Library Display: Summer Reading/Dig Into Reading

This year, the theme for the Collaborative Summer Library program, which is used by many libraries across the country, is “Dig Into Reading”. For the children’s programs, that is–teens and adults each have their own related theme. I think it’s a great theme, simply because you can do so much with it–digging, underground, animals, even food. At any rate, when I first heard the theme, I started thinking about Wind in the Willows, and the Root Children, and gnomes. And then I made a display, incorporating all of those. It took a really long time and was a lot of work, but I also feel like it’s 1) one of the best displays I’ve ever made and 2) the display that is the most Maureen-y.

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Here we have a badger reading Wind in the Willows. Behind him, on the wall of his badger hole, are family pictures–Papa Badger, Mama Badger, and both of them with Baby Badger. There’s a cheerful daisy blooming over his head.
I started by sketching out a whole scene, on multiple sheets of paper. I knew I wanted lots of underground tunnels and holes, with both animals and fanciful creatures in them. I also added a couple of snails and some grasses and plants, to make things interesting on the surface.

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A beetle walking towards a clump of grass, while a snail goes towards a mushroom. You can see the beginning of the ant tunnel on the right.
Then I began to sketch and cut out the individual pieces. Most of them are cut out of multiple pieces of paper and glued together. There was a lot of cutting involved in this display, and I was extremely grateful for all those hours I spent cutting out paper dolls when I was young! With pieces like the mushrooms, I also made sure to leave a foot to glue onto the main piece of paper that forms the dirt. With things like the snail, that went over the paper, I left out this step.

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An ant tunnel, which I realize looks NOTHING like real ant tunnels. Also, a little bush that I had to make at the last minute, and a bird. There’s a worm heading toward the ant tunnel, and a yellow butterfly on the right.
Next, I used some of our wonderful supply of large paper to make the sky and the ground. I also found some lighter brown construction paper to make the tunnels. Initially, I had been thinking of something even lighter, but I think what was there turned out to be perfect.

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Another butterfly and a red snail. In the center, a purple root child contemplates a ladder–I largely ignored the question of how everyone would get in and out of their tunnels and holes–while a clump of pansies blooms.
Then I had to put everything together. This was a multiple day process and my coworkers were extremely gracious about putting up with things scattered everywhere.

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A cloud rains on a gnome, who shelters under a mushroom. He has been throwing raspberries down into a basket, while below him a Root Child and a shrew examine the storeroom. A worm is on the way to pay a visit.
There was a minor hiccup in the assembly process–I glued the ant tunnel down in the wrong spot and then had to figure out how to rearrange everything that was left. Fortunately, it did work, because the glue had set.

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On the left, a garter snake pokes its head out, while two ants march up the hill. A Root Child and a gnome are going through the snake’s back door, while another Root Child slides down a pole to the basement and a mole tunnels his way out.
Finally, I had everything glued together. Then I had to actually put the whole thing on the cubes. THAT was a fun process. (And by fun, I mean not fun at all.) It was a bit difficult to get everything positioned so the different tunnels weren’t going around a corner, partly because things had shifted from my original drawing.

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A gnome stands in the grass at the top of the hill, while a Root Child points out a mushroom to a butterfly. A water snake looks at a frog, who is enjoying the shade of a water lily.
However, eventually I found the right configuration and got everything taped on (double-sided tape, you are my true love! never leave me!). And that’s it!

Title of display: Dig Into Reading
Theme: Summer Reading
Time: Ahahaha–5-6 hours?
Resources: These for the root children: 1; 2; 3; 4; Google Image searches for the different animals and plants.

By Maureen LaFerney

My name is Maureen. I currently work as a library assistant in a public library in the Indianapolis area, and also just so happen to be a voracious reader. I frequently end up under a cat.

4 replies on “Library Display: Summer Reading/Dig Into Reading”

So much better than the lame “Here are some books with dirt” display our library did. My kids walk right past the displays all the time because they are just books on a table.

Thank you, Brandy! I think it really depends on the atmosphere at the library–both my bosses have definitely supported doing some creative displays.

I truly admire you for putting so much work into something that you know is only temporary. And you have a talent for it. I would hire you to design bulletin boards for me if I were still in a traditional classroom. (My least favorite part of being a teacher. Fortunately in 5th grade it doesn’t matter as much.)

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