Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

On Display: Create a Space for Your Youngest Library Patrons

In my library’s children’s area, we have a small glass display case at our desk with two shelves that looks like this:

DSC00787[1]

Each month, we let kids in up to 5th grade sign up to come into the library and share their favorite collection with the community (like the Mixels in the photo above). They get to set everything up in the display case themselves, which for most of them, is a big deal. (They get to come behind the desk where the librarians work!) Then a staff member interviews the kids about their collections which is used to create a flyer of the responses. These flyers are then displayed in an acrylic holder next to the display case.

Here are the questions we ask:

1. Child’s name and age

2. When did you start this collection?

3. How did you become interested in collecting this item?

4. Why do you like collecting this item?

5. What is your favorite piece in the collection?

6. Anything else to add about your collection?

7. Any other hobbies/interests?

8. School/Grade

Here are a couple of examples of the flyers I’ve created (Note: Identifying information has been removed):

Chloe

Sam

It’s always neat to see all of the things that our small patrons collect. We’ve had all kinds of different collections, from Barbies to baseball bobble-heads to rocks (although we most frequently get collections of cars or anything LEGO).

We take sign-ups twice a year on December 1st and January 1st. Siblings can sign up together and share the case if they are willing to do that.

It’s great because not only do the kids who sign up for the display love it, but the other kids who come in to the library get excited to see what’s new in the case each month. Plus, it takes very little preparation and implementation from the staff. My main duties as coordinator of the display case are:

  • Calling families to set up appointments to either pick up or set up their collection
  • Interviewing the participants
  • Creating a flyer of the responses

You can use any kind of display area in your library to do something similar, whether it’s a big case like ours or even as simple as the top of a shelving unit.

Do any of you do something like this at your library? Feel free to share in the comments!

Kim Castle-Alberts is the Chair of the School-Age Programs and Services Committee. She is also a Youth Services/Emerging Technologies Librarian at the Hudson Library & Historical Society in Ohio. You can find her on her blog, on Twitter, or at kim.alberts@hudson.lib.oh.us. 

All photos are courtesy of the Hudson Library & Historical Society.

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