Sunday, November 10, 2013

School Library Gets Vintage Makeover

I'm a public school librarian.  Three years ago I moved to my current position at a middle school from the neighboring elementary school where primary colors and crayoned art were splashed throughout the halls.  Though neat and clean with a great collection, I found my new library a little underwhelming with its blank, grayish-white expansive walls.  Certainly the unicorns, rainbows, dinosaurs, and superheroes weren't going to pass as acceptable decor in this new land of tweens and teens, but clearly something had to be done!

Public school library budgets are tight, leaving next to nothing for decorative items deemed unnecessary.  So as it is with teachers everywhere, I paid for non-essentials myself.  I had to be frugal. But, because I'm a junker I knew I could find awesome decor that was neither cheap nor ugly.  The end result - drab and uninspiring to interesting and visually appealing!  

Welcome to the library - home of great books and odd collections! 


A step through the front doors is like a step back in time!  If forced, I'd call the decor
Retro Fab Teen Leisure!
Sounds sorta cool...right?  Thankfully my students think so.
Old LPs and 45s pepper the walls, while vintage train cases, perfect for any teen sleep-over, nest inside the bench seating.

I selected LPs with whimsical content, great vintage color, and iconic images

Assorted board games, sports equipment, musical instruments, and few odds and ends adorn the walls. 

In here, there is a place for everything and everyone! 

The quirky, whimsical collection of junk finds brings a nice balance to the dominant angular shelving and the rigid, systematic books arranged obediently on the shelves. 

Now, the library's atmosphere is playful, fun, and relaxed!

Library signage made from paint-washed wooden fence pickets compliments the vintage decor perfectly.  

Captivating window displays incorporate junk finds as well.  

Silver-plated trays and simple, black plate chargers post library service stats with class and style.

Old movie reels with "paper film" made from a discarded book remind students where many new movie releases originated.

And a collection of relics serve as a timeline of past technologies.

Library displays don't always have to be about books; they just need to be interesting - creating wonder and inspiring curiosity.

What was once a big empty blank space now displays random junk finds that somehow, when put together, perfectly represent that reading and learning open up a world of possibilities.

And after all isn't that exactly the message we want our students to receive.

All photographs taken by.


  1. Who would not want to come into this place and be inspired by all your whimsical objects to find a book and read all about them! I know I would.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Paulette! I love it.

  3. You know people would pay you to make their libraries this cool!

  4. My aunt Margaret (math teacher at your school) was talking about your library redo this weekend -- it looks awesome!!

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Amy! Your aunt Margaret is pretty awesome herself. Stop by any time.


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