Organizing Books

WM pink and gray Rev3

The other day Mikey brought home a questionnaire for his 4th grade class. It had the standard questions, most of which he was able to answer except for the Mister’s work cell phone. Later I took a peek at it and under mother’s occupation he listed Libarian [sic]. I told him (gently, nicely) that I’m not a librarian, just a volunteer, but he didn’t seem to care. He and Nico are under the impression my shuffling books on my hands and knees ups their street cred. I decided to drop it and enjoy it while I can because I most likely have until 6th grade before they start actively avoiding me in the halls.

I have a few pictures of the library to share! They aren’t of the whole library, but they give an idea of what I’ve been working on the last couple of weeks.

Library Tour

I’m not normally one for cutesy seasonal decorating, but the kids love it–especially the little ones. I have this arrangement placed so it’s one of the first thing you see when you walk in. Directly across from it in the K-2 section is a wibble-wobbly metal scarecrow also holding a welcome sign. I bought him last year and the kindergartners thought he was fabulous. (He’s actually kind of ugly.)

LT, before 1

This next picture is a before, as I’m sure you can tell. It’s a confounding display case (no glass doors). Last year we tried putting some little kid books there but it quickly became a cluttered mess.

Library Tour, 2

This year I decided to make it a California Mission display with little cards that share some facts about the mission. They are organized in order of founding, and I’m currently looking for something to hold up the cards. Maybe table number things used at weddings and conferences? We have all of the missions except one, and I have a whole shopping bag full of little people, benches, trees, fountains, etc. I’m still deciding whether to display them along with the missions and make it a giant diorama. Of course, if I did that everything gets anchored with Quakehold and the little ones get a lesson on “look but don’t touch.” I know that as a little kid I would spend hours looking at the little people. Please–as an adult I’ll spend hours organizing the little people! More seasonal decor on top of the counter.

Library Tour, 3

Library Tour, 4

Library Tour, 6

Last week I showed a before of the back wall, and here is an after. The Virgin Mary is old, chipped, and huge, but I couldn’t leave her tucked in a dusty corner of the library like she was before. I still need to frame the picture of Jesus I bought, and while the books standing up on end look nice, don’t do that. It’s horrible for the spines. I know you know this, but someone will think I don’t know this and will say “Don’t you know that’s horrible for this spines?!” So, yes, I know. I’m waiting for display stands.

Library Tour, 5

And, because apparently seasonal decor is my personal Schedule II narcotic, I put a little jar of fake sunflowers on each of the library tables. I originally planned to use fresh flowers because the idea of water and kids and books didn’t immediately raise the hair on my arms. I quickly came to my senses and bought the flowers on sale at Michael’s. The ribbon is my attempt to hide their fakeness. Eh.


Now it’s your turn! Feel free to share how you have lived according to the William Morris quote, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Made a plan? Cleaned a drawer? Bought a sofa? Tell us about it with a link or comment. A few guidelines:

  • Please link to a specific post, not a general blog address.
  • Your post must relate to your efforts to create an intentional home. I have a delete button, and I’m not afraid to use it.
  • No links to giveaways, please.
  • Let’s use this weekly link up as an opportunity to gather inspiration and motivation. Click links. Discover new people. Say hi and good job. I know I will.
  • //////////////////////////////////

    Jules Kendall writes about books, family, and easygoing simplicity.


  1. Sarah says

    Very nice job. I like the Mission display. That would have captured my imagination as a kid. Today is my first day as a volunteer in the school library. I am very excited, and so is my little guy.

  2. Susan G says

    It looks fabulous! Just the title (seriously – organizing and books???) made me happy. My husband says my favorite weekend activity is reorganizing our books. Not far from the truth Aside from the BOOKS, is it strange that this Jewish girl’s favorite parts are those missions and that lovely Virgin Mary? Great work!

  3. Nicole says

    It looks fantastic and I love how you’re injecting decorative elements to make it more comfortable and homey.

    An idea for displaying those Mission cards: Clothespins! Use 2/ card (larger opening on the shelf, clip part facing up) and tape the card to the ‘leg’ of the clothespins from the back. Not really how they’re intended to be used and not the world’s sturdiest, but its easy, cheap, and not fragile. :)

    Enjoy your newfound status symbol in the school!

  4. Elizabeth says

    I use these plate stands all over the store, for everything from place settings to small chalkboards. I love that they’re adjustable so they accommodate bowls as well as plates. I think they’d work great for books and cards, as well as any rotating displays you have throughout the library.

  5. Susan says

    The library looks lovely! All those little touches (flowers, the mission display, the Virgin Mary) are so thoughtful and make the room so welcoming and warm. I’m certain the children will all love library time, and the new Library Lady! Well done.

  6. Stephanie says

    One of the few assignments I remember from elementary school is the 4th grade mission project. We had to visit a mission, write a report of the trip, and create a replica of it. Does Mikey have to do that? With four kids, my mom didn’t want to have to help build four different projects (we’re too close in age to reuse the same one), let alone store them in garage. Instead, we made a mission cake out of store bought pound cake, complete with coconut for the grass, pretzels for the wood trim, and powdered donuts for the fountain. The process of making the mission was more fun for everyone involved, and our classmates loved it. My mom was happy nothing was brought home. I hear these days parents aren’t allowed to bring homemade goods to schools in fear of food poisoning and allergies. Sigh.

    Also, for the cards, you could use those angled or upright acrylic frames. I think they have them at Michael’s or online in bulk. Something like this but way cheaper, of course.

    • says

      Oh yes, that’s why I put up the mission display! It’s still the classic 4th grade project. I hear last year one girl made her mission out of cake and marzipan, but no one ate it. Our school allows homemade treats, but the public schools in the area do not. Sigh.

  7. Aimee says

    The library was by far my favorite place as a kid. I love your mission display! I can’t tell the size of your cards from the photo, but if they are small-ish, business card holders might work. You can get acrylic ones at Staples for a dollar or so each.

  8. says

    You are clearly having way too much fun.

    Love it all; love the Missions, love the seasonal touches — I think one of the few times that fake plastic flowers are totally acceptable and lovely. Don’t spend too much of your own money (speaking as somebody who’d be having way too much fun myself and spending way too much of my money)!

  9. says

    When we were homeschooling 4 th grade, we did all the California missions. Then we went on a 3 day trip and visited as many as we could. I loved 4 th grade! I miss those days, well, sometimes…

  10. Amy says

    I work at glassybaby and we attach the charitable giving cards to wood blocks (attached with double stick tape). The bottom of the card sits flush with the bottom of the block so you don’t even see the block behind it. Works like a charm.

  11. says

    That librarian ( I mean the other one, not you! wink, wink) must feel incredibly blessed to have you volunteering. You have things looking great!

  12. Janine says

    I like your flowers in jars, even though they aren’t Ikebana masterpieces.

    My grandfather is turning 92 on September 12th, and I brought him a wreath for his door in his old folks home. Now, the wreath is beautiful but I had hot glued on some wooden letters that I had painted gold to spell out his last name and AS SOON AS WE HUNG IT ON HIS DOOR, the letter E fell off.

    So he had to give me his super glue so I could fix my craft. I checked all my letters and for SURE the O was also loose, as was the Y.

    *dirty squinty stink eye*

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