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Fall decorating: a round-up of smart (and free) posters

Every year, as we move back into our libraries and classrooms, we search for meaningful, inspiring, attractive visuals to fill our display cases, to grace our bulletin boards, to embed on our websites.

Many of you have already experienced this, but if not, I must warn you of the dangers of searching Pinterest boards for library posters or library displays or school library displays or school library bulletin boards, or more specifically about searching for author posters or reading posters or Dewey Decimal Posters or Common Core Posters or for boards about the Writing Process or about mining specific resources like

These activities will send you down so many lovely rabbit holes that you are not likely to emerge for weeks into this fall semester.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

But there are ideas beyond Pinterest:

CommonSenseMedia’s Classroom Posters calmly, rationally and attractively cover issues relating to digital citizenship and care and maintenance of equipment in a 1:1 environment across grade levels.


The Family Online Safety Institute’s (FOSI) downloadable flashcards highlight basic principles of digital citizenship as part of its Platform for Good.  The cards cover safety and privacy, literacy and online responsibility, and offer conversation starters.  Print them larger and they will work as posters for display cases too.

The NEA offers a Bullying Prevention Kit with stickers and posters in exchange for a pledge.

Author/illustrator Peter Reynolds shares a series of inspiring mini-posters based on the themes in the North Star book as well as posters and certificates to inspire the celebration of individual creativity on International Dot Day.

Author/illustrator Jan Brett shares a beautiful collection of Library Signs and Classroom Signs, as well as cards and envelopes.

TeachingHistory offers both elementary and secondary interactive (or printable) posters designed to inspire historical thinking–creating an argument, using evidence to support claims, thinking about primary and secondary sources, and considering multiple perspectives–in addition to their excellent multimedia teaching materials.

Google offers stickers and a mouse pad template of recommended search short cuts on its Search Goodies page.

Last spring gathered a group of 40 library retro posters on her blog that inspired my own sense of library nostalgia.  Kids might find them funky.

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) offers a series of Get Caught Reading posters, as well as several Celebrity Wallpapers.

The Big6 Free Stuff page offers a variety of handouts, checklists, and Super3/Big6 posters by Franklin & Chow.

The BusyTeacher shares an array of 287 free Classroom Posters.

Krissy Venosdale (aka shares her Flickr poster set of inspirational venspired signs and quotes.

Our vendors also offer decorating help:

EasyBib features a variety of flyers & handouts, bookmarks, stickers, and infographics

ProQuest’s Schools and Libraries Toolkit is packed with customizable posters, flyers, and bookmarks including these cute doggies and flyer templates that could host QR code links to resources and advice on how to connect from school and from home.


Scholastic hosts a set of 100 free back-to-school printables as well as a set of three mini-posters of words to believe in:

I plan to share their set of Scientific Method Posters.  (Teachers are also invited to sign up for Scholastic’s Printables to access their 15,000 printable worksheets, graphic organizers, lesson plans, and more — all arranged by grade and subject area.)


And here are a few do-it-yourself poster options:

In a recent post on her Library Door blog, Paige Jaeger offered ideas for creating interactive bulletin boards to support CCSS learning.  Among my favorites are:

Citing evidence – “Fiction or Fact” – True or False?   This bulletin board could have hanging cards posted.  Each card would contain a question a student had from a fiction book, that they had to investigate to ascertain whether this was fact or fiction.  This has often been called a “Wonder Wall”  when the purpose is to get kids to ask questions needing investigation.

Close Reading –  “What did you learn today in a library book?”   Colorful index cards will provide your students an opportunity to share their knowledge based upon what was in print (rather than their opinion).

50%-50% mix –  With the CCSS claiming kids should read more non-fiction to build their “common knowledge”  or “prior knowledge”   you could have your students build their own “Knowledge is Power”  wall.   Once again using a template such as a power plug, lightning bolt (or something to denote power) you could have students write down great “facts” they found in their books. allows you to generate posters from quotes.  I’ve used to present my mission statement on this orientation Smore.


It’s been around forever in web years, but BigHugeLabs still packs a big, huge punch in terms of beginning-of-year usefulness, with so many goodies, including its

  • Motivator for inspirational posters or introducing new students or faculty with a photo and a favorite quote.
  • Movie Poster to share stills, titles, credits and other details of your production
  • Magazine Cover to create magazine and article titles, publication date, price, and more.

Someecards allows you to create cool, old-fashioned cards like this one:

And you can recreate those classic Keep Calm and Posters, just one of a number of others Keep-Calm-and Generators.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Mary Clark says

    Checking the Staples websites for sales on their posters and banners is worth the time! I printed 3 24×36 posters using my own photos and sayings about books and libraries. Each poster was $8. The photos are local, too! Here’s a link to mine: The students have already suggested more quotes and photo ops!


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