The “What drives me crazy and how can I fix it immediately?” method

Recently, on the TL listservs, we were asked to comment on how we displayed series titles, and how we decided which series would become designated special sections and which would be interfiled with the main collection. I decided I usually use the “What drives me crazy and how can I fix it immediately?” method.

At this school, “Where’s Wally?” books are almost-always out on loan, or if they are “in”, they are all off the display and being read at lunchtimes. In the new library, I have a special, decorated shelf for “Where’s Wally?” books.

I found Wally, er, Waldo

Thanks to a bit of laminating (the cover of an old “Where’s Wally: the magnificent poster book”) and a big, blue-painted MDF “W” from Spotlight (or Lincraft), the display still looks good even if every Wally book is “out”:

Where's Wally? poster rack

“Quick Reads” are on a spinner rack and include a pot pouri of “Aussie bites”, “Aussie nibbles”, “Aussie chomps”, “Skinnys”, “Solos”, “Out of this world”, “Hotshots”, “Crazy tales” and “Billy Kool”, etc.


Our three levels of “Premier’s Reading Challenge” books are also in their own sections.

In the old library, the previous TL was driven crazy by the popularity of “Goosebumps”, so I created a dedicated shelf in Fiction for Stine’s “Goosebumps” series, mainly because otherwise the frantic rummaging for those titles made a complete mess out of the regular “S” shelf. The dedicated display was actually on an empty “G” shelf, but in the new library, “Goosebumps” (more were donated!) take up two whole shelves called “STI – Goosebumps”, situated between the “R” and “T” shelves, and decorated by a hideous, life-sized, Halloween skull.

Goosebumps skull

In my previous two libraries, we had dedicated sections for “Dr Seuss” books and “Choose-Your-Own Adventures”, because those books were extremely popular at the time.

Keji and Wally: store and display

Keji Sorted's Blitz plastic storage box and lid

I am really enjoying my Blitz plastic storage box and lid by Keji Sorted (above, from Office Works)!

Don’t you hate it when you send out a class of avid library borrowers, only to realize that one of them has borrowed that wonderful book you were using with the class – or worse, your next class? At least that’s traceable through OASIS Library, but what if they merely looked at the book… and then reshelved it incorrectly, somewhere in the library?

I knew I needed some kind of little table, desk or box next to my ergonomic chair, but this lime-green, plastic storage cube (or rectangular prism) is the perfect height, and is colour-matched to the library’s door trim. I can load the box up with the resources I will be using over the week – books, pictures, my timetable, sample library bags, teaching aids, etc – and they stay safely together until I need them.

Where's Wally? poster rack

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had set up a beautiful display of all of the library’s “Where’s Wally” books late last year but, in the first week of borrowing this year, the highly-motivated student borrowers have cleaned me out! Luckily, I found a giant-sized Where’s Wally?: the magnificent poster book I’d had at home for over a decade, and finally succeeded in finding the inclination to separate the eleven posters within. I had them laminated, made the little checklists into laminated cards, and used the cover art to set up a backup display. My concept is to make good use of the new poster rack we received as part of the BER, and have plenty of Wally items that can be used at lunchtimes. Our library picture collection hangs on two perfectly good racks of their own, and just need a good cull and better cataloguing to work effectively (although the coming of interactive white boards is definitely causing a decline in poster use by the teachers.)

I’ve also found a new boxed set of Wally books with a free jigsaw puzzle included. Now I might have the students outnumbered! Maybe.

Wally and the lion

I found Wally, er, Waldo
“I found Wally, er, Waldo!”

After three weeks of unpacking, shelving, unpacking, labelling, unpacking and even more unpacking, our new BER school library is almost ready for young, enthusiastic browsers. The students have been peering anxiously through the glass doors (removing nose marks has been a pleasant daily chore) and soon they will get a chance to see the treasures that await them. For one, I found my old “Where’s Wally” figure, a souvenir of a trip to the USA over Christmas 1991. This Wally, er… Waldo (in the US) most often used to hang in a model hot air balloon in my previous school library, where I had originally made the stupid mistake of promising to “hide” him each week – but the students almost ransacked the shelves looking for him. In this new library, Wally will guard the sure-to-be-popular display of “Where’s Wally” puzzle books.


Library lion
… a library lion guards our new Returns box.

I fell in love with a beautiful reclining lion statue in a local store just last January. It was $50 and I wandered off wishing I could afford it for the library. But it seemed a very extravagant expenditure – and everything was about to go into storage while our BER library was being built. A few months later, I remembered that our collection included the beautiful picture book, “Library lion” by Michelle Knudsen & Kevin Hawkes, and suddenly a lion guarding the new library was an essential. I went back to the shop and the lion statue was still there! But he was now $70. Oh well…

A few weeks ago, I was upstairs in the seedy bargain section of a local bargain store, shopping for inexpensive picture frames – and located, instead, a sitting lion in a forgotten, dusty corner – in almost the same pose as the lion on the cover of the picture book. He was only $14, and the shop assistant said she didn’t even remember him being part of their stock. Thus, we now have our own library lion, and a smugly satisfied, bargain-hunting teacher-librarian.