Playing With Displays

One of my favorite parts of the new school year is filling all of our book displays. I firmly believe that displays move books, and we are lucky at our library to have a lot of different ways to showcase our collection in many locations. We change them in different rotations — mostly based on the size — so that something is almost always fresh with new items. As we begin the new school year, I thought I would keep things light with some thoughts on displays.

Things we do:

  • Keep diversity in mind with the topics of displays as well as the items we put into the displays. It’s easy to get wrapped up in an idea and end up with 15 books by straight, white male authors, so we try to consciously approach each display with a diverse mindset.
  • Allow all of our team members to create displays by themselves. We have a “weekly” table in the front of the library that rotates through the entire staff. We set the calendar at the start of the year so everyone knows when their weeks are. I almost never interfere in the outcomes and this gives everyone a sense of autonomy and a chance to create something great. Some table examples:
  • CANVA!! Our Canva subscription could be the best money we spend all year. Everyone knows how to use it and good signage improves displays enormously. I made this in five minutes:
  • Scour the libraryverse for ideas — Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, etc. There are a lot of smart and creative people out there who have already done it and documented it, so why not take advantage? 
  • Take pictures of a lot of our displays to post on social media. Check out our Instagram where we post book stacks, displays, etc. We also still have a Flickr account (I know, I know…but some habits are hard to break. Part of our new item processing is taking photos and posting them on the account for the three people who use it to browse our acquisitions) and we post photos of our “big” displays that only change a few times a year.

Things we don’t do:

  • Buy items for displays…the whole point is to publicize things we have, right?
  • Too many words! We are often prone to want to write long explanations and descriptions (librarians, right?), but very few people (especially students!) are ever going to read paragraphs in a display. I am always telling everyone to keep it simple.
  • Take ourselves too seriously:) We love funny, odd, and slightly subversive displays. Our most popular display — Books We Hate. Not only did students love it, they interacted with it, and it was the focus of a lot of discussions about books! Isn’t that what it’s all about?

We also have endcap displays that we change regularly:

And a desktop display next to our checkout area:

Hopefully, some of our ideas have inspired you–I hope everyone has a great start to the school year.

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