Library of Wonders

I’m the kind of person who goes on walks, sees something of interest and picks it up. What to do with it now? Well my husband would toss my cool treasures in the trash 9 times out of 10, so I kept my collecting to a minimum until I got my own library.

Now I get to pick up interesting pieces and display them, and the kids love them more than I do! But there is method to my madness. The pieces are located on top of the shelves in nonfiction. I like that the items are visible for most of the kids especially since my library is kind of sunken, lower than the open hallways on two of the sides. The items are also not too easily reached – the kids need to earn the privilege to touch. And the collection is arranged in a way that I think creates “landmarks” for the kids. If they want a book about minerals, they get the clue to look below the geodes that were gifted to me by a former volunteer.

This arrangement is above the 000s, 100s, 200s and 300s. The black and white globe has little cartoon cryptids on it to represent the 000s where we find books on weird stuff like Bigfoot, aliens and Loch Ness. The praying hands, menorah and Greek Goddess represent the 200s, where we find world religions and mythology. I don’t yet have a good representation for the ghost stories of the 100s and the community/American government of the 300s.

This huge 3D puzzle of a Swiss castle was gifted to me by a former student. I decided it along with the knight and the home of the little old lady who lived in a shoe were a great way to represent the fairytales of 398.2. I have no real way to represent the 400s, or language section. I added the microscope and the giant outer space pop up book for the beginning of the 500s where science starts.

The 500s continues through minerals and rocks, fossils, plants and animals. The shells are a mix of ones given to me and ones I picked up at thrift stores. I found those giant pine cones at thrift stores too!

Sorry about the reflections. These cases were built by my father-in-law for baseball cards. I repurposed them for our biological samples and mineral/fossil sets. A lot of the loose shells are mine, and though the reflection hides it, my favorite piece is the tiny skull my kids found. We think it’s from a possum.

The 600s aren’t well represented yet, as the cool stuff from the 500s take up most of the space. The 700s is where kids find sports so I added an old basket full of different sporting supplies as a clue. 800 is another hard section being poetry and jokes and riddles, but 900 starts history. The first part of that section is exploring and ships so I added the hand made sailing ship my friend gave me. I also put together a paper model of the Titanic – kids can’t get enough of the Titanic. And then you see the busts that represent the biography section. Biographies are a big deal in our school (I’ll post more about it later) and I thought famous faces would be a fun landmark. So far I have Lincoln, Mozart and ‘Amelia Earhart’, which is a 3D puzzles put together slice by horizontal slice and wearing my daughter’s Earheart hat and goggles.

This last section is the rest of history. I tried to find pieces that are recognizable as American symbols and landmarks like the Capital Building and the White House. Both are 3D puzzles but the White House is a much smaller scale. Towards the end are pieces that are special to South Dakota: a pioneer doll, a covered wagon, a decorated cow skull – buffalo are too expensive, and some other Native American inspired pieces.

Well, that is a lot to explain but I know I’ll keep adding whenever I stumble across the perfect pieces. Would you like to see better pictures of anything? Don’t be afraid to ask!

P.S. I like globes. A lot.


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