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Camp Read S'more

I believe that an elementary library should be a bright, colorful, and inviting place. Kids should come in and feel welcome there. One of my ultimate goals as a librarian is to create a warm and comfortable space; one in which kids look forward to visiting and want to hunker down for a while. Not all of my teachers love that the kids don't want to leave, but I certainly do!

I also want to create a space that is just a bit different each year. I want there to be an element of surprise in the library. I want them to wonder what their crazy librarian is up to now!

That's why I love decorating the library with a theme!  I can't move around bookshelves, as we would NEVER find what we are looking for. But, I can change the decor. Each year, I chose a theme for the coolest spot in school.

Last spring, I decided on "Camp Read S'more" and, over the summer, I did some hardcore research on camping theme decorating ideas. This research MAY or MAY NOT have involved only one site ... Pinterest. Personally, I believe that Pinterest should count as professional development. However, I have to say that I may have a Pinterest Problem. The first thing that I do in the morning is pin, and the last thing that I do at night is pin. I have yet to be found pinning in the closet ... but my husband is ready to have an intervention for me!

Here is a collage of some of my "pinspiration" research. A click on the collage will bring you to my Pinterest board, where you can find the source of each picture.

Now, comes the unveiling! Drum roll please ....

This fun log-themed front entrance greets the kids as they come in. I made the logs on each side of the door out of an 8.5 x 11 piece of construction paper. I simply rounded the right edge of the paper and drew squiggles to create the appearance of bark. The sign on the door was made with my handy-dandy Cricut, some scrapbook paper, and tent clipart from Whimsy Primsy.

I created this display for the bare wall behind the circulation desk. Each letter was created with a wood-type font and enhanced with more of Whimsy Primsy's great clipart and the fantastic images of Amanda @ After printing and laminating each letter, I hot glued some burlap type twine to the back to recreate a rustic type of sign. I love how it turned out.

In all of my Pinterest stalking, I fell in love with several different rustic looking sign posts; however, none of them quite suited the library. So, I created this fun piece titled Our Neck of the Woods. Each wooden sign post has a different genre with a description of its unique qualities. 

The sign-posts and this Back to Basics bulletin board greet my students as soon as they walk in the door. One on the right ... the other on the left.

As soon as I had decided upon a camping theme, I knew that I TOTALLY wanted to have a tree in the library. Really ... who doesn't want a tree in their room? So, a few weeks before school started, I started researching how to create a paper mache tree. I found THIS awesome tutorial on a blogger's site. It walked me step by step through the process. However, it took me WAY longer than I ever expected it to take. 

This crazy tree took over my house and my life for two weeks. My poor kids walked around it in my living room while giving me that look ... you know the one ... the one that says, "My mother is crazy." My dog eyed it suspiciously, and I feared that she would pee on it. But, with some patience and a whole lot of hard work, it made its way into my library. 

Every library has a special spot where ya read to the little people ... Mine has traditionally been called the Reading Corner. I know, you are utterly amazed with my creativity. Well, this year it is Campfire Corner. I made each letter to be about 5 inches around, so it's actually a pretty good size display. I REALLY wanted to make a fake fire with rocks and pretend flames, but I really couldn't seem to find a good spot for it. I could only imagine stubbed toes and tripped up kids. So, instead of a fire pit, I have a garbage pit.

What is a camping theme without a working campsite? There were SOOO many great ideas out there, but I needed to choose something that would work easily in the library. It had to be both kid-friendly and utilitarian, as I don't have much space for "decoration" only. This new space has become a favorite for readers. I love seeing the kids curled up in the camp chairs with their books. Nothing could warm a librarian's heart more.

This next display is MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE one! So simple ... but there is something about these bears that makes me smile everyday. I did an all call to my teachers looking to borrow some "realistic" looking bears for the year, displayed them on some rustic crates, and used simple black letters for the title. 

If you would like to recreate this display, click HERE for a .pdf file of the letters and footprints. Bears not included :) I didn't want to use all of my black ink on these letters, so I simply created an outline of each letter. Then printed, cut, and traced around the outline onto a sheet of black paper. I used a white colored pencil to trace ... worked like a champ! I then printed the paws on both white and brown paper. Don't tell me that you aren't in love with my bears too!!

Thanks for stopping by my campground! If you would like to recreate any of the displays that you see above on a maroon background, swing on over to my TpT store where you can grab the bundle! Click on the image below to be instantly transported!

Off to read smore ....