Great Library Displays and How Effective They Are

Lucas Maxwell


Lucas Maxwell has been working with youth in libraries for over fifteen years. Originally from Nova Scotia, Canada, he's been a high school librarian in London, UK for over a decade. In 2017 he won the UK's School Librarian of the Year award and in 2022 he was named the UK Literacy Association's Reading For Pleasure Teacher Champion. He loves Dungeons & Dragons and is the author of Let's Roll: A Guide for Setting up Tabletop Roleplaying Games in Your School or Public Library. You can follow him on Twitter and on his blog.

Creating great library displays can be tough, and I’ll admit that I’m not the best at it. I’m not crafty or organised enough to ensure that my displays are rotated on a timely basis. To sit and think of a display is really tricky in my opinion, as every time I try to make one I think that I’m failing at it and not doing as well as other people do.

That’s where social media comes in. By using Twitter and Instagram, I feel you can find some pretty amazing library displays ideas that won’t take up too much time or kill your budget.

Using hashtags like #LibraryDisplays can be just one way to find some great ideas to keep library displays going in your school or public library space. I’ve included a bunch below with some general discussion around them.

Among Us Display

Doing displays on video games or memes can be tricky. Trying too hard in front of teens and middle graders is a death sentence. I was concerned when I made one called “Books to Read if You Love Fortnite” but I was pleasantly surprised with that one as well. I also feel that this one works because it is slightly more subtle and allows the books to really jump out. This display has been very popular with students. I have it right by the door as they come in, and it has often stopped them in their tracks.

Reading Is Display

Using sticky notes is a great way to make a colourful displays. I haven’t done one of these in a while but there are two things going for it in my opinion. It is nice and bright and it incorporates student voices. I love having students contribute to a library display, it helps remind everyone that the library is their space and their voice matters.

Recommended Reading Display

This one takes time but is something you can add to and change over time, making it a more permanent display. I created a version that is “Books to Read Before You Leave Glenthorne” and to be honest, I’ve rotated a few out here and there and added more to it. It’s on the wall by the computer area and also gets a lot of attention. Many students have approached it, scanned it with their finger in the air, trying to see if there is a cover that jumps out at them. I really love seeing this.

Staff Shout Out Display
Photo Credit: Emma Suffield

This is another great use of sticky notes. This time it’s not to promote books but to simply allow students to say nice things about their teachers. Teachers are busy, students are busy, often long interactions in low numbers are only happening when there is something negative going on, this is a nice way to combat this. It’s an easy idea to help students share some love.

Fake News Display

This one got a lot of attention, not only because I included a cartoon of He Who Won’t Be Named. I made this small display around the time I was running my library lessons on misinformation and responsible researching. I used it to highlight our new non fiction books and it was really popular.

Read Woke

It’s okay for library displays to have a message, in my opinion. I wanted this one to stand out and it did. Read Woke is an idea created by Cicely Lewis, an amazing librarian who has created some amazing initiatives. I wanted to make a display to highlight the amazing range of stories by diverse authors in our library and to bring to light important societal issues.

Library displays have the ability to shout very loudly in a library without actually saying anything. They jump out at you, demand your attention, and make you consider things outside of your own headphones.