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Bulletin Boards

Page history last edited by Jacque E. Peterson 10 years, 7 months ago

Why do Bulletin Boards?


Bulletin boards are mini-billboards for "selling books" to potential readers, sharing information, or exciting curiosity. They can be a very effective tool for communication with your library users. Attractive bulletin boards add to the atmosphere of your library. They can be educational and promote reading as well as adding to the beauty and interest of your library. Display cases can provide an enhanced bulletin board with the addition of books and objects.


Ideas for Bulletin Boards 1


Start a notebook or file of ideas for bulletin boards. Possible themes include seasons, book games, library or school programs (Battle of the Books). A great idea for May is to use senior pictures and a map of the U.S. with yarn and tacks to show where students are going after they graduate.



Search under library bulletin boards, school library bulletin boards


Planning Bulletin Boards


Planning bulletin boards can be fun, as long as you plan ahead. It is advisable to set a schedule for changing your bulletin boards and plan your boards for the whole year. Get materials together early so that the actual change can be done quickly with little disruption to the library activities. Student or parent volunteers can help with bulletin boards, but you should make the decisions about the topics so they relate to study units, school activities or library themes.


Sources of Materials for Bulletin Boards


Materials for display boards include hook and loop, magnetic felt, paper, or miscellaneous items. You can let your imagination run wild when you are planning bulletin boards. Wrapping paper, wallpaper, fabric, calendars, clothing, costumes, and toys can be used as a focal point or interest element in bulletin boards.


[Tip: Take a theme calendar with 12 related pictures, use construction paper to "frame" the pictures, choose a few related books to list or display, and you have a nearly instant display.]


Teacher-supply stores and school supply catalogs stock a variety of pre-made materials. Library promotional materials are available from a number of companies including Upstart, Demco, and ALA. Card shops sell commercial holiday decorations that can be used for bulletin boards and displays. You may also make some of your own. An Ellison Lettering Machine will be helpful in making your own borders and cut-outs. Clip good ideas for bulletin boards from periodicals and newspapers. Some publications such as The School Librarian's Workshop include sketches and instructions for doing bulletin boards. Take notes or file the ideas you expect to use.


Choose items for purchase that can be used in different ways when possible. You will want to recycle all of these things. School libraries have the same students for several years so you will want to vary each year's holiday decorations. Consider exchanging decorations with librarians in other libraries and schools.


Order what you can afford. Commercial decorations in your local stores will be on sale after the holiday, so that is a good time to stock up on additional items. Many school librarians buy these items out of their own money as budgets do not always allow for decorative items. Parent donations or library fund-raisers might provide money for library decorations.


Managing Bulletin Board Materials


You will probably have separate holiday boxes in your storage area for seasonal items. Materials can be arranged by holiday, subject, month of the year, or season. Label each box clearly. Take a picture of the bulletin boards and displays that you may want to use again. Keep a file of pictures so that you can easily duplicate materials with little effort. Include a notation of the dates used. Subject-specific ideas may be best filed with the subject. You may want to add index access by format to facilitate use.

You can laminate materials to protect items for future use. You can also use plastic sleeves or envelopes to protect pictures and other small items. Large cardboard file drawers hold a great deal of miscellaneous materials. You can use one for each holiday, each month, or each season. Lightweight boxes can be stored on high shelves in your back room. Your collection of bulletin board materials will probably be for your own use. Be sure to discard materials when they look worn or when you are tired of them.


Bulletin Board Books 2


  • Bauer, Caroline Feller. Celebrations: Read-Aloud Holiday and Theme Book Programs. Wilson, 1985. ISBN 0-8242-0708-4 A sourcebook for read-aloud and activity programs which provides bulletin board designs to match.
  • Canoles, Marian L. The Creative Copycat, The Creative Copycat II, The Creative Copycat III. Libraries Unlimited, 1982, 1985, and 1988 respectively. ISBN 0-87287-340-4, 0-87287-436-2, 0-87287-576-8. Bulletin board designs on both seasonal and subject themes.
  • Jay, M. Ellen. Motivation and the School Library Media Teacher. Library Professional, 1988. ISBN 0-208-02171-X. Working bulletin boards which involve active participation from students.
  • Vangsgard, Amy. Simply Incredible Bulletin Boards. Upstart, 1998. Set of 22 new and original bulletin board designs featuring children’s authors and historical periods.
  • Mallett, Jerry J. Library Bulletin Boards and Displays Kit. Center for Applied Research for Education, 1984. ISBN 0-87628-533-7. Ideas for displays which motivate children to read and help them learn library skills.

Selected References on Bulletin Boards


  • Anderson, Cynthia. "Library Media Center Displays and Bulletin Boards." School Library Activities Monthly. v. XV, no.8, pp.26-27, Apr 1999.
  • "Bulletin Boards" (web links) on Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators (website). URL: http://school.discoveryeducation.com/schrockguide/bulletin/index.html [viewed 12/16/08]
  • Hauck, Marge, and Olivia Merz. "Distinctive Displays;" Instructor. v. 102, no. 1. pp. 59-60. Jul-Aug 1992
  • Baltimore County Public Schools Office of Library Information Services. "The Library Office" (including bulletin board web links. URL: http://www.bcps.org/offices/lis/office/admin/environment.html [viewed 2/5/09]
  • "Theme Section: Bulletin Boards, Displays, and Special Events." Book Report. v. 9, no. 4, pp. 14-33. Jan-Feb. 1991.
  • Vidor, Constance "Easy Bulletin Boards and Displays for School Library Media Centers." School Library Media Activities Monthly. V.10, no. 2, pp. 36-37. Oct. 4, 1993.


Based on information from: Sitter, Clara. The Vertical File and its Alternatives. Englewood, Colorado: Libraries Unlimited, 1992. pp.156-157.



1. Ideas submitted by Tiki Levinson, School Library Media Specialist, Delta Greely School District

2. Suggested in The School Librarian’s Sourcebook by Claire Rudin, R.R. Bowker, 1990. ISBN 0-8352-2711-1 with some additions.

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