July Display Ideas

July is the month for patriotic events. Prepare a “Flag” display of books with red, white, and blue covers. I found this idea on Pinterest.

4th of July Book Display

You can see many different displays on my Pinterest boards “Displays for Libraries” and “Displays about Finance.” Here are 10 more display ideas for July.

“Beach Reads”
Find books with covers picturing people on the beach or in summer attire. Display them with beach balls, beach towels, beach tote, sunglasses and a bucket & spade.

“Beat the Heat”
Display books with the words “ice,” “snow,” “cold,” “blizzard,” etc. in the titles. You could even dig out a pair of mittens or earmuffs to include in the display.

E.B. White’s Birthday (July 11, 1899)
Elwyn Brooks White, the author of the popular children’s novels Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan was born on July 11, 1899, in Mount Vernon, New York. All three works were critical and commercial successes, selling millions of copies. The books have also been made into films. Prepare a display with White’s books, dvds, and audiobooks. You could add a bookmark with information about E.B. White.

Ford Motor Company Takes its First Order (July 15, 1903)
On this day in 1903, the newly formed Ford Motor Company takes its first order from Chicago dentist Ernst Plenning, and $850 two-cylinder Model A automobile with a backseat. The car, produced at Ford’s plant on Mack Street (now Mack Avenue) in Detroit, was delivered to Dr. Plenning just over a week later. Display this information with the “coffee table” books you have with pictures of cars from all eras. Include children’s books, as well.

Catcher in the Rye Published (July 16, 1951)
J.D. Salinger’s only novel was published by Little, Brown on this day in 1951. The book, about a confused teenager disillusioned by the adult world, was an instant hit and was taught in high schools for a half a century. The book took the country by storm, selling out and becoming a Book of the Month Club selection. Place a sign in the stacks or bring the book up to the circulation desk and display it with this information. The book is sure to be on someone’s summer reading list and they will be glad to find it so easily.

Disneyland Opens (July 17, 1955)
Walt Disney’s metropolis of nostalgia, fantasy, and futurism cost $17 million and was built on 160 acres of former orange groves in Anaheim, California, and soon brought in staggering profits. Today, Disneyland hosts more than 14 million visitors a year, who spend close to $3 billion. Since it is the season for vacations, find all your California and Florida travel books and display them with Disney story books and maybe even a biography of Walt himself. A set of Mickey Mouse ears would add a nice touch to the display.

Cormac McCarthy’s Birthday (July 20, 1933)
Cormac McCarthy is an American novelist, playwright and screenwriter. He was born on this day in Providence, Rhode Island.  McCarthy has written ten novels, including All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men, and The Road, which won the Pulitzer Prize. His novels are known for being bleak and violent and often feature characters who are outsiders or criminals. Place a sign in the stacks near his books with a list of all that he has written. Borrow those you don’t have through interlibrary loan for requesting patrons.

U.S. Postal System Established (July 26, 1775)
The U.S. Postal System was established by the Second Continental Congress with Benjamin Franklin as its first postmaster general. Display your stamp collecting books and any stamp collections your patrons are willing to lend you. Be sure to safeguard the valuable collections by placing them in a locked display case.

Emily Bronte’s Birthday (July 30, 1818)
Novelist Emily Bronte was the fifth-born of the six Bronte children, three of whom grew up to write fiction. Emily’s book Wuthering Heights is considered a classic and is on many summer reading lists. Display the book with a sign in the stacks to draw attention to the Brontes’ books.

J.K. Rowling’s Birthday (July 31, 1965)
Joanne Rowling, better known the world over as J.K. Rowling, the author and creator of the celebrated Harry Potter book series, was born near Bristol, England. Display everything you have related to J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter. Maybe these long, hot days (and your imaginative display) will inspire people to stay inside and read.

Follow me on Pinterest for even more display ideas.

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RVLS Annual Meeting 2014

Annual MeetingThe 2014 Republican Valley Library System Annual Meeting of the Membership was held on Friday, June 6, 2014 at the newly renovated McCook City Library. The RVLS Board meeting and the Annual meeting were held in the spacious basement community room which is accessible via stairs or elevator. Library Director and RVLS Board President Jody Crocker welcomed the attendees with refreshments before the RVLS Board Meeting. Library Commission Director, Rod Wagner and Panhandle Library System Coordinator, Eric Green were among those in attendance.

The RVLS Board meeting was held first and finished up just before 11:00. The Annual meeting lasted from 11:00 – 12:15. The minutes for both meetings are available online. Click on this link for the minutes of the Board meeting and on this link for the minutes of the Annual meeting.

Desserts2When the business of the day was concluded, Jody and her staff served a delicious buffet which included pulled pork sandwiches, a huge variety of salads and fruit, as well as many different desserts that are in the “to die for” category of deliciousness.

Once we had all eaten lunch, some of us decided to wait on dessert, RVLS Board Member, Annette Eisenhart, guided us to the Sutton House, which is a private home in McCook that was designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. We were so fortunate to have the opportunity to tour this beautiful and historic home. The home’s owner shared stories of the work involved in restoring this home after it had been turned into a doctor’s office/hospital. The furnishings and artwork they have collected are breath-taking.

Tour Group2

Thank you to all who made this wonderful day possible and to all who attended.



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Saying you don’t need a librarian…

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Summer Readers Eligible to Win Money for College

Children Completing Nebraska Summer Reading Programs to Be Entered to Win More Than $11,000 in NEST 529 Scholarships

NEST partners with libraries statewide on scholarship program, demonstrating that Books Are Just the Beginning at Nebraska libraries 

Omaha, Neb. (June 5, 2014) – Nebraska’s 529 College Savings Plans (NEST), First National Bank of Omaha, Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg and the Nebraska Library Commission announced today the NEST Read to Win $529! Drawing as part of library summer reading programs across the state.  More than $11,000 in NEST 529 College Savings scholarships and donations will be awarded.

Fifteen summer readers, five in each of Nebraska’s three congressional districts, will be randomly drawn from those who complete a summer reading program. Each winner will receive $529 in a NEST college savings account. The library of each winner will receive a $250 donation. To enter, children must register for the summer reading program at their libraries and complete the program as defined by their libraries.

“The Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office is happy to help sponsor the NEST Read to Win program this summer in local libraries all across Nebraska. Libraries are special places where children and teens can explore, learn, and dream. These early experiences in their local hometown libraries help children foster a love of reading and learning and set the stage for their years of formal education, from kindergarten through a four-year college, community college, or technical school. We here at NEST wish the very best for all the young readers in Nebraska and for their educational futures,” State Treasurer Stenberg said.

“NEST is proud to support the educational efforts of Nebraska’s children as well as the great work of the libraries statewide,” said Deborah Goodkin, Managing Director of NEST at First National Bank of Omaha, the NEST Program Manager. “With the libraries encouraging leisure reading during the summer, children can daydream and think of places they want to go and what they want to be. We hope this scholarship program encourages children and families to get involved in summer reading and complete the program with a little extra incentive for a possible scholarship.”

“Nebraska public libraries’ summer reading programs are great opportunities for children and teens to have the time to enjoy reading while maintaining and improving reading skills. They can also enjoy the many science-themed activities that are part of this year’s programs,” said Nebraska Library Commission Director Rod Wagner. “As places for learning, libraries are a natural partner for NEST—helping to illustrate the importance of children and their parents setting aside money for college education. The Nebraska Library Commission is pleased to join with the Nebraska State Treasurer, First National Bank of Omaha, Regional Library Systems, and Nebraska public libraries to promote lifelong learning, financial education and planning.”

Winners will be drawn from the names of children who complete the summer reading program as submitted at the end of their programs by libraries throughout Nebraska. Winners will be announced during college savings month in September.

For official scholarship rules, visit the NEST College Savings Plans at www.NEST529.com, the State Treasurer’s Office at www.treasurer.org/cs/or the Nebraska Library Commission at http://nlc.nebraska.gov.


About NEST
NEST is a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan and provides four plans to help make saving for college simple and affordable: NEST Direct College Savings Plan, the NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, the TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and The State Farm College Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer serves as the Program Trustee. First National Bank serves as the Program Manager, and all investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council. Families nationwide are saving for college using the NEST 529 plans, which have more than 215,000 accounts, including 62,000 in Nebraska. Visit NEST529.com and www.treasurer.org/cs/ for more information.

About First National Bank
First National Bank of Omaha is a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska, which is the largest privately owned banking company in the United States. First National and its affiliates have $17 billion in managed assets and nearly 5,000 employee associates. Primary banking offices are located in Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Texas.

About Nebraska Library Commission
As Nebraska’s state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans. The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services-“bringing together people and information.” Visit http://booksarejustthebeginning.com/ for more examples of how Books Are Just the Beginning at Nebraska libraries.

Investments Are Not FDIC Insured*
No Bank, State or Federal Guarantee May Lose Value
*Except the Bank Savings Individual Investment Option


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Three Good Places to Find Hands-On Science Activities

Some of our most memorable learning experiences happen during hands-on lessons. The biology and chemistry lessons that I remember best involved doing something, not just observing something. Just in time for this year’s Summer Reading Program, here are three good places to find hands-on science and technology lessons to try.

There are dozens of pages of projects listed in the “Projects” section of  Makezine.com. If you are looking for fun learning activities or projects to spark creativity and imagination, this page has something for you.

DIY.org provides videos and instructions on how to do a multitude of projects. Kids can even share examples of their projects on this website.

soapbubblesScifun.org, written by a University of Wisconsin chemistry professor, features twenty-five fun and safe science experiments that can be performed with household items. The experiments introduce basic chemistry concepts through fun, hands-on activities.

Thanks to Free Technology for Teachers for these great ideas!

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Hildreth Public Library Expansion and Renovation

Circ DeskThe plan to expand the Hildreth Public Library was established in the spring of 2006. Now, several years, 37 fund-raising activities, and four grants later, the Hildreth Public Library Board, the Board of the Friends of the Library group, and Library Director Vicki Casper, unveiled this new space for their community on Sunday, May 11, 2014. More than 100 people came to see the results of the project that doubled the size of the pre-renovation library.


It hasn’t been easy, but it has been very rewarding to see the Building Fund grow. Here is just a partial list of the fund-raising activities:

  • Bake Sales
  • Harvest Lunches
  • Christmas Gift Wrapping
  • Tractor Pull Concessions
  • Pancake Dinner
  • Chocolate Lover’s Sale
  • Underwater Pitch Tournament
  • Outdoor Movies
  • Ugly Cookbook Contest

This is truly a success story for the village of Hildreth.

Children's Checkout



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June Display Ideas

Summer is just around the corner, and with it comes hot weather, picnics, and the Summer Reading Program. Many public libraries will have “Fizz, Boom, Read” bulletin boards. Another idea would be to cover your bulletin board with a red-checkered tablecloth, add paper plates, food cutouts, and ants. Use the title “Ant”-icipating a Great Summer. (This would be a great end-of-the-year bulletin board for school libraries!) Here are 10 more display ideas for June.

Audiobook Appreciation Month
Encourage new listeners to learn more about the fascinating history and current status of audiobooks in the United States. Audiobooks are one of the fastest-growing areas of the publishing industry. Advertise the availability of downloadable audiobooks if your library is a member of the Nebraska OverDrive consortium. Display your own audiobooks or contact the RVLS Office to borrow audiobooks to check out to your patrons.

Great Outdoors Month
Celebrate the rich blessings of our nation’s natural beauty and promote commitment to protecting the environment and keeping our country’s open spaces beautiful and accessible to our citizens. Gather books about outdoor activities—hiking, fishing, boating, camping, bird watching, etc. Borrow an old canoe (it doesn’t even need to float) or maybe a small tent and display the books it in. This is sure to attract a lot of interest.

Ken Follett’s Birthday (June 5, 1949)
Follett’s books are predominantly spy thrillers and historical fiction. Place a sign in the stacks with his books to draw attention to them. Create a checklist of his titles for his fans.

Yo-Yo Day (June 6)
Display a box of yo-yos for your patrons to play with. (Believe me, children aren’t the only ones that like Yo-Yos.) The origins of the toy are hard to factually prove. Many believe that the Yo-Yo originated in China as early as 500-1000 B.C. However, there is some evidence that it was first used in Greece even before this time. Over the centuries the Yo-Yo has had its ups and downs (I couldn’t pass that one up.) The Yo-Yo was made wildly popular in America by businessman Donald F. Duncan Sr. There is even a National Yo-Yo Museum in California: http://nationalyoyo.org/. Try to find someone really accomplished in yo-yoing to present a program about tricks.

Patricia Cornwell’s Birthday (June 9, 1956)
Bestselling crime novelist Patricia Cornwell, creator of crime-solving medical examiner Kay Scarpetta, was born on this day in Miami, Florida. Feature her books along with a bookmark listing her titles. Find a complete listing of Cornwell’s books here: http://www.patriciacornwell.com/books/.  Add the outline of a body in masking tape on the floor to attract attention to your display.

National Iced Tea Day (June 10)
With the official start of summer just a few days away, the timing is perfect for National Iced Tea Day. Whether it is plain, contains a little lemon, or is sweetened with sugar, iced tea is certainly a favorite summer cooler of millions of Americans. Iced tea originated in 1904. English tea plantation owner Richard Biechynden set up a booth to sell hot tea at the St. Louis World Fair. It was a sizzler of a day, and fair visitors didn’t want anything hot. Rather, they needed something to quench their thirst…something cold. He dumped some of his hot tea into ice and served it cold. It was an immediate hit! Place a sign at the circulation desk today explaining the origin of iced tea and offer your patrons a cool drink.

Flag Day (June 14)
Flag Day is a day for all Americans to celebrate and show respect for our flag, its designers and makers. Our flag is representative of our independence and our unity as a nation. Display books about the flag and U.S. history along with a hand-out of flag etiquette. You could even order a box of mini U.S. flags on sticks and give them away for use at the local 4th of July parade.

Brian Wilson’s Birthday (June 20, 1942)
Brian Wilson is a singer and songwriter from the group “The Beach Boys.” Find books, dvds, and music cds that feature the word “Beach” in the title. Display them with beach balls, beach chairs, towels, sunglasses, etc. Encourage staff to wear colorful shirts, flip flops, and to have fun. If nothing else, this day will be a morale booster.

Lightning Safety Awareness Week (June 22-28, 2014)
Summer is the peak season for one of the nation’s deadliest weather phenomena—lightning. Though lightning strikes peak in summer, people are struck year round. In the United States, an average of 53 people are killed each year by lightning, and hundreds more are severely injured. Weather is a great science topic, so this week fits very well with this year’s Summer Reading Program. Go to http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/ for games, activities, coloring pages to display with your weather books.

Paul Bunyan Day (June 28)
Paul Bunyan is a gigantic lumberjack of American folklore. According to the legend, Paul Bunyan and his blue ox “Babe” lived and travelled around the country. He is best known for his logging feats. Display books on folklore with a picture of Paul and his ox. Host a folklore event. Tell stories over a campfire while roasting marshmallows.

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest for even more display ideas.

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Finding Historical Images

You can find more than 85,000 historical images through the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Open Content program. You can download and reuse the images as long as you give proper attribution for the source of the image.

The Getty Search Gateway allows you to filter your search according to material type, topic, name, source, and location. Once you find an image, click the image’s title to be taken to its landing page where you can learn more about it, get the required attribution information, and learn more about the history of your chosen image.

This collection is great for art history lessons and for students needing free images to use in multimedia presentations.

Thank you to Free Technology for Teachers  for this useful information!


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Learn a New Language with Duolingo

Duolingo is a fantastic free service designed to help people learn Spanish, English, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese. The service can be used in your web browser, as an iOS app, or as an Android app.

If you haven’t seen Duolingo before, watch the video below for a short overview.

I set up my own account in under a minute. It is really fun!

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Free Technology for Teachers

I just read about a great blog called Free Technology for Teachers (www.freetech4teachers.com). It shares free innovative technology tips for school librarians and teachers. Here are a few of the categories on this blog:

  • Free apps for iPad and Android devices
  • Free Google tutorials
  • Free guides (e.g. improving Internet searches)
  • Alternatives to YouTube
  • Creating blogs and websites
  • Video creation resources

Once you subscribe (for free), you will receive updates via email, Facebook or Twitter.

A recent post describes and links to five free tools that will help students create bibliographies. Just in time for spring research papers!

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