24 Hour Library

A Library Blog by Abby Hargreaves

Tag: displays

Show Off: Books to Make You LOL

I love using obscure “holidays” to pick a book display theme. When I found out March 19th was National Let’s Laugh Day, I had just the thing for it: humorous young adult materials for the month’s display. I admit, I’m usually not one to pick up well on humor in writing (in senior AP English, Candide‘s humor went way over my head). But it was easy enough to pull out a few books thanks to the organization of the library catalog.

Like in past displays, I used simple, printed bookmarks to remind anyone looking at the display that books on display can be checked out.

Different kinds of humor were incorporated in the selection of books. I’m a big fan of the very smart and biting humor of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart and the sometimes-sad, but super honest humor of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

The library’s OverDrive collection also had a humor section, which allowed me to direct those who were interested to similar digital titles via the display explanation sign. It was super fun to incorporate a well-beloved emoji into the display, too (I know it’s probably one of the ones I use most frequently).

What are some books that tickle your funny bone?

Show Off: Books with Bite

Around the beginning of autumn, it’s easy to fall into the spirit of the season. Pumpkin spice starts appearing in stores in absurd amounts, party stores suddenly become Halloween emporiums, and the idea of curling up with a spooky read and a cup of your favorite fall beverage is awfully tempting. Vampires, werewolves, and other monsters-turned-romantics might have somewhat gone out of style since the Twilight boom, but the pseudo-genre still has its fans. While at the James M. Duncan Branch of the Alexandria Public Library system in Alexandria, VA, I put together this book display of books featuring our fang-toothed friends. While many of of the titles include elements of paranormal romance, several are your standard young adult horror fare.

Young Adult Horror Novels Book Display

The sign for this display was inspired by this incredible large-scale piece. I was totally blown away by that work and, with my limited space, wanted to do something similar. This worked pretty well and added a nice three-dimensional aspect to a small space without overwhelming it. Plus, it was creepy and horror-inspired without too much gore. I really love the thorny background, which beckons feelings of fantasy.

Young Adult Horror Novels Book Display

Using the beloved “Chiller” font, I inserted some super-simple bookmarks that alerted browsers that the books were on display to be checked out.

Young Adult Horror Book Display

Young Adult Horror Book Display

Finding books to include was easy enough — quick subject searches of the four kinds of monsters I focused on yielded tons of results and even browsing what was on our shelves for books with the horror genre sticker led to several finds.  This is the time to start thinking about Halloween and horror displays. You might find some of the forgotten novels of last year’s (okay, 2007’s) genre find new hands and eyes with something fun and spooky!

Show Off: If You Liked Thirteen Reasons Why…

Thirteen Reasons Why is now not only a wildly popular tough-topics book for teens, but a Netflix series, too. There are so many similar novels out there, it wasn’t hard to pull together a list. I started with NoveList, but made use of subject headings including “suicide” and “grief,” too. While most of these novels don’t have the nifty cassette concept or an equivalent, many of them deal with topics many teens face daily. Whether they find comfort in these fictionalized versions of events in their real lives or enjoy the inherently high drama of these stories, teens will likely find at least one book to interest them in this set. Check out pictures of the display below along with a list of books I used.


Just after this I got straight to work on straightening the YA graphic novels.


The Good Sister Jamie Kain
Please Ignore Vera Dietz A. S. King
Wintergirls Laurie Halse Anderson
Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia Jenny Torres Sanchez
34 Pieces of You Carmen Rodriguez
The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold
Ghostgirl Tanya Hurley
Love Letters to the Dead Ava Dellaira
Boy Proof Cecil Castellucci
The Spectacular Now Tim Tharp
Teach Me to Forget Erica Chapman
The Memory of light Francisco X Stork
The Last Time We Say Goodbye Cynthia Hand
When Reason Breaks Cindy L. Rodriguez
Falling into Place Amy Zhang
And We Stay Jenny Hubbard
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock Matthew Quick
Fall for Anything Courtney Summers
All the Rage Courtney Summers
By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead Julie Ann Peters
Suicide Notes Michael Thomas Ford
Stay with Me Garret Freyman-Weyr
The Beginning of After Jennifer Castle
After Kristin Harmel
The Beginner’s Guide to Living Lia Hills
A Map of the Known World Lisa Ann Sandell
It’s Kind of a Funny Story Ned Vizzini
Challenger Deep Neal Shusterman
Saving Francesca Melina Marchetta
Waiting for You Susane Colasanti
Before I Fall Lauren Oliver
If I Stay Gayle Forman
Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac Gabrielle Zevin
The Body of Christopher Creed Carol Plum-Ucci
Willow Julie Hoban
Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone Kat Rosenfeld

Show Off: Love at First Line

Around Valentine’s Day, I didn’t want to do the usual display for romance or anti-romance novels. Instead, I decided to play with the concept of love at first sight. You may have picked up a book and known, just by the first line, that you were going to love it. Maybe it was shocking and grabbed your attention with force. Maybe it was a sort of puzzle that urged you to keep reading for the answer. Maybe the first-named character shared your name and, well, if it was basically a book about you, it had to be good, right?

Well. For whatever reason the first line pulled you in,  you were hooked from the beginning. At Duncan one Sunday, I went to the shelves in our Young Adult collection and began selecting random titles. I read the first line from dozens of books, making note of the best ones and their titles.

After I’d typed the lines and their titles up, I put together a little game on the door. The title of the novels were taped to the door first, followed by the lines, which covered the novels like a flap. If the first line intrigued you enough, the idea was you’d lift that sheet to find out the title of the book (and its location on the shelf) which would then empower you to check it out and get started on a great read.

Here are some images of the display:


What are some of your favorite first lines?

Show Off: Fall Is All Around

In addition to book displays, I also have the privilege of decorating the door to a storage closet in the teen area. It’s partially blocked by a bookshelf which can make attractive designs challenging, but I’ve managed a few strategies to make it look a bit less lop-sided. One of these strategies is to use small elements that are scattered about to imitate the appearance of randomness and whimsy. When fall came about, my love of puns pushed me to create this “bulletin board” with the social media handles of several authors, books in the library with fall in the title, and an invitation for teens to add their own social media handles on blank leaves left for that purpose.

No one ended up sharing any of their handles, but the simple display hit on a handful of information needs and was an opportunity for passive programming.







What author Twitters do you love?

Show Off: Historical Fiction

I’ve never been really big on historical fiction unless there’s a fantasy element. If I learned anything from this book display, the readers of young adult fiction in Alexandria are basically in agreement with me. Book displays aren’t just a good way to up circulation, but a good way to assess from a general standpoint, what types and genres of books and other materials in which patrons or customers have an interest.

Unlike the Retellings display, the books for this display did not exactly fly off the shelves.  This is a library I’m only at for four hours once a week, so it’s difficult to say from that glimpse what types of books teens are checking out with fervor. There are circulation statistics available, of course, but those stats don’t come with a gauge of the level of excitement with which the book was checked out. I think, to degree, that matters. But let’s say I did know historical fiction circulated poorly in the YA fiction. If one of our goals is to increase circulation for under-circulating materials, then I might’ve made this display anyway, just to see if highlighting it made a difference.

I marketed this display with the idea of holiday giving — give yourself the gift of time travel. And some of the books did have a time travel element, but most were simply historical fiction. The images below give a sample of the titles I used in the display. You’ll also find a complete list of what else I might have pulled at the bottom of the post.

Do you have a favorite historical fiction?






Come August, Come Freedom Amateau, Gigi
This Vast Land Ambrose, Stephen
The Diviners Bray, Libba
Caminar Brown, Skila
Born of Illusion Brown, Teri
Goddess of Yesterday Cooney, Caroline B.
Audacity Crowder, Melanie
The Year We Were Famous Dagg, Carole Etsby
The Road of Bones Fine, Anne
Spirit’s Chosen Friesner, Esther
Untimed Gavin, Andy
Silver in the Blood George, Jessica Day
Luxe Godbersen, Anna
The Wild Golden, Christopher
Blythewood Goodman, Carol
Changeling Gregory, Philippa
Wicked Girls Hemphill, Stephanie
The Falconer’s Knot Hoffman, Mary
Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy Kiem, Elizabeth
Mortal Heart LaFevers, Robin
Manor of Secrets Longshore, Katherine
Pateince, Princess Catherine Meyer, Carolyn
Miss Spitfire Miller, Sarah Elizabeth
All We Have Left Mills, Wendy
The Beautiful and the Cursed Morgan, Page
Venom Paul, Fiona
Dodger Pratchett, Terry
Sandell, Lisa Ann
The Hired Girl Schlitz, Laura Amy
The Enchantress Scott, Michael
The Ghosts of Heaven Sedgwick, Marcus
The Cup and the Crown Stanley, Diane
The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl Statham, Leigh
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Taylor, Mildred D.
Father of Lies Turner, Ann Warren
My Name Is Not Friday Walter, Jon
Countdown Wiles, Deborah
Palace of Spies Zettel, Sarah

Show Off: Retellings

With a new film adaptation of Anne of Green Gables recently broadcast on PBS (which you can stream on the PBS website until December 22, 2016) and the upcoming adaptation of Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson, it felt like the perfect time to showcase some of the Alexandria Public Library’s access to retellings of classic novels and fairy tales in the young adult fiction section. I was surprised at how many were available in the stacks. Not only were there retellings that stuck fairly strictly to the original material, but there were plenty that only followed the originals loosely. Below are the results of the display for the first week, though it needed significant restocking throughout its display life. I’ve included a list of the titles I used on the display.

The flyer posted with the display explaining the theme also included a list of other titles available throughout the system, which patrons might place a hold on to come to the Duncan branch or pick up at its owning branch after searching the catalog for the item.

Each book sat with a bookmark encouraging browsers to check them out and with a secret message lower down, hidden in the pages of the book. I always found as a browser at public libraries when I was a teenager that I was never sure if the books on display could be checked out or not. In fact, I was convinced they could not be checked out because doing so would disturb the display and leave a gap! Knowing what I know now, this sounds ridiculous. I’m inclined to believe, however, that plenty of people who browse my displays have the same feelings of uncertainty now, so I feel it’s really important to indicate somewhere on the display that patrons are allowed and even encouraged to check out items on the display.

What retellings do you love?







Titles Used on Display

Dark Companion Acosta, Marta
Everneath Ashton, Brodi
The Looking Glass Wars Beddor, Frank
Jekel Loves Hyde Beth Fantaskey
Antigoddess Blake, Kendare
A Curse as Dark as Gold Bunce, Elizabeth C.
Abandon Cabot, Meg
The Goddess Test Carter, Aimee
Oh My Gods Childs, Tera Lynn
Sweet Venom Childs, Tera Lynn
Goddess of Yesterday Cooney, Caroline B.
Black Spring Croggan, Alison
Entwined Dixon, Heather
Prom & Prejudice Eulberg, Elizabeth
The Sea of Trolls Farmer, Nancy
Bewitching Flinn, Alex
Towering Flinn, Alex
Nobody’s Princess Friesner, Esther
Masque of Red Death Griffin, Bethany
The Fall Griffin, Bethany
Just Ella Haddix, Margaret Peterson
If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince? Kantor, Melissa
Enchanted Kontis, Alethea
Tender Morsels Lanagan, Margo
Catherine Lindner, April
Ash Lo, Malinda
A Court of Thorns and Roses Maas, Sarah J.
Throne of Glass Maas, Sarah J.
September Girls Madison, Bennett
Eyes Like Stars Mantchev, Lisa
Wildwood Dancing Marillier, Juilet
Spindle’s End McKinley, Robin
Cleopatra Confesses Meyer, Carolyn
Cinder Meyer, Marissa
Prophecy Oh, Ellen
This Dark Endeavor Oppel, Kenneth
Dorothy Must Die Paige, D. M.
East Pattou, Edith
Fathomless Pearce, Jackson
Sistes Read Pearce, Jackson
Life After Theft Pike, Aprilynne
Withering Tights Rennison, Louise
Cleopatra’s Moon Shecter, Vicky
A Long, Long Sleep Sheehan, Anna
The Madman’s Daughter Shepherd, Megan
Her Dark Curiosity Shepherd, Megan
Alice in Zombieland Showalter, Gena
Enthusiasm Shulman, Polly
Man Made Boy Skovron, Jon
Nameless St. Crow, Lili
The Chaos of Stars White, Kiersten
Briar Rose Yolen, Jane
Sass & Serendipity Ziegler, Jennifer

Show Off: Banned Books Week

There are, as you might imagine, a lot of rules around political involvement and being an employee of local government. Librarians and other library staff are often employed at the town or city level by the local government, making them subject to these rules. This means no speaking to patrons about personal political leanings, who you’re likely to vote for, or what your stances on particular issues are. This means no wearing t-shirts that proclaim loyalty for a candidate, disdain for another candidate, or anything else that might be politically suggestive.

What’s interesting to me is that libraries and librarianship are inherently political. Despite how we may be required to refrain from sharing our political opinions, libraries are — or, at least we try to be — democratic. We’re about equal and equitable access to information. We’re about standing in solidarity for the right to free speech and the reception of that speech (intellectual freedom). We’re about protecting privacy, as many libraries pushed back against the Patriot Act and its implications. And so, annually, we celebrate this with Banned Books Week in September.

This year, Banned Books Week begins today, September 25, and runs through October 1. Given the opportunity to put together a display about banned books in the young adult section of one of the libraries where I work, I got straight to planning. Teens are probably on the receiving end of book banning more than other populations. Sure, children’s books And Tango Makes Three and King and King among others have faced a fair amount of challenges, but teens encounter challenged books for both teen and adult audiences, the former frequently found in school and public libraries, the latter often used in the classroom. So, to promote awareness of Banned Books Week and intellectual freedom, I put up the display below in the teen section of the library, complete with bookmarks that offer further content in the form of eBooks available through the library.





I’m happy to say the books have been flying off the shelves and have needed replenishing each day I’ve gone in. One of the important bits, I think, is to make sure visitors are aware that they can check out books on the display, so the bookmarks with eBook options were inserted into each book on display with “Check me out!” at the top. I used print books (both fiction and graphic novels) as well as audiobooks and the eBook collection. What are you doing for Banned Books Week?

Show Off: Audiobooks

Welcome to a new category of posts — Show Off! Show Off will feature book/material displays designed and stocked by yours truly. While I’ve done several before, I’ve admittedly done a less-than-stellar job documenting them. But no more!

Audiobooks are pretty ideal for summer. With long road trips likely for many, audiobooks can keep the whole family occupied. This particular “category” of materials is also a good choice for small collections. Unlike more specific topics of choice such as First Ladies, butterfly breeding, or English castles, audiobooks provides a supply less likely to run out unless you have an especially small audiobook collection. With the ability to replenish materials as customers check them out, audiobooks are a great piece of your collection to feature during the summer months.


It’s easy to put out a mix of audiobooks that appeal to various ages by including adult and children’s materials (and YA!). Picking audiobooks with colorful covers and mixing those colors together can help make the display more attractive and interesting to those passing by. Within the few minutes between me finishing the display and taking these pictures, one audiobook had already been snatched up. I replaced it, and left the display as a full set.

Remember you can include nonfiction as well as fiction. While some road trippers may wish to be strictly entertained during their journeys, others may prefer to also learn during their trip. Items regarding historical happenings may be especially pertinent as people travel toward historical landmarks and aim to learn more about them on the way.


You’ll of course want a sign that describes the display. I find it’s especially important to communicate to customers that these items are available for checkout. Before I went into libraries as a career, when I was a timid teen patron, I generally assumed books on displays were not only not available for checkout, but also not to be touched. Why would I want to destroy someone’s clearly thoughtful and hard work? Well — it’s high time to change that attitude; and I’m sure it still exists. This particular sign encouraged customers to grab an audiobook as a part of their packing plans for their road trip. This particular display is also in the unique position to point customers to the eCollection. Although the eCollection cannot so easily be displayed here (unless printouts of covers were made to post), customers are reminded of the availability of eAudiobooks and encouraged to speak wit a staff member for more information.

Material displays can very easily broaden customers’ understanding, perception, and use of the library. It’s the perfect way to show customers that the library has things customers did not know they wanted or needed. This display, simple and requiring little thought, is perfect for the busy season that not only involves vacations for many customers, but the nonstop work that comes with summer reading programs! Make it easy on you and your customers with an audiobook display!

Thanks to the Cherrydale Branch in the Arlington Public Library system for giving me the opportunity to feature a part of their collection!

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