February 19, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Thrifty Library Hacks

Looking for fun ways to update your library, with a dash of whimsy? Take some tips from these resourceful librarians and teachers.

Above left: Jessi Casler, a fourth grade teacher from Thornton, CO, made these ­colorful seats for her classroom out of old tires she found on Craigslist. She washed the tires at a car wash, lightly sanded them, and applied one to two coats of spray paint. For more on this project, check out Casler’s Instagram.

Above middle: Jennifer Dowell, a teacher at Stuchbery Elementary School in Houston, TX, made these stylish stools by sanding and painting five-gallon paint ­buckets and upholstering the lids.

Above right: A few coats of paint can completely transform boring furniture, as demonstrated by this chair that got a makeover from Joy Scaglione at Sandhills Elementary in Swansea, SC. A little spray paint gave it new life.

Above left: Looking for an easy way to make a green screen that’s easy to roll up and store? Take a tip from Angel Wohel from North Buncombe Elementary School in Weaverville, NC. She painted an old map green, and whenever she or students are ready to film, they just pull it down.

Above middle and right: Create free, attractive signage by going to websites such as Lucidpress.com or Canva.com. To make signs that are poster-sized, open a saved image in Microsoft Paint change the “Page Setup” to allow it to fit to multiple pages. Do the same thing with PDF posters by printing out from Adobe Reader. The just cut, glue, and laminate for a professional-looking poster.

Above left: Is ugly or ripped furniture creating eyesores in your library? You can always do what iCrossing Chicago team members Kayu Tai and Brett Ekblad did: make over their furniture with duct tape. (“Chicago Office Decor” (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by iCrossing.)

Above middle: If you find yourself constantly putting furniture back to its rightfulplace in the library, here’s a hint:  take a picture of each area arranged the way you want it to be, and post the photograph. You can also create a furniture diagram using a website such as gliffy.com so that students have a clear guide to tidying up.

Above right: To brighten up windows in your library, Crystal Jahnig at Crockett Elementary in Brentwood, TN, suggests using tissue paper and painters tape to make fun, stained-glass style mosaics.

Katie Darty is a librarian at North Buscombe High School in Weaverville, NC. 

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  1. lisa kropp says:

    I love these ideas! Especially the tire!

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