Sunday, May 18, 2014

May: Student Recommended and Favorite Books

Back in April, during National Library Week, we had students write down their favorite books and also recommend books the library did not already own. Every May we then create a display (or displays) that feature all of these books.

To begin we took the lists of books students had recommended and listed as favorites. You might remember the sheets I created for National Library Week:

I then searched our catalog for all the books. If we had them I added those books to a resource list. The books we did not already own I added to a wishlist on Amazon. After I checked that the books were appropriate I ordered them and our wonderful parent volunteers cataloged the books once they came in.

The second step was to type up labels for each book that was recommended. The labels have the name of the student who recommended the book along with a sentence "This book was suggested by.....". I then printed up all the labels and stuck them on light green post-it notes that I trimmed down (not really necessary but easier to remove from the books once the display comes down).

One of our Library Student Assistants came up with the decor idea. She suggested silhouettes that had quote bubbles that gave the illusion that the silhouettes were speaking. In the quote bubbles would be sayings like "I recommended TITLE OF BOOK" or "TITLE is my favorite book." This was such a great suggestion. I did a google search and found several different silhouettes that I brought into Photoshop and sized to approx 6.5". I then printed out all the silhouettes and we cut them out. I made sure to make an even amount of male vs female silhouettes. I then created some quote bubbles in Photoshop and using the lists I had of student recommended books I typed up the different sayings (being sure to pick an even number of boys and girls). I then printed out the bubbles and wrote either a G or a B on the back of each so I could match the right gender with the right gender silhouette.Here are some blank quote bubbles you can add your own text to.
Once it was time to put up the display I put two silhouettes on each shelf and added the quote bubbles. For the top of the display I made two large quote bubbles that said "Student Recommended" in one and "& Favorite Books" in the other.

That's all there is to it!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Tech: 3D Printer: Makerbot Replicator 5th Generation

The library now has a 3D printer! It is the Makerbot Replicator 5th Generation; you can find out more about it here. This is not the first 3D printer for our school, but it is the first 3D printer for the library. I am unsure how many of you are familiar with, or have had experience with, a 3D printer. I had never had the opportunity to use or see a 3D printer, until I found out we were getting one. Before the printer arrived I took a day long workshop put on by Fabricastl, they are located in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you live close I highly recommend it. I learned about the 3D modeling program Sketchup by Google (you can download it for free). They gave a short lesson on how to use the basics of Sketchup, which I found very useful. Our school will be using Sketchup and Solidworks as our 3D modeling programs.  They also taught me a lot about the website Thingiverse which is an amazing resource for students. Thingiverse is a site that has pre-created 3d designs; you can easily print within minutes and they are free. Some of the files are even customizable. 

The Makerbot Replicator 5th Generation is amazing! When the printer first arrived the printer needed to have the build plate calibrated. Since the first time it was calibrated, it has never had to be manually calibrated. Once you tell it to print it goes through a process and it says it is "calibrating the build plate," but it never asks you to manually twist the knobs. It does it all on it's own (from what I have heard of the older printers you have to calibrate them yourself).
The printer has a built in camera where you can take photos of your work as it prints. We have found this to be difficult since the build plate sits so high at the beginning of the print job. If you are printing something very large I think the camera would be great once the build plate gets down about midway. There is a video feed as well that allows you to watch your item printing from your computer.
We went ahead and ordered multiple colors of filament for the printer. We have a clear/white, solid black, solid yellow, solid green, iridescent orange and iridescent purple.
With the new Makerbot program you do not have to export the Sketchup file to a separate program to prepare it to print. You just need it in stl format and then you can upload it to the Makerbot program. It allows you to place it on the build plate shown on the screen. You can resize it, chose the infill, chose whether you want to print it fine or regular, plus many more features. Makerbot automatically adds supports so you never have to worry about that.
You can do a multicolored print as well. All you have to do is pause the print job, unload the filament, reload the new color and press resume. I have noticed that changing colors works best on items that are thicker, the colors don't stick together if there is only a skinny surface and can easily be broken off of each other. For example: I printed this four layer bracelet: clear, black, clear, black, The first clear layer broke off, along with the initial supports.
I printed a "diamond ring" in two parts, each solid colors and that turned out great!

This has been so much fun to work with and the students are being so creative. Here are some pictures of what has been printed so far:

May: Steampunk and Inventors / Inventions Display

Did you know that May is National Inventors' Month? I had no idea (apparently it was just moved from August to May, you can read more about it here). I was trying to find something cool to display during the first two weeks of May and I luckily found out about National Inventors' Month, which gave me an awesome excuse to create a STEAMPUNK display!!

I have been wanting to do a steampunk display for a very long time, but we never seemed to have enough steampunk genre books to complete the display. Recently I have noticed that we were purchasing more steampunk books for the Upper School and the Middle School has always had a ton. I asked the Middle School Librarian if I could borrow five books for the display and she graciously said yes! Finally I had enough books to create an amazing display!

With the help of our parent volunteers and out student volunteers I created three displays. One is focused just on steampunk. The second is focused on books that cover a broad range of inventions through the years, or focuses entirely on a countries inventions.... nothing too specific. The third display was books that focused on specific inventors and/or inventions. The National Inventors' Month theme really inspired me to tie inventions in with steampunk and I could not be happier with the results.

For the decor I drew up a bunch of gears. I chose a different color theme for each bookcase/display. Steampunk had silver, browns and blacks. Broad inventions were dark purple, blue and burgundy. Specific inventions/inventors was hot pink, lime green, blue, yellow... (I really liked how the traditional steampunk with silvers and browns turned out the best).

Here are some templates of gears if you want to create your own (Our student volunteers were so helpful with cutting these out).

I then created two signs, one for the steampunk display and one that I printed out twice and used for each of the other displays (I would have made separate signs for each display but it was a lot of work and I ran out of time).

I placed the gears in groups throughout the display, I tried my best to match gears up so they looked more legit.

That is all there is to it. I hope you like the display. There are so many examples of steampunk displays out there, I found a lot on pinterest! Please feel free to use any of my signs/templates!