Library Book Display Ideas
A large prop and colorful background show off a display of holiday books.
Grab Readers with Library Book Displays
Library users are often overwhelmed trying to choose from the huge selection of books filling the shelves. Libraries that feature books in displays help overcome that problem. The potential reader has a manageable selection to browse through.
I spent fifteen years of my library career in Baltimore County Public Library. There was a heavy emphasis on merchandising the collection. When I became a library director in Texas, I trained my staff to display books in the stacks, to feature books near the checkout area, and to keep our many display racks filled with fresh looking material.
Merchandising and displaying the library's collection is not a frill. It is essential to get maximum use out of the materials and to keep your patrons interested and returning again and again. Show off the library's books, movies, music and other materials with effective displays.
I've collected themes to use throughout the year for your library's displays. Have fun brainstorming more ideas and keep your readers coming back.
What a Great Display Area
January Library Book Display Ideas
- LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE (positive thinking books)
A NEW YEAR, A NEW YOU (self-improvement books) alternate title - BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE. Fill it with books on losing weight, exercising, reducing stress, stop smoking and other common topics of New Year's resolutions. Alternate slogans could be CHANGE YOUR LIFE or MAKE THIS A BETTER YEAR
I RESOLVE TO.... (anything that fits with New Year's resolutions - get out of debt, be a better parent, learn to spell, read more, cook healthy meals).
I RESOLVE TO READ MORE (fill this display with non-best sellers that you want some attention for)
I RESOLVE TO READ GREAT BOOKS (fill this display with classics)
LOSING WEIGHT AND FEELING GREAT (anything for weight loss, including healthy cookbooks, exercising)
GET MOVING (sports, exercising, anything active)
KICKING BAD HABITS (stop smoking, biting nails, drunk driving, drinking, drugs, procrastination, overeating)
- A.A. Milne's Birthday - January 18 - feature all the Winnie the Pooh books
Lewis Carroll's Birthday - January 27 - feature Alice in Wonderland and his biographies
- READY FOR A MONEY MAKEOVER? (books on money management, getting out of debt, budgeting, thriftiness, investing) People often resolve to improve their finances in January, so set up a display with that theme. The sign could say MONEY MATTERS or MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR MONEY or DOLLARS AND SENSE. Fill it with books on budgeting, thrifty living, saving money, investing, getting out of debt and other personal finance books.
- THIS YEAR I WILL LEARN HOW TO... (fill the display with how-to book on hobbies, sports, cooking, all sorts of skills)
- READ IT WITH A BOX OF KLEENEX (a chance to feature weepers from the fiction collection)
- KICK OFF YOUR YEAR WITH A GREAT BOOK (pretty much an open topic for award-winning books or classics or favorites)
- HIBERNATE WITH A GOOD BOOK (pretty much an open topic, feature anything you like) Other options: CHILL OUT WITH A GOOD BOOK, WARM UP WITH A GOOD BOOK, or HOT READS FOR A COLD NIGHT.
- WINTER GETAWAYS (travel books for tropical places)
ORGANIZED AT LAST (books on storage, de-cluttering, housekeeping, filing, time management) A common New Year's resolution is getting organized. It's a great time to pull out all the time management books, home organizing and storage books for a display. Alternate titles: TAKE TIME TO ORGANIZE, BEAT CLUTTER NOW, CLUTTER BUSTERS, TOO MUCH STUFF?
How Often Do You Change Display Topics?
Take a Second to Answer the Poll
You'll Love These February Book Displays
February Library Book Display Ideas
- MAKING VALENTINES (Valentine craft books, card making books, calligraphy books, books of love poems)
- TRUE ROMANCE (biographies of Anthony/Cleopatra, Czar Nicholas/Alexandra, and other famous couples) alternate title - GREAT LOVE STORIES
- LOVE MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND (this can be adult fiction with a romantic theme or it could be books on relationships and dating)
- VINTAGE ROMANCES (classic love stories, old favorite authors)
- LOVING A VAMPIRE You should have plenty to fill this one.
- CHOCOHOLICS (candy/fudge recipes, fiction books with chocolate in the title)
- Laura Ingalls Wilder's Birthday - February 7 - feature all the Little House on the Prairie series and any biographies you have of Laura Ingalls Wilder. You can also feature similar authors/stories, like Caddie Woodlawn.
- WINTER READS (any books with snow in the title or in the cover design
- COZY UP WITH A GOOD READ (fill a display with cozy mysteries or just make it a general fiction display) Show a book with a muffler wrapped around it and a warm stocking cap on or show a reader snugly reading in a comfy chair by the fireside
- BLACK HISTORY MONTH (any books about black history, famous people, slavery) Keep in mind the school demand, so you don't promote books that you'll need when the students come in.
- BOOKS FROM THE BOTTOM SHELF (Could subtitle this, "Don't miss these." Feature shelf-sitters.) Browsers often overlook books on the bottom shelf, as they don't want to bother bending down.
- February 26th - TELL A FAIRY TALE DAY (besides fairy tales, include some biographies of Hans Christian Anderson or even Walt Disney)
- FAMOUS LOVERS (This can be fictional lovers or real people. Tristan and Isolde, Romeo and Juliet, Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, etc.)
Offbeat Book Display
Book Display Links for More Ideas
Send me your link for a display or series of displays to be included in this listing. Here's the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Read All About Merchandising and Book Displays
Of course, the books listed here can be borrowed through interlibrary loan. It's good to get at least one for the library's own collection so it can be used when training new staff.
Titles to consider are:
- Display and Publicity Ideas for Libraries
- Effective Library Exhibits
- Display and Library Promotion Ideas
- Great Displays for Your Library Step by Step
Slim Book Display Shelving - Use at the End of Stacks
What You Need for Tabletop Book Displays - or to display a book at the checkout area
A tabletop can hold a quickie display for something that's in the news today or display books that aren't sufficient to fill a regular display case.
This might be a good spot to display a sign like TODAY IN HISTORY with something fresh each day. For example, on December 7th, put some Pearl Harbor books on the rack. Click on the highlighted link above to see other historic events to feature.
You can put books between two bookends and place a small sign next to it. You can make a tabletop tiered display like the one shown below. If you have a handy volunteer in your Friends of the Library group, ask them to make the top part to put on one of your tables.
An Example of a Table Top Book Display
Bookmark This Page
You can add this page to your favorites or pin it on your Pinterest board. You'll want to come back each month for more ideas.
Look for Display Props to Use Throughout the Year
March Library Book Display Ideas - Themes and ideas for March displays
- WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH (biographies of notable and interesting women). Alternate slogans: WELL-BEHAVED WOMEN SELDOM MAKE HISTORY, WOMEN YOU NEVER HEARD OF (fill it with lesser-known women's memoirs)
- QUICK READS (short story collections, all the Chicken Soup and similar series books, minute mysteries)
- IRISH FICTION (novels set in Ireland or books by Irish authors)
HAPPY ST PATRICK'S DAY (Irish legends, leprechaun stories, Irish history, Irish travel books, Irish biographies)
GREAT IRISH STORYTELLERS (noted authors, Irish biographies)
- ARMCHAIR TRAVEL (all the books about scenic destinations in the US and around the world). Alternate slogans: AROUND THE WORLD IN A BOOK, LET'S TRAVEL, BOOKS TRANSPORT YOU TO FAR AWAY PLACES
- NATIONAL QUILTING MONTH (books about quilting and patchwork projects) or PIECE BY PIECE
- NATIONAL CRAFT MONTH
April Library Book Display Ideas - Ideas for April book displays
- AUTHOR OF THE WEEK (fill this with one author, change it when the books run low) This display can run all year without changing the sign.
- GET READY FOR GARDENING (books on pruning, planning the vegetable garden, spring flowers, landscaping)
- GREEN AND GROWING
- LET'S GARDEN
- APRIL SHOWERS - READ FOR HOURS (leisure reading of any kind)
- SPRING INTO A GOOD BOOK
- SHAPE UP FOR SUMMER (feature books on exercise, outdoor activities like biking, swimming, hiking)
- HAVE A HOPPY EASTER (use an Easter Bunny graphic and feature children's books on Easter, bunnies, chicks, Easter crafts and throw in some spring titles if you run low on the others)
- GET READY FOR EARTH DAY (show off books about conservation, ecology, green living, save the earth)
- HUG A POET - National Poetry Month (feature poetry books, biographies of poets and how to write poetry) I recommend separate displays for poetry for children and poetry for adults. The children's display could be IT'S RHYMING TIME.
Featuring Books at the Circulation Desk
A single or double book stand is great for featuring a special book right at the circulation desk where people will notice it as they check out their books. It helps to make some bookmarks that say CHECK IT OUT to tuck into the book. Make sure the CHECK IT OUT shows at the top.
Have a stack of titles nearby so you can easily refill the display.
No Room for Displays?
Try featuring a trio of books in the center of a round study table. It can still be used by readers and students.
Someone Else Just Read This Book - A Simple Display Idea
May Library Book Display Ideas - Themes to use for May book displays
- SPORTS AND FITNESS MONTH (feature books about aerobics, weightlifting, biking, hiking, and all sorts of sports)
SHAPE UP FOR SUMMER
- STAFF FAVORITES (get everyone on the staff to pull 2 or 3 books that they liked and put them in this display)
- LATINO BOOK MONTH (great time to feature Latino authors from fiction, short stories, memoirs). If you have a Spanish Language collection, then also set up a display of LIBROS EN ESPANOL.
- MOTHERS ARE SPECIAL (for Mother's Day, feature books about mothers and motherhood)
MAKE A GIFT FOR MOM (show off craft books for making gifts that would appeal to mothers)
- GROWING SPRING FLOWERS - (feature books about bulbs, flower gardening in general, growing azaleas)
- LOVE IS BLOOMING (have you noticed how many romance books have flowery covers? stock the display with these)
- PLAN YOUR VACATION (travel tip books, destinations, traveling with children, pets, handicapped)
- LOOKING FORWARD TO SUMMER FUN (books on swimming, golf, nature, crafts, children's activities, and gardening if you don't have a separate display on that)
- ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
- NATIONAL HOME IMPROVEMENT MONTH (show off books on home repairs, decorating, decluttering, landscaping, home projects, adding storage)
- BOOKS TO MAKE YOU LOL (humorous stories or joke books)
- FRACTURED FAIRY TALES FOR GROWN-UPS (retellings of classic fairy tales in adult fiction)
June Library Book Display Ideas - Themes for June book displays
- HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW - (this can be vegetable and flower gardening)
GREEN THUMB BOOKS -
GROW YOUR OWN FOOD - (vegetable gardening, edible landscaping, fruit and nut trees)
BEAUTIFY YOUR YARD - (landscaping, tree planting, shrubs, decks, paths, pools)
- AFTER GRADUATION - (advice books for young adults on finding jobs, learning to budget, independent living)
- DADS ARE SPECIAL (books about fatherhood, biographies written about a dad, parenting books about being a good father)
- JUNE IS NATIONAL ROSE MONTH (books on growing roses and flower arranging, stretch it a little with fiction books with "rose" in the title)
- AUDIOBOOK MONTH (feature all your audiobooks)
- To capitalize on a big name author, have a display that changes each month. Feature a different author with the words, IF YOU LIKE STEPHEN KING, TRY THESE. Fill the display with authors similar to the featured author. The next month, it can say IF YOU LIKE ---, TRY THESE and fill in the blank with that month's author. Here are lists of read-alikes.
July Library Book Display Ideas - Themes for July book displays
- BEACH READING (people often prefer paperbacks for beach reading, fill the display with light fiction), alternate title: READING FOR LAZY SUMMER DAYS
- COOKING ON THE GRILL (celebrate National Grilling month by displaying cookbooks on grilling and BBQing)
An alternate for this is OUTDOOR MEALS for picnics and grilling.
- GREAT OUTDOOR SPACES or ENJOY OUTDOOR LIVING (show off books on deck and patio building, porches, swimming pools, fountains, landscaping, gazebos, child play areas, etc.)
- ENJOY YOUR GARDEN (books on garden pests, growing vegetables, mulching, cookbooks for salads, vegetables and canning)
- I'M BORED - KEEP THE KIDS BUSY (books about activities for kids, crafts, trips, science, nature, games, camping)
- ENJOY NATURE - (books about visiting national parks, birding, butterfly and hummingbird gardening, wildllife, identifying wildflowers and trees)
- FAMILY REUNION MONTH - (books about planning a reunion, finding relatives, picnics, outdoor group games, even genealogy)
- URBAN HOMESTEADING - (books about raising chickens, gardening, growing fruits and vegetables in your backyard)
- HURRAH FOR THE RED, WHITE AND BLUE - Get this in place before the 4th of July. Include books that celebrate America and patriotic themes.
Keep the Display Filled
August Library Book Display Ideas
- COOL READING (fiction with snow on the cover or in the title, books on Antarctica, penguins, frozen desserts) Alternate title: COOL BOOKS, HOT DAYS
- CELEBRATE SUMMER (books on picnics, BBQs, swimming, beaches, gardening, baseball, camping, and other summertime activities)
- LEARN A LANGUAGE (CDs, books, and DVDs for learning various languages) alternate display title: GO MULTI-LINGUAL
- SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE (1st week of August)
- FIXER UPPER (home repair books, painting, plumbing, projects)
DIY (woodworking projects, garden projects, etc.)
- For some offbeat days check out this page on lesser-known days and odd celebrations in August. It gives you an opportunity to feature a book or two when you don't have enough for a whole month's display.
September Library Book Display Ideas
- AUTUMN FICTION (any novel with fall or autumn in the title, look for covers with autumn leaves or scenes)
- CELEBRATE LIBRARY-CARD-SIGN-UP-MONTH (fill the display with fiction about librarians and a mix of books for children about the library)
- September 19 - TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY (leave the display up for the whole week to feature fictional pirates and nonfiction as well)
- ALZHEIMER AWARENESS MONTH - fiction and nonfiction about alzheimer's, caregivers, choosing a nursing home. Don't forget biographies of people who had it.
- BUILD SOMETHING - Stock the display with project books, woodworking (dog houses, birdhouses, etc.), construction, landscaping projects.
- THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES - books on writing about your life or childhood, memoirs of famous people and ordinary people.
- BACK TO SCHOOL - school stories for children, books about adjusting to college, home schooling, adult education. Alternate title: SCHOOL DAYS
October Library Book Display Ideas
- CREATIVE COSTUMES (books on making costumes, include ones from the theater section and make-up area)
- SPOOKY READING (horror stories by authors like Stephen King, John Saul, etc., check for short stories too)
- HALLOWEEN IS COMING (include books on carving pumpkins, planning Halloween parties, decorating for Halloween, and setting up a haunted house)
- FALL READING (any fiction with autumn or fall in the title, you can mix in some harvest books on canning/jelly making, making scarecrows, New England foliage travel books or photo books)
- TEEN READ WEEK In mid-October. (feature popular titles for teens)
- GET ORGANIZED WEEK - The first week in October (display books on overcoming clutter, home storage, organizing at home or work)
- NATIONAL PIZZA MONTH - Display some pizza cookbooks, some Italian cookbooks and any fiction with pizza in the title, like Pete's a Pizza from the children's section. An alternate title for the display is ALL THINGS PIZZA or EVERYONE LOVES PIZZA.
- Don't forget quickie one-day displays. For example, October 14 National Dessert Day. Set up a table top display of a stack of dessert cookbooks and place 2 or 3 standing up next to it. Use your plexiglass sign stand to put your sign in and presto, instant display. Have it near the circulation desk so people will grab up one or two books before they check out.
Photos Shared by Our Readers - Click on any photo to see it larger
Take Advantage of Special Events - Let TV and Movie Promos Move Your Library Books
If there's a major news event (like a hurricane or earthquake), put out a display of books on that locale and also about preparing for a disaster or volunteerism.
If a celebrity is in the news, put up an impromptu display about them and their career. Any newsworthy event gives you free hype for a display. Capitalize on these (example: the Olympics, release of a major film).
November Library Book Display Ideas
- FALL PLEASURES (show off any pretty books about autumn, New England fall travel, pumpkins, apple cider)
- TIME FOR A MAKEOVER (this can be home makeovers, home staging, life makeovers, plastic surgery, weight loss)
- THINGS TO BE THANKFUL FOR (display feel-good books on family, pets, etc. You can put Thanksgiving books in with this or give them their own display.)
- TV TIE-INS (books related to television shows, TV stars, reality shows, fan books, books that inspired television shows)
- WOODWORKING PROJECTS (making wooden toys, furniture, whittling, carving, cabinet work, even home building)
- ALL ABOUT ANTIQUES (collectibles, price guides, history of antiques)
- PAIN - DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT (back pain, headaches, foot pain, other kinds of pain, treatment, management of chronic pain, prevention through exercise, safe lifting)
- GET THE JOB YOU WANT (resume books, interviewing, cover letters, job searching, job training)
- FIND YOUR FAMILY ROOTS (genealogy, collecting oral history, videotaping grandparents, writing family memories)
- ODDITIES (circus sideshow, odd architecture, unusual animals, unique scenery/travel)
- SPY STORIES or SPY VS SPY (bring out all the espionage fiction, don't forget James Bond)
- THANKSGIVING FICTION (Check Goodreads for seasonal fiction lists)
- READY FOR WINTER? (Books on winterizing your house, winter sports like sledding, skiing, skating, and snowmobiling)
- VETERAN'S DAY - WORLD WAR II FICTION (Substitute other wars if you run short of books, cover the WWII with Vietnam War or WWI, etc.)
No Money for Fancy Display Shelving?
Check with a local bookstore or Wal-Mart. Sometimes they will save cardboard book display dumps for you.
It doesn't hurt to ask.
December Book Display Ideas
The holidays give a natural batch of topics for displays, but keep in mind other holidays besides Christmas. Also, December is a good month for winter topics.
- CHRISTMAS BAKING (put out all the cookie, pie, and cake books)
CHRISTMAS STORIES FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY (holiday stories for reading aloud, classics like The Christmas Carol, anthologies of Christmas stories and poems)
CHRISTMAS DECORATING (making wreaths, lighting displays, decorating the tree, making ornaments, etc.)
GREAT CHRISTMAS BOOKS FOR KIDS (all the cute storybooks about the holiday, plus children's holiday nonfiction)
HOMEMADE CHRISTMAS (fill this with all the Christmas craft books and ones on making gifts, check the woodworking, cookbooks and sewing sections for this too)
MAKE A GIFT (variation on the Homemade Christmas display)
ALL ABOUT SANTA (any story that includes Santa and nonfiction books about Santa)
- DECEMBER HOLIDAYS (Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Christmas in other countries)
- HOLIDAY PARTIES AND FEASTS (party planning books, party foods, holiday cookbooks)
- National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day (on December 7th feature some books on a tabletop display about Pearl Harbor and World War II)
- Wright Brothers Day (December 17 set up a tabletop display about them and about the history of flight)
- LET IT SNOW (fiction books with the word snow or blizzard or winter in the title, books on winterizing the house, books about snowmen, skiing/skating/sledding books)
Set up a display called WINTER READS and fill it with books on skiing, skating, and any book that has winter or snow in the title.
How to Find Book Display Ideas on Pinterest
Combining Information and Graphics with Books on Display
I recommend changing displays monthly, so a topic like Hispanic Heritage Month works great for that.
If you don't have enough books to keep a display filled for the whole month, then make a smaller display for those items and change it once the display is depleted.
There's nothing more forlorn than an empty, neglected book display.
How Often Do You Tend the Displays?
Take a second to answer the poll and see the results
Book Display Racks Available on Amazon
You can make table-top book displays and display individual books on the shelf near their normal shelving area, but it's good to have a big display in a prominent place in the library. If the budget won't stretch to buy one of these, check with the Friends of the Library or a special donor. They love the idea of promoting books and you can place a small donor plaque on the shelving unit.
Books Displayed on Top of Shelves - In a Children's Area
Promote Your Displays
This short video is perfect for running on a local TV channel. Many cities or universities have their own cable channels. Find out if you can post video promotions on it. Then see who on the staff has some talent in staging and filming these short promos to put on the cable channel.
Note the display is on end-of-stack slatwall shelving.
Video Promoting Library Books
Odd Shaped Book Display Units to Fit Your Space
Make every bit of space in the library useful, by fitting in odd-sized racks wherever you can. Fill these with enticing displays of books and other library materials.
You're Lucky If You Have a Display Stand Like This
What Displays Are You Responsible for in Your Library?
Take a second to answer the poll and see the results
Make Reading Inviting to Children with Book Displays
Great Slogans for Summer Reading Displays - Use for book displays, bulletin boards or banners
- Get Hooked on Books (use fishing gear to set the tone)
- Books Take You Anywhere (use a world map for the backdrop on this display)
- Take a Backyard Safari - include books about insects, birds, small animals, tree identification, weather experiments.
- It's PURPLE Book Day (or Week)- include books with purple covers or cover designs with lots of purple in it. Also show off books with purple, lavender or lilac in the title. Have a volunteer search the stacks and the catalog for these. It makes for an odd book display with Alcott's Under the Lilacs next to The Purple People Eater, but the oddness of it appeals to children. Makes a very colorful display. Follow up with It's RED Book Day, and so on.
- Travel Back in Time with These Stories (put a variety of dates around the slogan; 1845, 1930, 1900, 1230, etc.) Feature lots of historical fiction from all different eras. Don't forget medieval, Roman times, and other very early fiction.
- Series of the Week (leave this display up all summer, just change the series each week) It's a good place to display the Black Stallion books one week, Nancy Drew another week, and so on. It's a chance to introduce children to a series and maybe they'll get hooked on it.
Banned Book Week
is the last week in September
List of Banned Books (poster available from Zazzle)
Celebrate Freedom, Read Banned Books
Make an eye-catching display by featuring some partially burned books and a slogan like the one here.
How to: Get a few discarded, worn out or damaged books. Set the book on fire (in a safe spot like the parking lot) then use the charred remains in the display case. Make sure you do this where no patrons will be aghast at the sight of their librarian burning a book and where you won't accidentally set a grass fire.
Ideas for Displays for Banned Books Week - for libraries and bookstores
- Banned Books Week: Display Ideas
AMERICAN BOOKSELLERS FOUNDATION FOR FREE EXPRESSION Banned Books Week Handbook Banned Books Week Display Ideas for Booksellers
- Banned Books Week | Good Ideas from Vermont Public Libraries
Take a tip from Vermont librarians last year, and try an easy exhibit to celebrate Banned Books Week, September 25−October 2, 2010. For more information, see the official ALA link. Here's a short list of some ideas.
Collect Catchy Slogans
Whenever you see a catchy slogan, note it down for future use in a display. Share it with other librarians here.
What would you like to see added to this webpage? Are you looking for movie tie-in displays, ways to promote certain sections of the collection or to reach a certain audience? Put your questions in the comment space below. (there is a time lag before the comment posts, it goes to the moderator first)
Evergreen Slogans for Books Displays to Use Anytime
- Favorite Books from Childhood or Reread a Childhood Favorite
- Psychological Thrillers
- Best Westerns
- Best Unappreciated Books
- Books That Make You Think
- Best Paranormal Books
- Historical Fiction That Guys Like Too
- Great Disasters
- Books I Wish More People Would Read
- Women Adventurers
- Best True Crime
- Books to Read Before You Die
- Overlooked, Underrated Books
- Books You Will Want to Read More Than Once
Where Do Visitors to This Page Come from? - Librarians from many countries
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2010 Virginia Allain