Blogger Abby Johnson

The Underwater Library

It’s summer. For children’s librarians in a public library, this means only one thing – Summer Reading Club (SRC)! This summer we’re Making a Splash at my library, so we’ve decorated our department like it’s underwater and I thought I’d share some pictures today.We wanted to make the decorations impossible to miss so that everyone would know that something fun is going on at the library this summer.


Here you can see our Summer Reading Club sign-up table at the front of our department. For the first few weeks of SRC, we have this table set up to ease the load at our reference desk. After the sign-ups slow down a bit, we’ll take down  the table.

We hung blue crepe paper from the ceiling to simulate water. It’s simple, but people get it. And all over the department, we hung paper fish and sea creatures. We have a few fancy fish that we bought at the local educational supply store, but most of our fish were made (very easily and cheaply) out of paper plates!


The best part about the fish? We got the whole library involved in making them. We put paper plates and crayons in the staff lounge along with a sign saying, “Need a break? The Children’s Department needs your help!” People got a kick out of coloring on their breaks and we got tons of colored paper plates to turn into fish. Not only did it make life easier for my staff (when we had sooo many other things to do), but people in other departments felt some ownership in our program, making the whole library a little more connected.

(Bonus? This is a VERY simple and cheap craft that can be done by all ages – perfect for outreach events!)

Of course, we put up a bulletin board with an under-the-sea theme.


And we’re having the kids help us decorate, too! When kids sign up for the Summer Reading Club, we invite them to put their name on a fish or a frog and put it up on our walls. Kids love showing that they’re a part of something and it brightens up the department.


And there you have our SRC decorations. How about you? Did you decorate your department this summer?

— Abby Johnson
Children’s Manager
New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
New Albany, IN


  1. Laura

    This would be a really fun theme to do in my library – the children’s room used to be a swimming pool!

  2. elizabeth davis

    we have the great pleasure of having an artist on staff and she made these great fish that are floating in our lobby.

  3. Kara Cervelli

    Super decorations! Oh I wish we could hang things from the ceiling. Our local fire codes prevent us from doing so. Instead we paint the windows and hang decorations on the walls. I like how you got the staff involved.

  4. Keesha

    One of my very talented coworkers made about 40 fish from recycled materials and they are hanging from the ceiling in our children’s area. They’re so cool and really grab people’s attention. Here’s a link to some pictures, although they look more fabulous in person

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