Thursday, July 20, 2017

Save $1000 on Nonfiction Signage!

By: Olivia Rodney (@oliviacgm)
Rosebank Elementary School

Did this topic catch your eye? Are you interested in having amazing signage for your nonfiction section without spending a ton of money? Then, you are reading the right blog post. 
A little background before I provide step-by-step directions. ☺ Like many of you, I work in a school that does not have tons of extra money. And when there is money, library signage is not typically what a school wants to spend their money on. At Dodson ES, I created nonfiction signs in Word, backed them on different colored construction paper for each Dewey section, laminated them, and taped them on small book ends. This worked really well; however, there are several drawbacks to this option. 1.) The construction paper faded even when laminated, which made them look old and worn after a yearish. 2.) The small book ends took a bit of space and went at the end of the section rather than at the beginning. This was fine when I had a ton of shelf space and was able to space the sections out. 3.) The biggest issue of all was it didn’t allow for me to shift sections easily. If I wanted to move books and shift, I would have to create a completely new sign. This worked when I had a clerk and plenty of time, but that is no longer the case.
So when I came to a brand new library at Rosebank ES, I had to decide what kind of nonfiction signage I wanted. I contemplated printing up the signs I already created, modifying the sections I have here and be done with it, but that just didn’t sit well. The drawbacks for that method were too much. This created the Great Search for New Signage. In the Great Search I found what we all find….boring signs that cost WAY TOO MUCH. The one only one I liked cost a little over $1,000 for the nonfiction section alone. What was a poor librarian to do? Get CREATIVE! 

So now this brings us to my solution:
The first thing you will need to do is gather as many discarded laptop computer boxes as you can. The Dell ones your school receives are PERFECT. If you don’t have any, ask your IT guy. I bet they can help you gather some. Once you have these boxes, use a box cutter and cut them in half. This will fit the depth of your shelves perfectly (unless you have oddly deep shelves).  

Optional step – Tape top end to ensure it stays together.

Next you can either create your own signs or buy a package from Teachers Pay Teachers. Since I am super busy and don’t have has much extra time as I used to, I decided to spend a little bit of my (yes personal) money. The great thing about Teachers Pay Teachers is they have a lot of options for you to choose from. The one I went with is Magazine File Box Shelf Signs for $10  ( Print these signs out on thick paper or cardstock.

After I cut all my signs out I laminated them. I originally used our school laminator but the lamination creased in places and separated. Also, it wasn’t as thick and sturdy as I wanted it to be. A teacher at my school has a small personal laminator that uses pouches which she so kindly let me use. I purchased 5 mil laminating pouches from Amazon (yes with my own money again). Again like Teachers Pay Teachers, Amazon has a MILLION different options. This is the one I went with I highly recommend this one. It’s thick and has held up really well. 

Finally, I taped these on to all the boxes (you can hot glue them if that’s more your style) and they look FABULOUS. For a total of $25 I have the perfect nonfiction signs. The author of the TPT package included several blank signs as well as an editable file so you can create customized signs needed for your library. If $25 is still too much money for you, you can always ask PTO or your school to purchase these items. ☺ I hope this helps you in your Great Search for New Signage. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. I’d love to help you in way I can.

Before Pictures:

After Pictures: 

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