, which has some really wonderful ideas as well.

Please add any suggested resources in the comments! I will be posting my projects under the tag displays/bulletin boards.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Game ON! Bulletin Board

Here is a fun little bulletin board I whipped up this afternoon using some video game graphics I found on a Google Images search, some scrapbooking paper from the 50% off section at Jo-Ann Fabrics, a color printer, glue stick, stapler, poster board, and a lot of patience. This was inspired by an awesome display done by The Imaginary Librarian, who I hope will not mind me blatantly ripping her off.

Detail Shots:

Angry eyebrows.

It'sa meeeeeeeeeeeee, MARIO!

I love this stack from DCWV. It's The Generation Tech stack and there are cardstock sheets themed after games (Pacman, Space Invaders), cell phones, Mac OS, and other technologies. Great for teen bulletin boards or if you have a teen of your own. 

If I were to do it over again, I might have used blue poster board, but I do like how the black posterboard pops. And you don't see black as a background on a bulletin board often, so I like that too. It probably took about 2 hours, but I was also working the desk so I was interupted here and there. 

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Storytime Share pages on Facebook

If you have a Facebook account, you might be interesting in joining myself and some other youth librarians who have banded together to discuss Baby Storytime and Preschool Storytime. We welcome anyone who has an interest in early literacy (teachers, librarians, daycare providers, parents).

Friday, September 03, 2010

Music LP sign for youth department

Music Sign for Youth Department
I spent part of this afternoon working on a new sign for the music corner of our youth department. I combined craft foam, an old LP from Goodwill and scrapbooking paper, and stickers from the dollar store. It probably cost me less than $5 to make this and I think it will definitely add some personality to our department. Plus it was fun to make! I made a similar sign at my old library where I cut out musical notes and the letters of "MUSIC" from craft foam and this is basically the next stop.

If I were to do it again, I would not have used rub-on stickers on the grooves of the record as that is why some of the transfers aren't perfect. Since it is a "rock and roll" themed piece of decor, I think it works, but other themes might require a more finished touch. I hotglued a binder clip onto the top and we will hang it from the ceiling sometime soon! Sorry for the less than awesome picture, it is from my cell phone camera. Oh well! Hope you like it!