Friday, October 19, 2012

Art in the Library

Over the summer, the art teacher at a local elementary school called me to chat. She said always displays students' artwork in the hallways at school, but would we consider displaying student artwork in the library? Her idea was that she'd take care of selecting students' artwork, preparing it for display, and bringing it to me at the library. My job would be to display it where it would be visible to library visitors. Each batch of artwork would stay up in the library for 5-6 weeks, at which point she'd bring me some new student pieces. She hoped more families from the elementary school would visit the library with the added "art gallery" incentive. It sounded like a great idea to me--a fun way to build a relationship with a local school, display the talents of kids in the community, and possibly draw in families of non-library users.

Our first batch of artwork has been up in our children's area for a little over a month at this point. When it came time to decide how to display the artwork, I opted for a simple setup: colored clothespins on string hold up the artwork, and a bent paper clip suspends the string from our ceiling tiles. Artwork is only displayed against a wall, minimizing the likelihood that it will turn and become unviewable. We have already learned that standard printer paper-size pieces display best, with larger projects working most of the time if they are portrait-oriented. Anything much bigger starts to curl at the corners. I haven't noticed too many kids coming to the library specifically to look at the artwork, but plenty of folks have commented on how it livens up the children's space. I'm excited to see what sort of pieces we'll get next!

Do you display children's artwork in the library? Are displayed pieces created in the library, or do you show children's creations from school or other places? How do you partner with schools in non-traditional ways?


  1. We have had a partnership with the local schools for years and they put up tons of the kids' artwork in the spring. The teachers (or parent volunteers - someone from the schools) are in charge of putting it all up and taking it down. Everyone loves looking at it! For the past couple of years, the schools have also held a reception for the students who have art displayed. It's held on an evening in the spring and we get SO MANY FAMILIES coming in that evening! The best thing is that we get lots of families who haven't been to the library in years, so lots of renewed cards and checkouts. We LOVE having the art at the library!

  2. Hi Amy and Abby:

    Firstly, I love reading blogs by other children's librarians! I'm sole charge of programmes and collections for 0-18 years old (+ parents & teachers) at a small library in Oamaru, New Zealand so your posts inspire me to try more things in my little world!

    I like this idea a lot. At the moment, the art gallery across the road from us has displays of children's artwork and we have some community art in our library. After reading your blog posts, I'm keen to see if we can get some art made by children in the kid's area of the library.

    A partnership that we have with schools that is a little different is during Maori Language Week (the first language of New Zealand). We get Kapa Haka groups(cultural groups that sing in Maori and perform traditional dances) to perform. So many of their family members come into the library including ones who have never come to the public library.

    Look forward to reading more. My blog is and I'm also on twitter @ukulelefi if you'd like to see what I get up to all the way over here :)