Pick up an M. T. Anderson book and chances are the first line will wow you. Maybe most notably, Feed starts out with “We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.” In Thirsty, Anderson goes for the foreboding feel with “In the spring, there are vampires in the wind.” And the humor returns with “‘Great scott!’ cried Jasper Dash, Boy Technonaut. ‘Your mother just lost her hand in the rotating band saw!’” in The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen. Lines like these show how much fun a writer has with his or her work and hopefully serve to pull the reader into the book from the very first words.

Marketing books can be easy if they have famous authors, cool covers or belong to a popular series. But with so many books (and so little time) it’s possible for great titles to get lost in the crowd. Finding interesting ways to display books is one of the things I enjoy about my job. I love seeing titles get checked out from a display I worked on and I always get a little excited when I have to restock. Teens are a busy bunch of people and ready-made displays can make it easy for them to grab a book that interests them.

The “Great First Lines” display has been well used this summer because quotes like “The monster showed up just after midnight.” (A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness) grab someone’s attention and beg to be read. Read More →

So the start of 2012 brought big changes to the libraries in my district. We finally entered the 21st Century and changed circulation systems. Exit boring old InfoCenter and enter exciting new Destiny. As you can imagine, a mid-year migration has had it’s challenges (including a somewhat unexpected inventory). But one of the great things that comes from these times of change (at least for me) is a greater sense of inspiration. Once the inventory was complete (insert sigh here), I was faced with a sea of empty display areas. What should I do? ‘ The possibilities always seem endless. ‘ Should I display by color? ‘ theme? author? ‘ topic?’ I was positively humming with anticipation. ‘  ‘ And then it hit me…I had display builder’s block! ‘ But then I got an idea. ‘ An awfully wonderful idea! ‘ What if I finally did something I had always thought of doing? I plopped down on my exercise ball to face my somewhat dusty collection of professional journals. Yes, those back issues that are filled with great ideas that I always intend to use, but never do. Well, no longer. I pulled out a year at random (2006 was the lucky winner) and dove right in. I was finally going to use the articles to build more than my collection. ‘ I was going to build some awesome book displays.

Display #1:
“It’s a Big World After All” by Kathleen Isaacs.SLJ
February 2006





Display #2
“Planet in Crisis” compiled by Eva Elisabeth VonAncken
SLJ April 2006





But that’s not all. ‘ I then used the Resource List in Destiny and created book lists that students (and I) can quickly access right from the catalog. ‘ No more searching next year for the books that I pulled for that “one cool display.”




And I plan to continue. ‘ I’ve decided to mark the outside of each journal once I’ve finished using it and I plan to rotate the displays every two weeks. ‘ Who knew that 2012 would be the year I really am getting it together (at least a bit).



With summer reading coming to a close, you might have room on your bulletin boards and display fixtures for something new. Why not get ready to Picture It @ Your Library? Creating displays have always been a great way to promote Teen Read Week, and can boost your circulation tremendously! This year’s theme naturally lends itself to a visual representation, so what’s holding you back?

Looking for Teen Read Week display inspiration?’  Enjoy these “picture perfect” ideas! Read More →

Displays can be so important in encouraging teens to read or to broaden their reading habits.’  And there is nothing more satisfying for a teen librarian than to have a book display emptied out by teen readers.

So how do you accomplish these wonders?’  And how do you do it without spending money?’  It’s called the power of suggestion.’  You don’t have to have real palm trees or lounge chairs to create an illusion that suggests the feeling of a beach.’  A little sand, a miniature Barbie lounge chair, and the tiny dessert pails from Logan’s Road House will do the trick.’  Suggestion and illusion are the keys because what you really want are for teens to initially be attracted to the display (Oh, that’s neat!) but then to be drawn to the books.’  You are “selling” books.’  And you know you can do it as well, if not better, than the bookstores.

Use a tabletop, a display stand, a chair stationed by an easel, or a piece of your circulation desk. Try placing some books standing and some books lying flat and consider using bookends only if you absolutely have to. (You want it to be easy for a teen to take a book.) Use pieces of cloth or colored Kraft paper or construction paper to give color and define your space.’  Tie in the color or type of material to the theme if possible. (I have even used the comics section of the newspaper for a humor display.)’  Make sure you have a sign (8.5X11 computer generated backed by colored 9X12 construction paper is great) that gives the title/theme/slogan you have chosen.’  I use some scissors I got at a yard sale that cut scallops to add a little extra to the edges.

Here are a few specific theme ideas for book displays using recycled, free, cheap, or borrowed materials to get your creative juices flowing.

Author themed display: Find a picture of the author you can print out in 8X10 inch size and place it in a borrowed frame.’  Photoshop yourself or a teen in the picture to create real interest!’  Place flamboyant bookmarks with notes about the books sticking out, such as “Newest Richard Peck Title!” or “Peck Wins Newbery Honor With This Book!”

Beach theme: “Beachcomber’s Choice” with real shells scattered on a borrowed beach towel and books standing amid them.’  Forget the sand but use an old piece of driftwood to give some height if you have one.’  Otherwise a plastic beach bucket turned upside down will also work.

School spirit theme: Use the cheap paper boxes sold at home decorating stores to spell out your school initials.’  Spray paint them one of your school colors if you have some left over paint or use poster paint or cheap markers to color.’  Add curling ribbons to make it festive and place books set in schools in your display. “Back to School” or “High School Fiction” might work for a theme.

Sports theme: “Football Fever is Catching” using a goal post made from fat drink straws and a gridiron lined off on big green paper will provide a backdrop for all your football sports books, both fiction and non-fiction.’  Free pom-poms or shakers from college football games make it fun. Add some purchased bookmarks with football themes if you have funds.’  The same can work for soccer or basketball but you will need some mesh from an orange bag for the nets.’  Beware!’  If you use a purchased miniature toy frame, teens will want to play with them, so decide beforehand if you want that to happen.

Fantasy theme: “Out of this World Reading” can accompany a publisher’s planet poster used as the backdrop for books or use an old pair of sheer curtains to scrunch up on the tabletop and look otherworldly. A few aluminum foil covered stars and glitter on the title poster add to the allure.

I’m sure you guys can think of thousands more of these cheap and easy ideas now that you are revved up.’  Have fun!