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Three library themes to supercharge student learning

By Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist

“A good library will never be too neat, or too dusty, because somebody will always be in it, taking books off the shelves and staying up late reading them.”
– Lemony Snicket

School libraries are the beating hearts of so many schools. They are places where students can unearth newfound interests, learn more about something they have been just itching to explore further, or simply unwind with a good book. While libraries provide space for all this, they would be nothing without the incredible people working in them. We asked our librarians in the Renaissance Royals community how they decorate their libraries and inspire student learning. Below are just a handful of the wonderful responses we have received.

1. Grab a book and saddle up, pardner

Virginia Wiedenfeld, a school librarian at a Catholic school in Texas, brainstorms with students’ parents to come up with different themes at the beginning of each school year. Together, Virginia and some of the parents landed on “Saddle Up and Read” as the theme for this year. To decorate, parents brought in old cowboy boots and straw to make centerpieces throughout the school’s library. In addition, random Wild West trivia was scattered around the room. Virginia says, “We also gathered up some bandanas and shelf markers that say, ‘Round Up Some Great Books!’” Students have the opportunity to earn Renaissance Accelerated Reader certificates if they are one of the top point earners over the summer. Each one says, “Great job, pardner,” and includes free Whataburger coupons from the San Antonio Spurs basketball team. How does Virginia tie it all together? “I dress up and wear a vest saying, ‘Reading Sheriff!’”

2. Superheroes, assemble!

Krystal Dozier, a media specialist in Alabama, transforms her library into a place for superheroes to gather. Throughout the library, there are posters depicting different superheroes motivating students to read, superhero wreaths hanging on the door, and superhero quotes dangling from the ceiling. In fact, Krystal’s reading chair is decorated with a Wonder Woman theme! Outside the library, there’s a display showcasing the names of students who reach their Accelerated Reader goals.

3. A trip to the magical land of Oz and beyond

Mary Meyer, a school librarian in Missouri, rotates themes. In the past, her library has done The Wizard of Oz (complete with a yellow brick road and ruby slippers), The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (with coats hanging in the entrance to the wonderful library of Narnia), Dr. Seuss, Winnie-the-Pooh, superheroes, Captain Underpants, and much more. Mary says, “I pull out books that pertain to the theme and leave them up until Halloween, when I change the library to a holiday theme complete with book displays. I usually get help from older kids. I do it on a very low budget and get a lot of my inspiration from Pinterest. Then I go ahead and recycle themes after a few years.”

From a Wild West theme to Captain Underpants, you can spruce up your school library and encourage student learning in a variety of ways. Does your library incorporate different themes throughout the school year? If so, what themes have you used? Are you planning to try some of the themes listed above? Let us in the comments below, post on our Facebook, or tweet us at @RenLearnUS!

P.S. Want to join the conversation? Click here to request an invite to the Renaissance Royals, the exclusive community for Renaissance educators.

Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist
Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist
Ken Stoflet is the communications specialist at Renaissance. He has been with the company since 2015 and can be found crafting anything from a press release to a tweet. In his spare time, Ken enjoys spending time with his friends, lifting, and making trips to the Frozen Tundra to cheer on the Green Bay Packers.


  1. RENEE P GRAHAM says:

    I love this quote-“A good library will never be too neat, or too dusty, because somebody will always be in it, taking books off the shelves and staying up late reading them.”
    – Lemony Snicket
    So. Very. True.

    • Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist Ken Stoflet, Marketing Communications Specialist says:

      It’s one of my favorite quotes. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Renee!

  2. Mario says:

    Our district picks a theme each year and the whole school, including the library, incorporates it in our classroom and all around the school. We have done a western, 70’s, superhero, military and this year is Paris theme. The whole school really enjoys these themes and enjoy attending a school where the whole school is decorated in that theme.

  3. Amber AuBain says:

    Our media coordinator always has the library decorated to match the holidays and has books on display that also go along with the theme. She is awesome!

    • Liana Ferrer says:

      Our media specialist does holiday decorating as well. However we go all out for the book fair.

  4. Lisa Capon says:

    Thanks for the great ideas!

  5. Shelly Flud says:

    We have book themes. For example, the whole school is reading Fish in a Tree right now and there is a bulletin board for students to write on a fish telling what talents they have. There is also a Sketchbook of Impossible Things that students can check out and add to.

  6. Andrea says:

    These are such creative ideas to give young learners a love a reading!

  7. Trinette Frazier says:

    I love the superhero theme. It is also our theme for the year, and I will incorporate some of these ideas into what I currently have.

    • Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist Ken Stoflet, Marketing Communications Specialist says:

      Very cool, Trinette! How do you decorate the library?

  8. Jason says:

    Our library was built in 1930s and has very high walls with little wall space. Decorating the library is something I struggle with. Good to see creative stories like this.

  9. Jody Steinhaus says:

    I agree that the library is the hub of the school. It needs to be inviting & themes are a great way to grab a child’s attention right away. I LOVE the ideas that were shared. Thank you.

  10. Laura says:

    Sounds like fun! I will be forwarding this on to our Librarian and see if we can get this going in our school

  11. Virginia Wiedenfeld says:

    Thank you for publishing what we are doing at Notre Dame!

    • Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist Ken Stoflet, Marketing Communications Specialist says:

      You’re welcome, Virginia! Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas.

  12. Virginia Travis says:

    Our librarian does a theme for the bookfair twice a year and decorates the outside of the library.

  13. carly says:

    Our school theme this year is super heroes and our library is decorated with “power words,” which also go with our vocabulary theme. So a variety of words are displayed within the comic-like zig-zags like used in the original Batman “Pow!” but including words like “Brainstorm” and “Edit”

  14. Rita Platt says:

    Super fun ideas! Thanks LMS peeps!

  15. P R says:

    Right now for the autumn season, our librarian asked the teachers to tell her their favorite book. She created a copy of that book’s cover and put the teacher’s yearbook picture inside of the book cover. This is to show students that YES YOUR teachers read for fun, too! 🙂 The kids really get a kick out of this board. She changes the saying on the board each month as well as the teachers and their favorite books.

  16. B Curtis says:

    Those are awesome ideas to get kids excited about reading. I love being a guest reader. I am sure every community has people like me that would love to share their love of books and stories with children. I remember as a child loving a certain substitute because I knew she would bring her really old copy of Little Liza Lizard and would read us a story out of that book. It was probably a book from the early 1900s! But now I am in my 50s, and I still remember being excited for that sub to come!

    • Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist Ken Stoflet, Marketing Communications Specialist says:

      What an awesome memory. 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

  17. Alecia Walkuski says:

    Our library at the high school has very comfy seats to invite students to sit and read for a bit.

  18. Sandra CUnningham says:

    Love the super hero theme! So easy and ALL students love it. Super readers!

  19. Ashton Reynolds says:

    These are some great ideas that I will be sure to share with our media specialist!

  20. Deb says:

    We have a theme every year. This year it is superheroes.

  21. Amy says:

    Loved the info graphic!

  22. Angela Domond says:

    I love the idea of having a theme for each school year!

  23. Nicole Erwin says:

    We do themed book displays and book fair themes, but not the whole library

  24. Christina says:

    We have an old bath tub and the kids love to sit in it!!!

  25. Michelle Harrell says:

    Our librarians always try to update themes throughout the year. Middle school students get bored pretty quickly. I give JYMS librarians props for keeping these students interested in coming to the library all year long!!

  26. Lisa Folkema says:

    Thanks for the great ideas!

  27. Ami K. Edwards says:

    Love that idea!

  28. Christina McCloud says:

    We have a school wide theme each year and tie it to our reading goals (points and comprehension). We have had Saddle Up for Reading (western), a super heroes theme, and a Driven to Read (race cars) most recently. We are a Pre-K through grade 8 school and our librarian is amazing how she incorporates everything across all grade levels…from decorating the library to her dressing in costume.

  29. katie says:

    I love themes! It makes it exciting!

  30. Madeline says:

    We have a school wide theme each year though it has not extended into our library…yet! we will have to pursue this idea!! Thanks for the ideas!

  31. Sherrie Treigle says:

    We have a theme each year as well. This year it is “Just keep reading!” based on Dori in Finding Nemo.

  32. Cathy Kelley says:

    Great choice of themes!

  33. Krystal Dozier says:

    Awesome! I am one of the libraries featured in this post!

  34. s. bellomo says:

    Making a library a place of wonder, laughter and reading is my goal. Our theme is to pace ourselves with Dr. Seuss characters and our AR flags from the past years are up like the banners in the gym. Remembering what we have achieved inspires our school to continue its reading achievements.

  35. Margarita says:

    Our district always assigns a theme for all the schools so that’s the one that we follow. For example, if it’s superheroes, they come up with quotes or phrases for that particular theme to inspire reading.

  36. Jennifer says:

    good ideas

  37. Carol Roberts says:


  38. Tiffany says:

    Great theme ideas!

  39. Pam says:

    We have a superheros theme going right now in our elementary library. I love the infographic and I can’t wait to share it with others!

  40. janice raby neely says:

    Our Librarian posts themes to match the holidays and special events.

  41. Lloyd Goldberg says:

    Our librarian just goes with the school theme each year.

    • Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist Ken Stoflet, Marketing Communications Specialist says:

      That’s a great idea, Lloyd. What is the school theme this year?

  42. Kimberly McKinley says:

    I like the superhero theme. Any theme to welcome students into a place where it draws their attention is good in my book.

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