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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Library Love: 10 steps, 8 days, $0

Box bits from boxed book collections
I love reading.  And organizing.  And learning.  Put those together and I have enjoyed many an hour volunteering/tidying at the school library.  After over a year of doing so, I can quickly tidy the library, alphabetize and shelve books (even in Korean!) and direct kids to good books.  Mmmm...  :)  (Don't make me manage the kids, though.  I don't get paid NEARLY enough for that thankless job.)

Now, as a social psychologist, I can't analyze your unconscious urges but I can sure analyze social environments. And our library is...kind of...low on visual joy for those folks who don't swoon at the mere sight of tidy shelves of books.  The elementary side got a great upgrade earlier this year (beanbags! colorful floor mats!) but the rest of the place looked a little tired.  And its dusty corners were filling with books needing processing/repair or a trip to the Big Book Beyond.

I longed to add a little happy to the place, but I had no budget.  But I did have (a) a near-idolatrous addiction to transformational reality TV shows; (b) decades of experience as a scavenger (see here, for example), and (c) after-hours door code access.  So, while our beloved Library Guy was away earlier this month, I initiated Operation Library Love. Here was the plan:

(1) Sort and move stacks of books-to-be-processed to a more discrete location.

(2) Move giant book display shelf/stand away from wall. 

And that's as far as the actual plan went.  But more ideas came to mind gradually, so here's what happened.

(3) Select pages from a sad old broken English dictionary; affix pages to wall (pages: free; white glue I already had + water = free "modge podge").   Recoat a few times for durability (thank you, Ashley!).

(4) Cut up the (free) boxes that come with many book collections (see top of page).  Arrange.  Rearrange.  Fuss with some more.  Frown. Take pictures.  Frown more.  Go home to sleep on it.

(5) Wake up with revelation - we needed a focal point!  Ponder.  Idea! Google how to make giant 3D cardboard letters.  Go to the dumpster to get cardboard.  Darn: Box Man had already come, so no cardboard.  Heart deflates. Voice in head whispers, "look in the dumpster again."  Voila!  Sheets of 1" styrofoam!  Heart re-inflates.

(6) Design and cut out styrofoam letters.  Spend much time cleaning static clingy beads from table, chairs, floor, wall, and clothing.  Google how to glue stuff to styrofoam.  Learn useful tips like "superglue dissolves styrofoam."  Ooh.  Good to know.

(7) Note on calendar that Library Guy returning to work in just 3 days. Assign each family member a letter and a primary color; force them to cut out appropriate pictures from dead books and arrange on styrofoam letters. 

(8) Use white glue + water to affix pictures to styrofoam.  Admirably restrain excessive cursing at glue failures, static-clingy styro bits, etc.  Recoat letters for durability.

The Scarlet A (hee hee - English Lit insider joke!)

The Green D (does that have an English Lit meaning?  anyone?)

(9) Trim and lightly sand edges of dictionary wall pages (thank you, Judith!).  Fetch glue gun from home.  Fetch husband to help stick letters to wall.  Stick book box pictures to wall. 
Making much progress the night before
Library Guy returns to work...
(10) Final touches: Move a mat and beanbags to make a cozy reading spot.  Take pictures and await Library Guy's return.  Hope he likes it.  :)

TA DA!!!