Resource: Display furniture and equipment

Library Display Furniture and Equipment

If you have had a look around my blog you know that I love creating displays in our school library. Colourful, interactive, fun – whatever gets the books off the shelves and into the students’ hands. I am always on the lookout for new ways to present and create displays and I recently put the call out to my fellow librarians and asked them what their favourite display furniture and equipment was. Here is a quick list of things I and other librarians have used in libraries to create and present library displays.

Acrylic sign holders

These things have saved so much of my time. Seriously. I love them. To present mini or table-top displays or add signage I used to laminate my printed signs and then wrangle them into an upright position with blu-tak, rulers and bookends. It wasn’t pretty or fun (or good for the environment).

Now I can do pop-up displays in the shelves or add a sign to pretty much any display and it is so quick and easy. You can buy the acrylic stands in a variety of sizes and they can be used horizontally or vertically. So worth the money.

TV Slideshows

Using screens for digital displays is a popular and easy way to connect with students. Our library TV shows a rotating slideshow of new book titles, mini reviews, if-you-liked-this try-this recommendations, advertisements of library lunchtime activities, and photos of the students from both library and school-wide activities and events. Popular ways I have used the TV before are:

  • Readers of the week. Students filled out a form with questions about what they were currently reading and their favourite book, author and genre and entered them to be named Reader of the Week. I actually had to choose about 10 readers each week and included their answers and a picture of the student on the TV. The students really loved this.
  • Book trailers
  • Student reviews.

Ways I want to use the TV in the future:

  • Teacher Readers of the week. Same as for students above, but showing students what the teachers are reading.
  • Meet your librarians. A mini feature about the school librarians, what they like to read and what they can help students with.
  • More fun graphics, like giffs, and mini videos, showcasing new titles or great series.

Some ideas from other librarians:

  • Student made book trailers
  • Mini book movies with a theme, e.g. books to films or books with a green, red, blue, etc cover.
  • Advertisements for upcoming library events
Hooks and hanging ceiling

If you have the right ceiling, hooks and fishing line are fantastic for hanging display elements.

Art easels

I recently saw beautiful timber art easels being used in a library for signage display. So easy to move and pack and store. This is definitely on my to-buy list.

Acrylic or wire book stands
Most libraries have some form of book stands. We have the acrylic ones. They are so useful for on-shelf displays to increase the amount of books facing cover out, as well as on table-top displays. One library I recently visited used these stands to display fiction titles on every available space, including window sills, which gave the library a colourful flair and made sure these titles were always in easy reach of students.
Display tables

I use an old half-hexagon table below the entrance display board to display books relevant to the display. It makes it easy for students to grab a book and encourages impulse borrows. I’ve previously visited a library that used a number of tables spread out the library that were devoted to displays. They also had a great stash of colourful material to use as table cloths.

I’d love to add some small, low tables to my display stash. Coffee tables or low stalls, I’ve even seen small wooden crates with a topper added to create a low display space or collaborative area.

Bulletin boards

Most libraries or classrooms have some form of display board. Our library has several, and their velcro pin board backing makes putting up displays and removing them so much easier. Black is my backing colour of choice and it is easy to change that with rolls of display paper or poster printed images. Our library’s boards are all attached to the walls, but I have seen libraries using movable free-standing display boards to great effect, with the added bonus of working as both backdrops and dividers.

Display cases and rooms

This is something our library doesn’t have and something I’m currently investigating. I’ve seen library use enclosed display areas to showcase 3D displays and more delicate items, like artwork. This is something that I think will be useful, especially as I work to increase the displays we have in the library that feature items from other departments from around the school (for example, I’d really love to borrow one of the student-build robots from the tech department after they travel to their national robotics competition).

Wall cutouts and hanging boxes
Wall cutouts might be a bit beyond the reach of an existing library space (I know it is for ours), but adding boxes to the wall for displaying books is certainly doable, and something I’d love to try.
Display stand or set of display cubes

A freestanding display stand for new books or a set of display cubes (which I’m having trouble sourcing at the moment), is something I have seen used in other library and something I would love to try in our library. Storage when not in use and space is a consideration, though.

So, what furniture and equipment do you use for displays and what ideas would you love to try? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

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