We have a wonderful piece of equipment in our library that gets year-round use out of the students and staff. That is a pretty cool feature in and of itself. It is also beautiful. The features include a glass and wood combination with pot lighting from above. It is our Lower School Museum, a display case dedicated to the life of our lower division, and which sits besides our main entrance to the library. Its location is pretty perfect and its stature helps to make anything inside it grand enough to reflect our pretty wonderful school population.
As our students walk by, they look at the items inside for a few seconds and carry on on their student ways. If I can grab their attention with pretty cool items inside, then I know I have had library success. I have come to learn that there are some pretty fundamental elements to making the displays work.
- In thinking about the displays in the library, I am conscious about bringing the themes from the museum into the rest of the library. It feels magical when the museum pieces relate to our boards, shelving and counter displays, although that does not always happen. Sometimes it is fine to have the theme running along on its own steam, and the rest of the library progress happening on its own.
- Our most successful museum themes are those with the most concrete application. Remembrance Day (in the US it would be Veteran’s Day) is a huge part of our November school culture and is very applicable in terms of uniforms, photographs, letters and memorabilia from being stationed overseas. Sports was a big deal one year, and we will be having a Soccer themed one in May this year as the weather warms up and soccer is revisited out on our school fields.
- It is helpful not to become too controlling about the displays. Initially I made up schedules and timelines and sign up sheets. These days I make a general invitation to the whole school and invite students to contribute anything during the whole time period of the display.
- Get the signage options ready, and have help in setting them up. They are the most time consuming element of the museum. I also have evolved in my use of signage, and now use printable table cards for weddings and type up the name of the item onto it. It makes for a quick and effective display.
- Hunt down the students when it is time for them to take the displays apart and deliver the items to them personally if they forget to pick them up. Some students are very protective of their items and come the moment I advertise that I am taking apart the display. Others are less observant – these are the students that I find in class to return their items to. I also save grocery bags to slip each piece into so that it makes for easier delivery.
Displays play such a huge part of our work in libraries. I hope you enjoyed the insight into one fairly large part of my yearly programming in the Lower School.
Have a great Wednesday!