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Furry friends for picture books March 30, 2007

Posted by sneaks in board books, display topics, J is for Juvenile, Picture Books, props and drapes, spring.
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03 23 07 010

Take your cue from the inviting windows of The Children’s Bookstore in Baltimore, and augment a display of farm friends picture books with stuffed farm friends.

This works for any elevated display in the children’s area, but you might also make a sweet display of spring picture books and stuffed toys near the checkout. It will distract the kids as they wait in line and bring the books to the parents attention.


Program bookmarks March 29, 2007

Posted by sneaks in BCPL best practices, great ideas, programming tie-ins.
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Do you bookmark upcoming programs? Here’s a great idea we’ve seen at a number of branches – we wondered if everyone was in on it.

When you promote a program in advance with a display of on-topic books, slip a flyer (fold it in half lengthways if necessary) into each book. That way, every interested customer walks away with a reminder of an event they’ll surely be interested in.

Towson recently pulled a batch of Star Wars books and displayed them with flyers for their upcoming author program (Star Wars from the Inside Out, with best-selling author James Luceno, April 1) folded into each.

National Poetry Month March 29, 2007

Posted by sneaks in display topics, J is for Juvenile, J non-fiction, poetry, spring.
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surface tension

There’s no money in poetry, but there’s no poetry in money either.—Robert Graves, poet

Sylvia Vardell’s Poetry Aloud Here!, published by ALA Editions, “shows how librarians, teachers, and others can introduce children, ages 5 to 12, to the world of poetry in a way that’s meaningful, participatory, and fun.”

Excerpted from the ALA Editions blog, here are some of her ways to promote poetry to kids (or those who feel like kids):

  • Set up a coffeehouse-style poetry reading in your classroom or library. (Do not forget the refreshments.)
  • Write poems on postcards or letters and mail them to friends and neighbors.
  • Contact radio stations about hosting a live, on-air poetry reading at either the school, the library, or the radio station.
  • Record a poem on your answering machine at home or school or as a cell phone message.
  • Send a poem to your state or local representative or other government official.
  • Make National Poetry Month buttons. Inscribe them with haiku, short poems, or favorite lines of poetry. Wear the buttons the whole month of April.

When pulling poetry for display, don’t forget rhyming Easies (Jamberry!) and song books. Look for these recent titles in particular, with jazzy covers and wide-ranging appeal:


V is for visual harmony March 25, 2007

Posted by sneaks in display topics, E, great ideas, J is for Juvenile, J non-fiction, Picture Books, shelf tops.
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Spotted at the Hampden Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library – the good-looking alphabet books from Sleeping Bear Press displayed in alphabetical order. It was so satisfying to see them all lined up together: since they’re cataloged as non-fiction, they’re usually never in the same place at the same time.

Search CARL on “Sleeping Bear Press” or see our list below.


You’re an All Star: get your game on, go play! March 24, 2007

Posted by sneaks in display topics, J is for Juvenile, Picture Books, spring.
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Have you noticed the recent proliferation of children’s books by celebrities? It may feel like Madonna started the trend (as usual), with her book The English Roses, but actually it goes back to Fred Gwynne (Herman Munster) and Julie Andrews, both of whom wrote books for children since the ’70’s.

This spring there’s a fresh crop, and it seems like they’re all writing about sports. Click “more” for a list of recent sports-themed picture books by celebs…


They’re on the loose! March 22, 2007

Posted by sneaks in adult, coloring pages, display topics, J fiction, J is for Juvenile, J non-fiction, nonfiction, spring.
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Harper’s Ferry, a good day trip from Baltimore County.

Spring Break for Baltimore County Public Schools is April 6-15. It’s always a good idea to have extra coloring pages and activities on hand when you’re likely to get extra kids. But also, be sure to load up your displays of juvenile fiction, and take advantage of seasonal interest in baseball and basketball to push the sports books.

And don’t forget the grownups! Many families try to get away for Spring Break, or at least take day trips. Pull out a few travel guides to the Mid-Atlantic, and maybe a couple of trail guides for Maryland and the Appalachian Trail. People who are staying home will also be looking for family-friendly activities – a selection of coaching manuals might be just the thing for parents trying to coax their kids outside.

Azalea goes to the Library March 22, 2007

Posted by sneaks in J is for Juvenile.
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Check out this short video of three-year-old Azalea visiting the Towson branch. Made by her dad, Baynard Bailey, and posted to YouTube, it’s an adorable reminder of why we do the things we do.

Celebrate Japan March 22, 2007

Posted by sneaks in coloring pages, display topics, spring.
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Sakura Matsuri, aka Cherry Blossom Festival, is just about upon us. In Washington, D.C., it runs from March 31 through April 14, with a parade on April 14.

In Japan, early spring is graduation time. It’s a very important rite of passage in Japan, and so the first flush of blooms on the cherry trees signals a time of nostalgia and sentimentality. People visit their old schools and picnic under the cherry trees. The cherry blossoms are also considered the symbol of a life lived fully, no matter how short.

You can participate in this gorgeous natural display online by visiting the blossom maps at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden or the National Park Service. Or make the drive down to D.C. to experience the magic in person. Go early – because of our warm weather in February, the trees are expected to blossom 1-2 weeks earlier than in the average year.

In your library, it’s a good time to celebrate all things Japanese, as well as books on Asian gardens and flowering trees.

Here are cherry blossom coloring pages:

Sharpen the Hatchet! March 21, 2007

Posted by sneaks in display topics, J fiction, J is for Juvenile, YA.
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Debbie Wheeler passed along an article from the Baltimore Sun partially attributing the survival of a lost 12-year-old Boy Scout to the skills and inspiration he gleaned from reading Gary Paulsen’s classic novel Hatchet.

Take advantage of the media publicity and haul out a batch of Gary Paulsen’s Brian books, in addition to his juvenile autobiography, Guts: the true stories behind Hatchet and the Brian books. You might flesh out the display with other wilderness novels, such as My Side of the Mountain and Call of the Wild, or with other Juvenile and Young Adult books by Gary Paulsen.

Click here to read the Sun article.

in just spring March 15, 2007

Posted by sneaks in adult, display topics, nonfiction, spring.
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They say that Spring will arrive. Any minute now. Just after the sleet. That we’re having. In March. Sigh.

Be ready when it (finally) gets here with a big beautiful green display of brand-new gardening books – books about landscape architecture, choosing plants for color, organic methods, container gardening, you name it, as long as it’s pretty and shiny!

Click “more” for a list of new books.


Support your local puppeteers March 15, 2007

Posted by sneaks in display topics, E, J fiction, J is for Juvenile, Picture Books, programming tie-ins.
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Many branches will be getting a visit from the Black Cherry Puppet Theater this spring. Michael Lamason and his crew always put on a spellbinding show. Be sure to take advantage of their performance by placing a display of folk and fairy tales near the exit so that kids can pick up a book as they file out of the show.

She shoots… she scores! March 15, 2007

Posted by sneaks in adult, display topics, J fiction, J is for Juvenile, J non-fiction, nonfiction, spring, YA.
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Greetings to you from NCAA basketball season! Productivity is decreasing as we speak as millions of people log on to websites where we, uh, they can watch the games live via streaming media and keep up with how we’re, uh they’re doing in the March Madness pool. This, this is the reason we invented the Internet!

You can keep tabs at the NCAA’s official site (men’s here and women’s here) and, when you’re not busy doing that, there’s a whole gang of basketball-related books – for kids and for grownups – to put on display this season.

Click “more” to see the list…


Happy Birthday, Mr. Caldecott! March 15, 2007

Posted by sneaks in display topics, E, J is for Juvenile, Picture Books, spring.
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Who doesn’t love the Caldecott medal? Celebrating the best in illustrated books for children, recent winners include David Wiesner’s Flotsam, Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes, and My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmer. 

But what do you know about Randolph Caldecott? According to the website of the Randolph Caldecott Society (UK), Mr. Caldecott (1846-1886) “transformed the world of children’s books in the Victorian era. Children eagerly awaited the two books illustrated by him, priced at a shilling each, which came out each Christmas for eight years.”

On March 22, why not clear away the basketball books for a few days and put up a display of the books that have won the honor named for the guy who first created affordable books for children.

Caldecott winners, 1938 – Present

What’s that eerie green glow? March 10, 2007

Posted by sneaks in great ideas, science fiction.
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If you’re at the Arbutus branch, it’s the science fiction section! Check out this space-age idea submitted to the CCD blog by Karen Hoffman… 

We added a green glow to our science fiction shelving lights by using flourescent light sleeves from an aquarium store. It certainly sets the section apart.

Karen adds that Arbutus began seeing better circulation of their science ficiton collection when they beefed up complete sets of popular science fiction series.

PS: If anyone has any pictures of this out-of-this-world phenomenon, please send them to pwilley-at-bcpl.net. Thanks!

March is National Craft Month March 1, 2007

Posted by sneaks in display topics, spring, winter.
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We all know that crafting has outgrown its summer-camp-on-a-rainy-day image. As we see every year when the ACC Craft Show comes to town, craft is now high art as well as hobby art. In addition, legions of hipsters have embraced sewing, embroidery, knitting, and the use of acrylic pom-poms to enhance their lives and lampshades. 

Baltimore, by the way, is something of a destination for Craft-with-a-capital-C. In addition to the annual ACC show, Maryland Institute College of Art has Fiber, Ceramics and Graphic Design programs that blur the line between art and craft, the Baltimore Museum of Art often hosts exhibitions that feature artists working in media traditionally associated with craft, and the American Visionary Art Museum is loaded with art made with craft materials.

So maybe your crafts display doesn’t have to be in adult non-fiction – maybe highlight some D.I.Y. books in Young Adult… maybe drop a little display of craft books over by the baby area… and certainly J is a good place for a little display. Crafts are for everyone!

Ye olde separation sheet March 1, 2007

Posted by sneaks in BCPL best practices, display topics, great ideas, winter.
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Another good idea executed cleverly in Towson – to commemorate Dr. Seuss’s birthday and the 50th anniversary of The Cat in The Hat, Tyler Wolfe pulled all the Dr. Seuss books from their accustomed places and displayed them prominently.

To prevent confusion when patrons went looking for Horton, Thidwick, Gerald McGrew, the Lorax, and their buddies, Tyler made a quickie sign. In bright colors and illustrated with Dr. Seuss characters, it read:

They’ve all disappeared

Every Sneetch, Who and Zuk.

They’ve moved to our Fireplace

Go and look! Go and look!

It’s impractical to do this with every item pulled for display, but when a section of shelf is suspiciously empty, it helps patrons feel less frustrated when we leave a clue to help them find what they are looking for.

The happy ending to this story is that nearly all the Seuss books had been snapped up three days later.

Here comes the Queen! March 1, 2007

Posted by sneaks in display topics, spring.
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Fresh on the heels of her Academy Award for Best Actress, Queen Elizabeth II comes to the Mid-Atlantic!

Oh wait, that was Helen Mirren with the Oscar.

Still – the Queen! She’s visiting Virginia in May to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Jamestown. Todd Krueger of Collection Development says that he has been purchasing books that tie in with this event. Doing a keyword search on CARL for ‘Jamestown’ shows a number of titles that could work for displays.

They’re calling it “America’s 400th Anniversary“. Hard to say what we should send – if the gift for a 50th anniversary is gold, is 400th… roentgenium?

Celebrate Women’s History Month March 1, 2007

Posted by sneaks in coloring pages, display topics, spring, winter.
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(above, left to right) Bella Abzug, Rosalynn Carter, Betty Ford, Lady Bird Johnson, Linda Johnson Robb, Maya Angelou, and Coretta Scott King recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the 1977 Houston Women’s Conference.

The theme of National and Maryland Women’s History Month, 2007, is Generations of Women Moving History Forward, focusing on the legacy of the 30th anniversary of the groundbreaking 1977 Women’s Conference in Houston.  With politics so much in the news, below is information about women in politics nationally and statewide.

In 2007:

  • 87 women serve in the U. S. Congress (out of 535 seats – 16.3%)
  • 16 women serve in the 100-member Senate
  • 71 women serve in the 435-member House of Representatives.  In addition, three women serve as non-voting Delegates to the House of Representatives from Guam, the Virgin Islands, and Washington, D.C.
  • 21 of these women are women of color.

Click “more” for fun facts, links, and statistics about women in government. Scroll to the bottom for a link to coloring pages celebrating women in history. (more…)