Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

TPiB: Self Directed Displays in Action

A few weeks back I posted about self-directed displays and how they are a life-saver for when things go wrong and you NEED something to pop. However, they are also particularly awesome for gaining interest in things you are already doing- whether it’s a program, or drawing interest to a particular collection, or anything else within the library.

I’ve started doing a self-directed contest style display every week for a month now, and the stats have proven that the time it takes to put it together more makes it worthwhile.  Taking a theme (Banned Books Week, Star Wars Reads Week, Playaway Collection, Teen Read Week), I was able to:
  • interact with current patrons
  • interact with new patrons
  • get the chance to sell programs in the library
  • draw attention to things we were already doing but patrons may have missed
  • actively gain statistics for a week-long program that took minimal staff planning time and funds
  • gain positive publicity within the library by piquing the curiosity
  • get patrons to come back to the library to find out a.) who won, and b.) what the next display is about
Curious about what I’ve been doing? Click through to see the pictures!


I took plastic jars like these (these are rice jars, but you could use any plastic container- as soon as we’re cleared for FY2014, I’m going to be upgrading to a more sturdy container and a shadowbox to give me more options), and took the labels off using goo-gone.  
 I then took one of our weeded copies of Captain Underpants, shredded it, and placed it in the jar. 

I then created my display, placing other challenged books from our collection, a sign explaining what was going on, and my entry form for patrons to guess the book. Those who guessed correctly were entered to win copies of the book. 
I had 23 entries.


Using the same jars and inspiration from my co-blogger Robin, I used Reece’s Pieces cereal and a pair of Yoda earbuds that I found on clearance at a big box store. I buried Master Yoda in the *cough* Ewok poop, counting each piece.

I then created my display, using our library mascots, books from our collection, and props given away from the Star Wars Reads Day marketing team.

I ran it Monday through Saturday, ending it during our Star Wars Reads Day program. We had 25 entries.


For Teen Read Week, I’ve taken a loose interpretation of Seek the Unknown. I have my teen movie night that week, and we’re having a teen reading contest throughout the system as well. Since my location is not open the Sunday TRW starts, I’m actually launching the contest early, and opening it up to all. This time, I’ve let loose the fluffy marshmallow candies.

The mascots are dressed for Halloween, and will be sitting around the container. Entries will be accepted through October 19, with the winner drawn October 21. The one who is closest to the correct number of marshmallow birds will win the birds.

Because for this contest, Bird is the Word.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4thNIrzqUXs?rel=0]

Karen’s note: I can not tell you how much fun we have had walking around saying Ewok Poop.  My Tweens love it!

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