Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Summer Reading Crunch Time Décor!

Summer Reading Crunch Time!

By now, you should have a pretty good idea of what your SRP program for 2023 looks like. You’ve got your performers lined up, got your giveaway items and prizes. However, let’s say you are like me and are biting off that proverbial chew of decorating the children’s section. I am in the lucky position of having two whole small branch libraries that I get to help decorate for summer reading; that was sarcasm.

That aside, it occurred to me to write a bit about the creative process. My painting students are frequently treated to it, so I thought of you, the audience at home.

It’s Always a Process and Frequently Involves Cardboard

This process gives a few options and rely on just a few factors. Here’s a flowchart for you to guide you!

Diagram courtesy of Jonathan Dolce

If you dawdle and or procrastinate, here is what your creative process will look like:

Diagram courtesy of Jonathan Dolce

So, yeah…cardboard

As I was leaving my warehouse job, I shouted, “I’ll never work with cardboard again!” The universe of course has an inimitable sense of humor.

Remember, you are only limited by your resources, so get lots!

One cardboard dork. Photo courtesy of James “Tony” Jarrell

Paint…lots of…Paint

You will need paint. Any kind of paint will do. Understand, though, there are some differences:

  • tempera — okay for paper, looks like a toddler did it (no offense to toddlers), looks like poo on cardboard
  • acrylic — excellent choice. Get some.
  • house paint — almost the mack daddy choice. Get samples at discount prices at your local hardware store
  • enamel — THE mack daddy of paints. Stinks, hard to clean up, but looks amazing
  • spray enamel — convenient, stinks, hard to clean up mistakes, coverage is mostly okay
Sir Mixes-a-lot. Photo courtesy of James “Tony” Jarrell

Tools of the Trade

Band-aids? I don’t need no stinkin’ band-aids — Lefty Malone

Tools I use regularly. Lots of sharp things and lots of sticky, stinky things.

Tools of the trade sans band-aids. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Dolce

And of course, guns…lots of…guns. That is to say, heat gun, glue gun…and a hair trigger…or a lack of hair if you look closely:

I recommend keeping a glass of ice water close for sudden burns; Photo courtesy of James “Tony” Jarrell

Interpreting All Together Now

For the purposes of this discussion, we’re interpreting All Together Now as multiculturalism.

So, I’m turning the library into themed areas. The teen section is referencing Japan:

Tony-san’s Japan — the sign says “Library”; I painted it; Photo courtesy of James “Tony” Jarrell
Tony; Photo courtesy of James “Tony” Jarrell

Children’s Section will reference nine (9) countries around the world. Here’s Mexico so far:

One Mayan step pyramid under construction; Photo courtesy of Jonathan Dolce

Norway under construction. No, it is not a Pizza Hut with an IHOP on top:

Norway under construction; Photo courtesy of Jonathan Dolce

Wall of Presidents

Wall of Presidents — with a few missing, but we’re working on it; Photo courtesy of Jonathan Dolce


And of course, I fully plan on peppering the library with lots of visual references to other countries and cultures. Thankfully I also love to shop at Good Will. Here is my latest haul:

More to come! – Photo courtesy of Jonathan Dolce

I am here for you

These five words I swear to you. Email. Call. I’ve got your back.

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