Friday, May 26, 2017

Canva Update 2017

Canva has made a few changes since our last overview, so we thought that we'd go back and discuss how this program works. We still highly recommend trying this free online program out! If you make flyers or post images on social media, this is the website for you! If you found it a little hard to use before, they've made it more intuitive with the changes below.

When you log in, you start off by selecting what type of design you want to create. It can be anything from a flyer to a Facebook post. Once selected, it automatically brings you to a white screen that is the correct dimensions for your image.

On the left side are a lot of layouts that you can use for free. You can easily change the words and background to fit what you want to make, but it is so useful to see great designs that you can mimic. They do have photos that you can use, though most of the good ones cost $1. I usually upload my own that I either took or use websites like Morguefile which have free pictures. (I don't even bother searching on Canva.)

In the image above, I want to mention a few great features. There's the "Share" button top right, which we'll talk about in more detail below. On the middle right is the double square which you can make a copy of your image. I use that all the time to make a duplicate of my templates and then I just update my words for this blog. Huge time saver!

If you don't like any of the layouts, you can scroll down and easily create your own with elements and text. I like that the text comes with many different styles, combining two different fonts that look awesome together. If you know what fonts you want, you can just make your own text blocks, too.

When you click on the image, options appear at the top of the screen. This is new from the previous version, which used to have the options appear in the middle of your image that you had to move around. I like this change, it makes it a lot easier when designing.


One of my favorite updates is the new share options (which we mentioned is located on the top right). Now it is really easy to share your images with other people and they can directly edit them! You can also make a team with seven other people. (This used to be a paid feature, but not anymore! By the way, nonprofit libraries do qualify for a free account of Work For Canva!) Your team will get to see all the images you mark is for the team and they can edit them. Very handy!

But it doesn't stop there. You can now share your images directly onto Facebook or Twitter without having to download and upload!

You can also make a link to your image which you can share with other people. Or you can turn your design into an interactive website, sharing this link directly with your patrons.

Lastly, you can now embed your design right onto your webpage so that all you need to do is save your image and your website is automatically updated. How cool would this be for your library's home page?

If you just want to download your image, you can do that with the "download" button. It can come in JPG, PGN, and PDF. 

Next to the "Download" button is the "Public" button. If you want followers on Canva, you need to make sure that you make your images public so that other people can see them. If you make a team, you need to make sure that you mark it as "show team" or they won't see your design. Everything defaults to private, so you don't have to worry about sharing something you didn't mean to share.

Happy designing!

For more articles on Canva, check out:

Canva for Work -- FREE for Libraries!
5 Secret Tricks for Using Canva Like a Pro
Canva: Make Easy Designs in Little Time

Friday, May 19, 2017

Ready to Go Book Display: Disney

Welcome to our series, "Ready to Go!" Book Display. Once a month we'll highlight the latest or greatest for every age group that you can promote within your library or order for your collection. Here are some books for Disney fans.

Recommendations for Adults:

Thousands of entries and hundreds of photographs combine to provide a comprehensive reference to the world of Disney, providing coverage of the history of Disney, park attractions, television shows, songs, animated features and shorts, and films.

Collects historical maps of the Disney Parks produced for diverse purposes, from the opening of Disneyland in 1955 through to maps of today from its parks, including its most recent in Shanghai.

Presents miscellaneous trivia, in a question and answer format, about Disney films, Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Walt Disney, and other related topics.

They Drew as They Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney's Golden Age by Didier Ghez (Sept 2015)
As the Walt Disney Studio entered its first decade and embarked on some of the most ambitious animated films of all time, Disney hired a group of "concept artists" whose sole mission was to explore ideas and inspire their fellow animators. This book showcases four of these early pioneers and features artwork developed by them for the Disney

Poster Art of the Disney Parks by Daniel Handke (Sept 2012)
From the first art that proclaimed that Guests could have a "true-life adventure" on the Jungle Cruise to the poster announcing the grand opening of Cars Land in Disneyland, this book showcases the eye-catching art of Disney posters.

The Hidden Mickeys of Walt Disney World by Kevin and Susan Neary (June 2016)
Throughout Disney you can find Hidden Mickeys - artistic representations of Mickey intentionally hidden throughout the design of the parks and resorts. This guide showcases some of the best and helps you to spot your own on your next visit. Also check out The Hidden Mickeys of Disneyland.

Disney Villains: Delightfully Evil by Jen Darcy (Jul 2016)
For decades, Walt Disney Animation and Pixar Animation Studios animated features have offered up some of the most iconic and malevolent villains. This book showcases rare concept art and photographs and explores the villains' creative origins, roles within the stories, and influences on and within pop-culture.

The Art of Minnie Mouse (Sept 2016)
In The Art of Minnie Mouse, Disney artists, designers, illustrators, and animators from around the world reimagine their favorite Minnie styles and portray them in a variety of mediums.

Recommendations for Teens:

A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell (Sept 2015)
What if Aladdin had never found the lamp? This series of Twisted Tales gives the reader a whole new look at beloved classics with a twist. This series includes Once Upon a Dream (Sleeping Beauty) and As Old As Time (Beauty and the Beast).

Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Library by Brittany Rubiano (Jan 2017)
Belle's journal of quotes from her favorite books includes her notes on each quote.

The Art of Disney's Dragons by Tom Bancroft (Jun 2016)
The Walt Disney Company has had a long-standing fascination with dragons, and this book - conceived as a sketchbook handed down through generations of Disney artists - chronicles the impact that dragons have had on Disney films, parks, and resorts.

Recommendations for Children:

Flounder Loves Ariel by Cynthia Liu (Dec 2016)
This padded board book shows the friendship between Ariel and Flounder. Be sure to check out Gus Loves Cinderella as well!

Who Was Walt Disney? by Whitney Stewart (Apr 2009)
Walt Disney always loved to entertain people. Often it got him into trouble. With black-and-white illustrations throughout, this biography reveals the man behind the magic.

Tales from the Haunted Mansion by John Esposito (Jul 2016)
Presents the terrifying tales of the Fearsome Foursome (Willa, Tim, Noah, Steve), four kids who try to out-scare each other. Their spooky stories are told by the fictional character, Amicus Arcane, the librarian of the haunted mansion. The second book in this series, Midnight at Madame Leota's, comes out July 2017.

In this book, Mike Wall's original illustrations accompany the lyrics of the beloved song, and together they navigate readers through the firelit waters of the pirate-infested Caribbean. The included CD features "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)". You should also look for Disney Parks Presents: The Haunted Mansion and Disney's It's A Small World.

The Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson (Sep 2009)
Thirteen-year-old Finn Whitman and four other young teens have been transformed into holograms to be guides for visitors to Disney World. When Finn is unexpectedly transported to the Magic Kingdom in his hologram form, Wayne, an Imagineer, tells him that he and the other guides must save the park from the scheming witch Maleficent and the Overtakers.

Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen by Serena Valentio (Aug 2009)
Examines the life of Snow White's stepmother, the Wicked Queen, to find out just what it is that makes her so evil that she would want to cut out her teenage step-daughter's heart and have it delivered in a locked keepsake box. Also go behind the scenes with The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty's Prince and Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch.

The Disney Princess Cookbook by Cynthia Littlefield (Oct 2013)
Collects kid-friendly recipes inspired by the adventures of favorite Disney princesses and provides step-by-step instructions and helpful cooking tips for preparing such options as Rapunzel's Frying Pan Eggs and Ariel's Sea Turtle Cupcakes.

Moana Hairstyles & Looks by Cindy Littlefield (Oct 2016)
Shares instructions for hairstyles and crafts related to the Disney film Moana. Other titles in this series includes Frozen Hairstyles, Frozen Fever Hairstyles, Disney Princess Hairstyles, Disney Villains Hairstyles and Looks, and Frozen Amazing Hairstyle Tricks.

Learn to Draw Disney's Classic Animated Movies: Volume 1 and Volume 2 (Jan 2017)
Together these book features step-by-step drawing instructions with characters from Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book, Fantasia, 101 Dalmatians, Peter Pan, The Fox and the Hounds, Bambi, Pinocchio, Lady and the Tramp, The Aristocats, and Dumbo.

Belle's Discovery (Jan 2017)
Before she met the beast, Belle was a young girl. At age 7, Belle is happy living at home with her father but at school she feels like an outsider, but things change when she discovers a run-down bookshop. Be sure to check out the other books in the Disney Princess Beginnings series: Cinderella Takes the Stage and Ariel Makes Waves. Coming Sept 2017 is Jasmine's New Rules.

The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz (May 2015)
Imprisoned on the Isle of the Lost, the teenaged children of Disney's most evil villains search for a dragon's eye - the key to true darkness and the villains' only hope of escape.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Twitter 101 for Professional Development

Thinking of joining Twitter? It is one of my favorite places for professional development. Today, we're going to highlight five ways to get the most out of your Twitter account.

1. Twitter Chats

Every day of the week, there are library chats that you can participate! Easy Bib has a great list, so I will link to that here ( but you can find any chat from YA Librarianship (#readYAlit) to the Public Librarian Chat (#publibchat) to I Need a Librarian Job Chat (#INALJchat).

2. Connect via Hashtags

One great way to find other librarians is to use and search on the common hashtags:

3. Learn More from Conferences

Many conferences these days will have a hashtag (i.e., #ALAAC17). You can use that hashtag to share the great tidbits you are learning in your session and you can find what is going on in other sessions. It is a fun way to get more out of a conference, especially if you were unable to attend.

4. Follow Organizations, Publishers, Authors

What resources does your library use? See if they are on Twitter and follow them for news and updates. For example, Overdrive will share lots of content that you can reshare on your library account. Publishers will share arcs and exciting author news. If any of these are cluttering up your newsfeed with information you don't find relevant, unfollow them but add them to a Twitter List that you can check when you want updates.

Great places to follow:

5. Follow Your Favorite Bloggers

Don't forget to check out your favorite bloggers, too. One of the hardest things for me, when I first started on Twitter, was to respond to strangers I never met face-to-face. But to get the most out of your account, don't be afraid to like and comment. People want to connect -- that's why we're all tweeting.

A few bloggers we highly recommend following:
TeenLibrarianToolbox @TLT16
Naomi Bates @yabooksandmore
Becky Spratford @RAforAll
J Burke-TheInfoHound @theinfohound
Angela Hursh @webmastergirl

And we love following our readers, so don't forget to check us out, too: @5minlib

Have any additional tips? Please share in the comments!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Summer Reading Scratchies - Some New Ideas

Jess has written about using Scratch Tickets for Teen Summer Reading in the past (and her idea actually got picked up by School Library Journal!), but I (Kat) am here to write a little bit about how I've used this in my own libraries, with a few variations on Jess's brilliant theme.

If you read the article we linked above, you will see how Jess set things up. In a library of that size (over 35,000 people in her town!) it was phenomenal. In my town, it was a little bit too much. I scaled back a lot, and it worked well for me.

The Basics

If you're new to the idea of Summer Reading Scratch Tickets, here's the basic idea:
Instead of trying to get teens to sign up for things, you hand out homemade scratch tickets (I usually call them "scratchies") to anyone in grades 6-12. Teens will scratch off their ticket and either instantly win a prize, or write their name on a non-winning ticket and be entered to win a big raffle prize at the end of the summer. Participants must write their name on the ticket to claim their prize or enter the raffle, so you have a count of how many people participated right there, without having to get the teens to sign up for something (which, in my experience, they don't want to).

How I Changed It

Jess had categories of tickets; one prize could only be won by checking out a nonfiction book; another was for graphic novels. I had one ticket. Check out *something* and you get a scratchie - one per person, per day. Want to try again to win that prize you have your eye on? Come back tomorrow and you can get another ticket! I am also planning for this summer to give out a ticket to any teens that come to programs.

There's a whole tutorial in our other article about how to paint the stickers so you can scratch them off. I was lazy busy and bought a roll of 1,000 scratchable stickers from Amazon.

3/4 of the tickets I made were instant winners. These were split fairly evenly between candy, gift cards to local places (free ice cream cones and mini golf games), and a choice of selection from the prize box (summer reading incentives, like water bottles, tote bags, phone chargers, and the like). I also made specific tickets for random medium-sized prizes (such as a 5 pound gummy bear, and some of the nicer donated gift cards). You had to scratch the ticket that said "Winner! Giant Gummy Bear!" to win that specific prize. It kept some of the kids coming back time and again because they really wanted something.

1/4 of the tickets said, "Sorry, not a winner!" and were used to pull the end-of-summer Grand Prize winners.

Making the Tickets

Jess made a template that has served us well (right-click to save!); if you print it in grayscale on colored cardstock, it looks amazing, and the circles are where you type in what the prize is (or, "Sorry! Not a winner!"). The circles can be covered up by the 1" round scratch stickers that I linked above.

Originally, the square on the right was for the category - ficiton, nonfiction, graphic novel, etc. I used it to put the name and address of my library.  The blank space in the middle is where you write NAME:  PHONE:  EMAIL:  and/or whatever disclaimer information you want to make sure is on each ticket.

Last summer, mine looked like this:


Prize Ideas

As for prizes: can I just say, Cape Cod is amazing? Since it's a vacation wonderland, there are touristy-type things *everywhere.* I sent out a letter requesting donations to various local businesses, and got a flotilla of coupons for free mini golf games, free ice cream cones, free bowling games, free arcade tokens, and gift cards for restaurants and other local attractions. The local candy store gave us a huge reusable bag full of boxes of candy (and nicely told us to "come on back when you want more!") We went through a lot of prizes, but we got a lot of really wonderful feedback.

The grand prizes I made were gift bags including a lot of the summer reading incentives, some candy, and $25 gift cards to They were very popular.

I'm in a different library this year, without the vast abundance of places to get free stuff. I am still planning on candy and incentives, and am sniffing around for places to get coupons for ice cream cones and such. I'm planning to ask my new T.A.B. (once they start meeting in a couple weeks) to help me pick the grand prizes - but probably gift cards again, because everyone loves a gift card.

How It Went

Teen Summer Reading 2015: 4 teens.
Teen Summer Reading 2016: 86 teens.
My friends, this is an increase of almost 2,000%. (I felt like a library rockstar.)
The adults wanted scratch tickets. The kids wanted scratch tickets. Teens I've never seen before came out of the woodwork and got scratch tickets. SCRATCHIES FOR THE WIN!

I know this idea has really taken off in the last few years, and we would love to hear your variations. Did you like it? Did it work for you? What did you do differently? Tell us in the comments here, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter.