The Masked Stories Book Display, a guest post by Abbey Lynch
Today we have a guest post by YA Librarian Abbey Lynch, who created an awesome Masked Singer display.
When I was planning my February displays, I kept circling the idea of Blind Date with a Book. I love the concept- showcasing books by their descriptions rather than their covers. It’s always a fun display, but using the language around dating and romance can put off teen readers who might otherwise have a fun time unwrapping a mystery title. I kept coming up empty and then I saw this perfect tweet from Teen Librarian Toolbox:
That was that. I would get to do the display I wanted without the mushy love vibes, with an added bonus of a fun pop culture tie-in!
[Wrapped books with hand drawn covers of a pineapple, cowboy, skeleton, monster, Patrick Stump, and a lady bug with speech bubble captions are displayed face out on the end panel of library shelving.]
The first step was to make the disguises for the books. I cut a bunch of colorful copy paper in half, printed out some reference photos of previous Masked Singer costumes and set my Board of Library Teens to drawing. If I had a more robust teen group, I might have involved them with the book selection and wrapping, but for our group just the artsy part was the right fit. None of the teens in BOLT were Masked Singer fans, but they had a good time making up masks for the books.
[A colorful array of the various book disguises featuring a pink flamingo on top.]
Throughout January I started pulling books to wrap for the display. I pulled a variety of genres and tried to make sure the authors and main characters were a diverse selection. I also tried to pull from the top and bottom shelves where hidden gems can be overlooked. I wrote the captions using the flap copy, descriptions for Novelist, and my own Goodreads reviews. If I had read the book the captions were easier to write!
To get the books ready for display I wrapped them in ledger size white copy paper, cutting out a space for the barcode on the back cover allowing them to be checked out by our circulation staff or at self-checkout. I set the titles to “display” status in our ILS to make sure we would be able to find them if someone came in looking for one of the wrapped titles, and I also kept a paper list of the books I had pulled. After wrapping them I stuck on the disguises and captions, and put them out on an end panel in our teen area with a little description of the display.
[The back of the wrapped book. A book wrapped in white paper with a cutout for the library barcode at the top.]
I was nervous about the reception. Our end panel displays are a relatively new addition to our teen area and we’re still trying to build a culture where patrons understand that it’s encouraged to take materials from the displays. It was slow to get off the ground, but throughout the month 11 of the books were checked out! Something that helped was displaying a masked book at the circulation desk to get circulation staff talking to patrons about the display.
[A cool devil girl drawn on bright red paper with a speech bubble reading “I am about a girl who is inspired by the Riot Grrrls of the 1990s to stand up against sexist incidents at her high school.”]
I wasn’t on the desk when many of the books went home, but I did have the opportunity to talk to some of our regular teens about the books they selected. One sixth grader and Masked Singer enthusiast thought that the description didn’t quite match up with his experience of the book, but it didn’t deter him from checking out another! We also had at least one grown-up check out a masked story for himself.
This was a fun display that I will definitely be doing again. I might bring it out for another season of the Masked Singer, but I think it would also be a big hit around Halloween.
Meet Our Guest Blogger
Abbey Lynch is the Teen Services Librarian at the Brookfield Library in Connecticut. She spends her time hanging out with her dog Bowie, reading mystery novels, and watching BA Test Kitchen videos.
Filed under: Displays
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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