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This month has been a bit chaotic because we were remodeling. While remodeling the department is not a program, it effects programing, circulation, and everything else that goes on in the department. It can also be challenging, so I would like to share some of the things we learned in the process.

When we started thinking about remodeling, we measured all of our rooms, the shelves, and the furniture. Then, I created a graph paper floor plan of the department where one square was equivalent to a foot. I also cut out accurately sized pieces of paper for the furniture and shelves. Each piece of furniture was backed with a loop of not-very-sticky tape, so that it could be re-positioned if needed.

We tried out many different ideas and researched the appropriate aisle width. Basically, you should make sure there is at least 36″ between furniture items to allow for wheelchair accessibility. Here is a link to the ADA:

When we worked out our final plan, and it was approved, Scott made a masterful schedule. We moved some parts of our collection gradually. The video games and CDs were re-labeled with spine numbers, so that they could be stored on a book shelf instead of a rack, which freed up a lot of space. It also meant that all of our audio-visual materials were in the same area. Then we moved our non-fiction to its new location on the wall under the “YA Reading Nook” sign. (Why didn’t we ever have books there before?) This move also gave us more space because it eliminated a wide low shelf in the center of our department. Any time you can minimize the amount of floor space being used, you will be creating more room overall.

The fiction collection was broken into two sections for the move. A-K lived in the room where we do programs, and L-Z stayed out on the shelves (for the most part). Addie made an awesome map indicating where everything was located, and each table of books was clearly labeled.

The coolest thing about the move was that the department was still functional for most of the move. Granted, it looked a little crazy, but with the exception of the morning we moved the desk, we were able to check out books and shelve them. Now we have a more spacious-looking layout and additional room on the shelves!

Notes: Not all metal cantilevered shelves are the same size. Some styles of end panels are no longer made. (We are creating a large cork board end panel to hide the fact that we cannot purchase one that matches the end panels we have already.) Drilling into metal is slightly easier when you create a pilot hole with a smaller bit. If you are well-organized, moving might not take as long as you thought it would. We were scheduled to be closed for two days, but we finished early and were able to stay open.

Book Planters

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Book planters are a fun way to combine reading and a love of plants. For our activity, I precut the book holes using a matt knife. Even though there are a lot of pictures of book planters online, I wasn’t sure that books would actually retain water, so I ordered some air plants. Air plants can be taken out of their environment for a ten minute soaking, or they can be watered with a spray bottle. After they lined the holes with wax paper and white glue, the teens had a fun time decorating the open books and selecting shells, rocks, and sand for their plant environments. Here are some of the materials I had out: old notes, maps, lace, shells, rocks, sand, pieces of wood, and hard coat Mod Podge. They coated the entire collage with hard coat Mod Podge in order to protect it from water. Hopefully, they will learn a little about plants with their new air plant friends.

Fairy Dust

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Fairy dust was a craft that everyone enjoyed. The bottles had been donated, so they didn’t come with corks. I carved the fairy dust corks out of synthetic wine corks using a utility knife. In addition, I made some paper funnels out of scratch paper, and I also provided spoons to help everyone get the sand into their bottles.

At first I thought this craft might not be appealing to guys, but they loved it. I told the guys they could label their bottles “Ghoul Powder,” but they tended to leave the bottles unlabeled. I wondered about the teens trying to use fairy dust on one another, but I soon realized that was silly. Everyone was invested in the process of creating multicolored sand by mixing drops of food coloring with small portions of sand in Ziploc bags.

For extra texture variety, I had some chunky white glitter out and crushed shells. When the bottles were filled, there were colorful labels to attach with Tacky Glue.  Note: It would be a good idea to schedule extra time for cleanup, as this project is very messy. Here is the inspiration for our project (although we did not sure candles, wax, or ink):

Giant Scrabble

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At first, the teens were skeptical because Scrabble involves spelling and dictionaries, but soon they were caught up in the game and having fun. We had four teams with cardboard walls to protect from prying eyes. We only had one dictionary, but people used their phones as well. I would recommend providing a dictionary per team, if possible. I would also recommend making sure that you review Scrabble rules before you play, as they will¬† be tested. Calculating scores can be pretty challenging, so it would be helpful to find a math wiz armed with a calculator for this job. We played without using diagonals or acronyms, but backwards words were acceptable. It’s a great, secret learning game!

Booktalks with GIFs

Trying something different here, again. :)

We had an 8th grader tell us our booktalks were boring. He was honest and gave us tips of what he’d like to see.
Boring me Back to Death

Today, I went to one of our local high schools and shared some booktalks with GIFs. The powerpoint was fun to put together and the classes seemed to enjoy themselves. You can download the powerpoint there-> (Giftalks).

By the way, you need to actually run the powerpoint to see the GIFs in action.