Saturday, September 14, 2013

Rebranding the Library

It was during our spring Twitter chat on #TXLchat about branding with Nikki Robertson, that I decided to try my hand at branding our middle school library.  I had only been the librarian for one year at my present position (but my 7th library in all) and I was fortunate to have followed an awesome librarian with an established program.  The library was in an older school with mismatched furniture, conflicting colors, but appealing accents pieces.  I decided to brand the library as Panther Paradise and transform this outdated set-up and decor into an exciting location for students to gather.  I  must give full disclosure that all pictures were taken with the same camera (my iPhone).  I cannot explain the difference in sharpness other than the lighter color walls reflected more light thus producing better pictures after the transition.

Our fiction section probably received the most dramatic change.  The collection far exceeded the shelving so we moved shelves, painted an accent wall, rearranged the books, and added signage.  The collection was arranged in genres and many could not find books, series were not in the same genre, and sometimes the same book was in a different genre.  I brought the decision to the students and they decided to add genre labels and rearrange in author order.  Interesting enough, this was totally their decision.

The nonfiction area, as you can see in the top picture, had too much furniture and needed some color. With a few less tables, a red accent wall, and brighter paint on the remaining walls it made the area look bigger and more inviting.  Surprisingly our biographies were not checked out last year.  I'm interested to see if the red wall will draw attention to this collection.

One of my favorite areas has been transforming a corner of the library that was not being utilized into a relaxing working/reading area.  The bottom pictures shows the computers to the far right that I turned into a seating nook with a new grey couch and existing chairs in the upper right hand corner.  We moved the free standing shelving seen in the bottom photo and it opened up the area to the rest of the library.  The computers were moved to the far wall with the Twilight posters, smaller tables were added to the area, and comfortable chairs were arranged for a casual reading area. The students LOVE this area.

Finally, I tried bringing in our school colors, fun accents such as the lanterns hanging from the ceiling, and some fun displays into Panther Paradise.  My principal was instrumental in getting the walls painted and the carpet replaced.  I took much of what we already had and revitalized it.  The paper lanterns were very inexpensive as was the black and white rug from IKEA.  It was hard work in the heat of the Texas summer without air conditioning, but overall it was well worth the effort of everyone involved. 


  1. Looks great! I love the accent wall and your final touches in the last photos. It has inspired me to take a new look at my library to see what can be spruced up. : )

  2. Thanks! It was hard work but well worth the appreciation on the part of my faculty and students.

  3. Congrats on your rebranding! I did this about 7 years ago with our high school library. In fact, I am responsible for a genre-fying outbreak across North Texas. *proud grin* You should really see your circulation increase and kids will even go cross-genre in their reading. Best of luck! ~Tammy Jo Burns

  4. Thanks. We are having a big surge in checking out eBooks which also has the genre option.

  5. Love the changes you made! I think we can make our libraries so much more inviting by really looking at them with a critical eye! By the way, I have a giant pinterest page of library design ideas if anyone is interested :)

  6. Thanks. I'll have to take a look at your page.


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