Do you have bulletin boards in your children’s library? Yes? Well you should take them all down.
I know this might sound controversial, but let me explain.
Over the last few years we have taken down all five bulletin boards from our children’s library. And I think it’s one of the best things we have done to save ourselves time and headaches.
I truly hate to even think about how much staff time we were wasting each year decorating bulletin boards….but let’s go ahead and think about it…..
I would say it takes about 2-3 hours on average to decorate a bulletin board. You may think that’s a high estimate, but consider that decorating a bulletin board involves:
- Finding and getting your supplies out
- Taking down the previous bulletin board decorations
- Covering the background of the board with paper
- Coming up with a new design and a witty (or not-so-witty) saying
- Finding the letters to spell out the witty saying
- Stapling everything up
- Adding a border
- Finding all of the errant staples that fell onto the carpet that you don’t want children to accidentally eat
- Putting all of your supplies away
And if you’re not using a pre-made bulletin board package, you have to create all of the artwork…that can take much, much longer!
So, back to the calculation. If we were decorating five boards per month, that’s an average of 12.5 hours per month.
12.5 hours per month x 12 months = 150 hours per year
150 hours / 40 hours per week = 3.75 weeks
Almost ONE MONTH per year decorating bulletin boards? Think about it people. That’s time that could be spent helping kids find books to read, interacting with patrons, planning programs…or just taking a breather to maintain your sanity.
We are all busy and over-worked. So give yourself a break and remove something from your life that is unnecessary and time-consuming. I promise, no children will cry that a bulletin board is gone. My guess is that no one will even notice.
Still need convincing? As librarians, aren’t our three biggest complaints about time, money, and space? Well, we’ve already talked about saving time. Did I mention that you’ll save money too? That bulletin board paper is expensive and so are the decorations. As for space, taking down a bulletin board can open up some pretty good wall space!
In the interest of full disclosure, I should let you know that we did replace the five bulletin boards with one chalkboard (read our post about it here.) It still takes time to decorate, but gives Mollie the chance to add some seasonal flair to the children’s room. See? Even we couldn’t go completely bulletin-board-cold-turkey. 🙂
Update: Here are 10 ideas for bulletin board alternatives!