Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Top 10: RA Posters

If you are a teen services librarian, part of your job is marketing and merchandising your collection.  I used to spend a lot of time putting together booklists and had a huge RA booklist center, but then I stopped.  The reason why?  It occurred to me that there were too many steps for teens to take to find the books on the booklists and it often ended up in an unsatisfying patron experience.

Here’s how a booklist works:
1)  You grab your list of books and read through to see if there are any titles you want.
2)  You go to the PAC and search to see if the title is available (or go to the shelf).
3)  Of course the title you want is checked out so you place a hold and still have to find a title to read today.

There is a lot of effort and time spent using booklists for what ends up more often than not in an unsatisfying patron experience.  Your patron still walks out empty handed and having to wait for the books that you just got them excited about with your brief annotation.

In comparison, if you do book displays the experience goes like this:
1)  You walk up to a display of books on a certain theme – let’s say zombies.
2)  You pick up the book to read the back and see if you want to read it.
3)  You check out the book and leave a satisfied customer.

However, staff and parents sometimes want to know titles to recommend to teens so I came up with a great compromise that combined both RA materials and face out book displays AND created a way for me to make my teen area attractive and fun – the RA poster.  Granted, I didn’t invent the RA poster.  But since my budget doesn’t allow for me to purchase multiple posters, I started creating my own, which I often share here for free.  One of the questions I frequently get asked is how I create my RA posters.  I use a variety of apps (Instagram, Wordfoto, Diptic) and programs (Gimp, Microsoft Publisher, Wordle) to create the posters (and bookmarks and memes).

Here are my 10 fave to date . . .

You can download this poster at http://www.box.net/shared/azsha15dvs
It’s no secret that I love zombie books.  This poster is a little older so it doesn’t include some of the newer titles, but it is still one of my favorites.  Be sure to check out Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick, it’s one of the newer titles that didn’t make it onto this poster.  And Darren Shan has a 12 book series coming out entitled Zom-B.
You can download this poster at http://www.box.net/shared/a1hfi23pue
Without a doubt this topic has some currency for today and this poster should be updated with some of the amazing new titles coming out for our teens.  You may have heard but one of my favorite upcoming GLBTQ titles coming out is Ask the Passengers by A. S. King.
You can download the file at http://www.box.net/shared/p8o2qc10ebs93tt1d6jt
You can never go wrong with twisted fairy tales.  Since I have made this poster a few more good titles have come out, including Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross and the upcoming Fathomless by Jackson Pearce.
You can download the file at http://www.box.net/shared/o0tlv0qm3pbgbpmm1t2o
I made this poster because I love – super love – both the Cammie Morgan and Heist Society books by Ally Carter.  They are some of my go to recommendations.  If I was making this poster today I would add Code Name Verity (a must read) and Liars and Spies by Rebecca Stead.
This poster can be downloaded at http://www.box.com/s/pfga8bnk0mzdmf5ke2o4
This poster was made by special request when another librarian said hey, why don’t you make one about bullying.  Since one of my teens had recently committed suicide, this was a very real and raw topic for me.  Since making this poster I have read and would definitely add Wonder by R J Palaco and Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.
You can download the file at http://www.box.net/shared/2o6px9kmlniaso30sgot
Honestly, I just like this picture of the dog, which I purchased from a photo licensing website.  And I love the book No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman and wanted to make sure everyone knew about it.
You can download the poster at http://www.box.com/s/duxk17uo59eveyip5ut1
I think there should be more robots and aliens in life. Thus, I love this poster. That is all.
You can download this poster at http://www.box.net/shared/bscznkszvj
This poster came to be because I did a program using bottle caps and I liked the flyer design for my program so much that I tried to find a way to incorporate it into an RA poster.  Thus, POPular reads.
You can download the file at http://www.box.net/shared/j4efx2r81pet4t6033ny
As a challenge to myself, I tried to make a poster that looked like a graphic novel.  I don’t think it is epically awesome, but it gets the job done.
 You can download this poster at http://www.box.com/s/493c1c30c7ccc21db28f
For National Poetry Month, I stumbled across the concept of book spine poetry – which I love!  Here I used books in poetry form to make a poem, definitely not a good one, and a poster, which I think turned out pretty okay.
So there you have it, my top 10 favorite RA posters that I have done in the past few years and a look at why I do them.  I didn’t mention them here, but hands down my favorite posters are my year Top 10 Trends posters.  You can also check out the TLT FB page for bookmarks, memes, Banned Books Week posters and more.


  1. Do you have a large format printer at your library, or do you go somewhere and have them printed?

  2. I print then out using Microsoft Publisher choosing a custome size of 18×24. They print out as 4 11×17 sheets that I then piece together. I have priced having them printed at Staples and it is expensive – $20 or more. So piecing then together is the way that I can afford.

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