This Library’s ‘Baby Got Books’ Display Sparks Laughter

Librarians don’t just sort books; they’re tireless workers for their community - and there’s no better example than the Virginia Beach Public Library, whose creative displays help keep people’s interest in books alive.

K Lou

A Hip Twist on Book Reading

With all the distractions of the modern age, interest in books is waning. Now, I doubt they’ll ever lose their place entirely, but it’s been a while since there’s been a Harry Potter or Divergent series to grip the public imagination. So, in the meantime, booksellers and librarians have to find another way to catch people’s attention.

A creative, funny display at the Virginia Beach Public Library.
Photo Credit: Virginia Beach Public Library

Enter the Virginia Beach Public Library, which went viral in 2016 with its creative displays. The most famous was the “Baby Got Books” display featuring book-themed lyrics of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s hit ’90s song, “Baby Got Back.” The display was put together by librarian Brittney Ash, who, in her words, thought it would be a “great way to infuse fun into a library display.”

According to the library’s spokesperson, Christine Brantley, "Brittney likes to create displays for all ages that inspire laughter and draw people in to perhaps find something new to read that they might not have otherwise found."

According to Ash, she doesn’t want people to think of libraries as austere or gloomy places where you get shushed all the time. She instead wants to “reinforce that libraries are vibrant places for learning and fun.”

Sharks, Igloos, and More

This is far from the only time Ash has shown off her creativity. She’s also the genius behind a marine-themed display on shark-related books (pictured above). And sure, it looks good for social media posts, but more importantly, it draws attention to the books themselves.

A creative space for kids at the Virginia Beach Public Library.
Photo Credit: Virginia Beach Public Library

Which makes sense, considering Ash’s goal is to get people interested in reading something they might not have otherwise tried. I know I’m pretty curious about that Jurassic Sharks book there. And if it gets even one person to try something new, then hey - mission accomplished!

She doesn’t only do displays, though. In another instance, she set up an igloo made out of empty milk gallons in the children’s room. It created a unique, fun space for kids to read in. It also set a great example for repurposing things that would otherwise be tossed aside.

It’s a Team Effort, Really

Of course, Ash isn't the only one giving her all. The Virginia Beach Public Library isn’t just one place, either. It consists of ten different branches, each filled with loads of library staff - from photographers to organizers to volunteers. Not one of them should be discounted; they all dedicate countless hours to enriching their community.

It’s not just about Instagrammable book displays, either. (Although those definitely help with publicity!) The staff puts together programs and events to spark kids’ imaginations and create meaningful bonds between people in their community. In an age where people are more disconnected from one another than ever, such local events are crucial for creating a sense of social unity and support.

A meme illustration about the public libraries from the Virginia Beach Public Library.
Photo Credit: Virginia Beach Public Library

And of course, that’s not even counting the numerous services a library offers just on its own, best summed up in the image on the left.

(And since that image comes from the Virginia Beach Library, you can also add “memes” at the end there.)

Being Creative and Encouraging Creativity in Others

While there’s a pretty wide range of events, including science projects, musical performances, and hosting DnD games, I find it very fitting that their arts and crafts sessions seem pretty popular. And maybe one of the reasons for that is that they don’t present them as purely for kids.

A crafted art at the Virginia Beach Public Library.
Photo Credit: Virginia Beach Public Library

Sure, some craft events are geared specifically for the younger ones - but they also have quite a few craft projects specifically for teenagers. It’s a nice breath of fresh air, encouraging middle- and high-school-age kids to nurture their creative side without breathing down their neck about if they’ve finished their homework yet. And not just boring old painting or sculpting, but crafting donut bookmarks and mini, fit-in-your-palm terrariums. What would we do without you, libraries?

The Latest Library Shenanigans

While it’s been a while since they’ve gone viral with any of their posts, fear not, fellow netizens; this library is alive and well. They’re constantly hosting events aimed at people of all ages - from grade school to teenagers and beyond. One of their more recent ones was an indoor golfing activity called “Library Links.” The library had golf clubs on offer and miniature courses throughout the library. They also had a cute golf cart cutout, perfect for a photo op.

Two women inside the the Virginia Beach Public Library.
Photo Credit: Virginia Beach Public Library

And the creative displays are, of course, still alive and flourishing. Just a few months back, all ten branches of the Virginia Beach Public Library put out Great Gatsby displays. Each branch had its own unique twist, but all were gorgeous homages to the classic ’20s novel.

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