Through these 15 years, each of my students has made me realize some things about that inner child and each student has, in their own way, let him know that, “he’d make it, he’d be okay, and he is loved.”
I learned about Banned Books Ween when I was in Library School at Syracuse. I was interning at Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, NY and their librarian had an amazing display and information about Banned Books. I was fascinated. I pledged right then and there to make this happen one day when I was a librarian.
Last year was the first year that I finally made it happen and for a first annual event, it was an fantastic celebration of freedom and reading and the bar has been set high.
In 2014 and 2015 I took part in Virtual Read Aloud at ALA to celebrate Banned Books and this is something that I plan to add this year at my elementary school. In New York City, school librarians partner with NYPL through the MyLibraryNYC initiative. I work closely with Shauntee Simpson (@ShaunteeBS) and she set up a delivery of two cases (CASES) of Banned Books to supplement my large collection. I use a portion to display and then dummy-barcode the others and circulate them.
I am an avid fan of social media and P.S. 18 has a Twitter account (@PS18JGW), Instagram and Snapchat accounts (both PS18Library). I created a Snapchat geofilter for this event and will definitely do it again in 2017. It's super easy in Canva to create a transparent geofilter. I used these guidelines.
P.S. 18 also has a YouTube Channel. A group of students and I got together and created a compilation of images, video and music.
Banned Books Week is going to be bigger and better this year. My students learned so much about freedom and censorship through this activity. Knowing what I know now, I am going to build programming that hits the younger K-2 audience in a more profound way. I am not totally sure what that is yet, but maybe if you have some ideas you can drop me a line below. I hope this artwork, images and video inspire you to kick off Banned Books Week in a major way at your own school.
Banned Books Week is September 24 to September 30, 2017. Information from ALA can be found here.
This flyer was distributed to the faculty to make them aware of the "Free to Read" hashtag. #PS18FTR16 was used across social media.
Freedom to Read Poster
This design was enlarged and hung throughout the school building and used on FaceBook and Instagram.
I designed a Snapchat geofilter (see pic below) that ran for the entire first day of Banned Books Week. This is the ghost code for the library's Snapchat account.
For the entire day, while inside the perimeter of the school building, and Snapchat user could take a selfie with this filter as a transparent backdrop. See below for some pics from that day.
I created a large-scale Raised Fist poster (by hand) for the library. I created this poster in Canva using a scanned image of the artwork I drew. This poster explains the meaning behind the raised fist.
So two years ago, my library circulation seriously dropped. In my defense, I was being pulled far too often for non-library tasks and meetings. After a long conversation with my admin, last year I was completely left alone and allowed to do my program, unfettered and we ended the year at 16,000 circulations. My school is PreK to 5th grade with 515 students. I was THRILLED.
Please note that my school does not use Accelerated Reader (thankfully), so my statistics truly show a huge increase in students reading for pleasure. This make me happy.
I used Canva to make all of these infographics. I modified templates for some and created the canvas for the others. Each infographic was enlarged and laminated so that I am able to write on them with dry erase markers.
Having these infographics up really kept me and the students on track. Plus, they look really good hanging in the library. Give it a try!
This infographic is meant to explain what we do and why we do it.
This infographic illustrates our goal and makes is palatable to an elementary audience.
This is laminated so I write in month in the blue box and keep track of daily & monthly circulation using a dry-erase marker.
Progress to Goal
This is also laminated. As we reach a milestone, the ruler is colored using a highlighter to keep everyone on track to our yearly goal.
A (Weirdo) Librarian's Guide to Graphic Design
I can easily say that I am at my most happy when I am doing something creative. Having downsized and lost my large workspace, my desire to create is bigger than what my space allows, so writing and graphic design have taken up residence as my outlets-du-jour. They are both passions that take up little space and bring me endless joy.
I will say that there is nothing more glorious than the feeling I have when a string of words assembles themselves into a beautiful sentence. Sure, I help it along, but when it's coming, it just flows from seemingly nowhere for me. When that flow is interrupted (which is often), I auto-switch into editor and rework, rephrase, and rearrange almost all lines above. I just rewrote this paragraph twice…
Inner-voice-of-doubt on 10, I still love it.
I am fairly sure the only times the voices turn off and I am truly at peace is when I am creating art and when I am reading. I love words. Words are powerful and I hold them in a very high regard. I’m reading Silver Star by Jeannette Walls and I am so Liz, Bean’s 15 year old sister! “Liz couldn’t resist playing with words...and loved saying words backward-like calling Mark Parker ‘Kram Rekrap.’ She loved anagrams. And she loved spoonerisms. She was also a killer Scrabble player.” This explains me pretty well. Words are so important to me that letters and words are artwork themselves to me.
I found Canva about two years ago, then somehow forgot about it. I refound it last year, so you could say it was love at second sight. I have been carrying on a torrid love affair with Canva since then. I purchased the pro-account (I NEVER buy the pro account) and have used it as a postgrad student for presentations, as a librarian for signage and as FaceBook group admin to make Seinfeld and Golden Girls memes. Talk about one stop shop!
Falling into that magical space where nothing else matters is how I feel when I am creating graphic arts. The act of choosing a color palette and evoking feeling from carefully chosen shapes and words assembled just right is absolute Zen to me. That is when I am truly chill.
So Canva for me is pretty damn near spectacular. It has been a long time since I have been so positively affected by an app! Over the next few days, I am going to share some of my library designs with you so you can perhaps be inspired to check Canva out for yourself.