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Do judge a book by its cover

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Do judge a book by its cover!

Is the old English idiom don’t judge a book by its cover holding us back from realising the full potential of front facing book displays in libraries? What about the saying first impressions count?

So we shouldn't judge a book by its cover but first impressions count? Huh?

A book’s cover is certainly not the only factor in book selection but it is often the deciding factor in whether we pick up a book, turn it over and read the blurb. Those first impressions are crucial in determining engagement. But as our workload increases (at a seemingly exponential rate) updating and maintaining relevant book displays can become quite a challenge. At Syba we are all about solutions and in this case our front facing book display options are just the trick!

Syba's Top Front Facing Book Displays L-R: Acrylic Book Display Stand, Acrylic Book Easel, A5 Free Standing Display, Acrylic Multi-purpose Book Display, Series Word Wall Vinyl Lettering (background), A5 Free Standing Display, A4 Free Standing Display.

Front-facing book display has been the focus of much research over the years. This research suggests that library users do judge books by their cover, particularly when selecting fiction titles. It’s no coincidence that publishers spend thousands of dollars researching consumer behaviour to create the most visually pleasing and engaging covers to sell their titles. Public libraries including our friends at Yarra Plenty Regional Library have also been trialling the use of front facing book displays in non-fiction with success, increasing their borrowing rates when the trend has been towards a decrease in non-fiction borrowing.

Top Tips for Front Facing Displays that pack a punch!

Be Relevant: Make the most of current events that tap into users interests, such as a cooking spotlight as TV shows like My Kitchen Rules and Masterchef gain momentum

Be Strategic: Get a calendar and map out a timeline that coincides with events and themes in your local community and gives you enough time to prepare and coordinate

Be Realistic: Keep it simple, make sure displays are flexible and easy to change, displays such as quick reads, teacher picks, student picks are great highlighters and are easy to maintain. This way you avoid feeling overwhelmed and can continuously update and refresh your displays.

Have Fun! Get creative and inspire your students with the joys of reading!

Check out our favourite front facing solutions:

1. Acrylic Multipurpose Book Display

Our newest and most popular front facing book display product. The Acrylic Multi-purpose book displays are ideal for displaying series in an easily accessible and visually engaging way. Can be displayed on top of shelves, desks or integrated into the collection to create a front facing book display.

2. A5 free standing book display

The A5's are one of our most popular items and provide dynamic front facing solution. Suitable to display multiple series or fan magazines and journals. Easily movable these flexible display stands are perfect for "New Book" or "recently returned" displays on your circulation desk or throughout your library.

3. A4 free standing book display

Ideal for almanacs such as The Guinness Book of World Records or a great opportunity to feature magazines, or key promotional flyers.

4. Book Easel

The staple of front facing book displays, our book easels are made of 3mm clear Perspex that is durable and aesthetic. Use the easel to spotlight particular titles or to complement a current theme. They sit beautifully on the circulation desk or on the shelves to highlight new or relevant books. A more professional alternative to traditional wire book holders.

5. Book Display Stand

A great front facing option to break up all those spines on your shelf. Nestled between books or standing alone this is great way to increase engagement and draw library users into your fiction section. Also suitable for displaying CDs or DVDs.

Need some more ideas for easy library displays? Check out these great resources...

Easy Library Displays Book 1 & Book 2

Easy library displays book 1 & 2 are an excellent resource to promote reading and highlight special events in your library. Each book contains a yearly calendar of international and national events with easy display ideas including booklists of relevant titles for each display idea. Both titles include eye-catching ideas, activities and websites to attract attention when setting up displays.


Term 2 Update

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Term 2 Update

We had a very busy term 1  preparing products ordered from our catalogue and creating many custom requests based on our established products. We’re pleased that we can customise many of our products and of course our Syba Academy programs are also customisable so that individual needs can be met. 

This term we have developed some exciting new products including a striking poster for Children’s’ Book Week and other book week products to help you promote Children’s Book Week in your library. Our new banner, poster and vinyl lettering are most eye catching.

We have been amazed at the interest our customers have in our vinyl word walls. Visit our vinyl lettering gallery to see the many choices we have and to gain inspiration for your own library. We can customise a word wall to suit your space see our step by step guide on the gallery page for instructions on how to order.

Our range of book display options is increasing as librarians become more and more conscious of clearly showing the students what’s available on the shelves. Please check out our full range including our new Acrylic Multi-Purpose Book Display stand is extremely popular and very flexible.

Get in early and order these products in time for book week or to complete a revamp of your fiction series collection. Alternatively we have seen many libraries using these products to display 'what's hot' or 'recently borrowed' fiction books. Order now!

Syba Academy

We were thrilled to partner with SLANSW in March to present their traditional State Library Day. It was a most productive day for attendees with leading author Aaron Blabey as keynote speaker, and international education and action research specialist Dr. Carol Gordon presenting a very practical approach to action research.

Our highlight for this term is: Syba Academy’s Connected Educator Summit in June! We are very excited to be welcoming Shannon M Miller to present!

This inspiring seminar will focus on major shifts within education and the library with particular emphasis on social media, advocacy, collaborative opportunities and the maker movement.

For educators looking to learn about exciting new ways to integrate digital tools that will bring excitement, creativity and collaboration to your whole school community this event is not to be missed! In a recent interview with Syba, Shannon called us to, “Be the change you want to see in Education” these are not just words though, she fully intends to show you how!

When asked about what inspires her Shannon said creativity, “We need to think outside of the box. Where can creativity take our libraries? Where can it take our learners? Where can it take us?” To find out more about Shannon and the Connected Educator Summit check out our blog where you can read our full interview with Shannon.

Please remember that all Syba Academy programs are aligned to AITSL Australian Standards for Teachers and accredited with QTC / BOSTES at Proficient Teacher Level.  

Have a wonderful term 2 and we look forward to working with you.

From the Syba Team.


Transference to Revolution

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Blended Learning

The term blended learning first emerged in the late 1990s with the advent of the internet (Friesen, 2012). There are a myriad of frameworks, models and theories surrounding the concept but at its most basic level blended learning refers to the practice of using both online and in-person learning experiences when teaching students (Abbott, 2014).

The initial adoption of computing and internet based technology in education was what I would describe as a practice of transference, text books were accessed on the computer, assignments were typed instead of written, overhead projectors we replaced with AV projectors. All these potentially revolutionary changes were afoot but teaching and learning practices were not changing dramatically. As the online experience has evolved and developed so have the opportunities for blended learning.

The move from transference to all out revolution is unfolding before our eyes. From makerspaces and project based learning to flipped classrooms, there are a variety of innovative approaches and learning modalities that have emerged and while these are well documented in academic literature there is a lack of formal training occurring in Australia.

When adopting a new method of teaching or learning we all know the key is good planning, it pays to be deliberate and strategic. If you are interested exploring opportunities to employ blended learning pedagogies within the Australian Curriculum Syba Academy is partnering with Yarra Plenty Regional Library to deliver a seven week online learning course that will achieve just that!


If you’re not quite sure or just want to find out a bit more about blended learning have a look at some of these resources:

 This site is very US-centric but it provides a good grounding overview.

This blog is dedicated to exploring the many facets of blended learning.

16 of the best blended learning resources from Edudemic

37 Blended learning resources you can use tomorrow, from Teach Thought


"Blended Learning Definition." The Glossary of Education Reform. N.p., 15 May 2013. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.

Friesen, Norm. "Defining Blended Learning." Report: Defining Blended Learning August (2012): 1-10. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.

Staker, Heather, and Michael B. Horn. "Classifying K-12 Blended Learning." Innosight Institutute May (2012): 1-21. May 2012. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.


  • Upcoming Seminar

    Literary Learning & Literacy Festival | 24th March, 2017

    Help us celebrate literature and delve into current creative ways to integrate fiction across the curriculum!


    » More Info!» Register! magical
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