Taking Inspiration from Book Covers for Library Read-Alike Displays

Every month we change out our window display in the Teen Zone. Our goal is to have something interactive, like my Art in the City Scavenger Hunt Display I did this summer to correspond with our Summer in the City theme for summer reading. It was such a hit we did a letter scavenger hunt with letters taken from signs downtown that was also popular, and last month we had a display to match the first lines of books with their covers that did not go over as well.

For the month of September the library is having all kinds of events to promote Read Across Lawrence, a city-wide initiative to get everyone in the community “on the same page” by reading the same book: Winter’s Bone for adults and Cabinet of Wonders for kids. When brainstorming ideas for our window display, my colleague and I knew we wanted to do something that would tie in with RAL, but teens are in an awkward position between the two books. Winter’s Bone is appropriate for mature teens, and Cabinet of Wonders is most suitable for 8-14-year-olds. We wanted to incorporate both into our display, so we ended up doing two.

For Cabinet of Wonders, I made a “cabinet” to display book covers for similar titles from the YA section. The flaps have magical objects that hint at the book beneath, and when opened, reveal the cover and a brief synopsis.

We’re also giving away two advanced reader’s copies of Marie Rutkoski’s new YA book, The Shadow Society. We’ve also got a geocache scavenger hunt so the device is living in it’s own cabinet, too.

For Winter’s Bone, we got the idea to “hang” the read-alike book covers on a clothesline to play off the Winter’s Bone cover. I happened to have mini clothespins and twine at home, and a colleague was able to do the black cut outs. I even manged to make a corny pun in the banner.

We chose books about methamphetamine and girls in search of their fathers for the read-alikes, trying to pick up on the many themes in Winter’s Bone that might appeal to a teenage audience.

It shocked me that I had several kids independently come up while I was working on these to ask what I was doing and to tell me they were “cool.” No lie.

Some days, it’s hard to believe that I get to have so much fun at work!


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