Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover…But What about the First Line?: A Teen Library Display

Look supervisors! All that time I spend messing around on Twitter paid off! After seeing this brilliant idea from the Johnson County Library, I knew we had to repeat it here in our teen section.

If it’s not obvious, the covers of the books have been covered up. Instead, all the patron see is the first line of said book.

My coworker Emma is usually in charge of this particular display section, but I asked if we could copy the above display for May. She was down, so I got to work finding titles with solid first lines. I specifically looked for books that we had multiple copies of, as well as overlooked gems that weren’t circulating in the collection.

Here are the images I made to tape to the front of our YA books. Feel free to use ’em. It would make me happy, in fact.

baby girl by lenora adams
Baby Girl by Lenora Adams
Cupcake by Rachel Cohn
derby girl
Derby Girl by Shauna Cross
Eleventh Plague
The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch
everybody sees the ants
Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark

going bovine
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
how it went down
How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon:  Also, this is one of the most topically relevant YA books out right now. If you haven’t read it, get on it and make sure teens can access it.
in darkness
In Darkness by Nick Lake
The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud (the first in the Lockwood and Co. series)
Monster by Walter Dean Myers
party girl by lynne ewing
Party Girl by Lynne Ewing
sorta like a rockstar
Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick
the final four
The Final Four by Paul Volponi
Here's the main sign for the display.
Here’s the main sign for the display.

Emma, because she’s done the whole “wrapping up books to obscure their cover” deal before, wrapped white printer paper around all the books, leaving their barcodes exposed so that the circulation desk workers don’t want to kill us:


I glue-sticked all the first lines to the front of the book and bang-boom, the display is a done deal!


IMG_20150501_151333632 IMG_20150501_151339456

Thanks to the lovely folks at the Johnson County Library for sharing this idea! Virtual high five!

So, what’s your favorite first line? Let me know in the comments.

~Love and Libraries, Ingrid

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24 thoughts on “Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover…But What about the First Line?: A Teen Library Display

  1. daleinqueens

    I love the idea!

    Just to participate, my favorite first line is “I will be her witness. That would translate ‘sera su testigo’, and will not appear in your travelers’ phrasebook because it is not a useful phrase for the prudent traveler.” Joan Didion “A Book of Common Prayer”

  2. missprint

    I’ve said it before but my favorite thing about this is how easy it is to replicate thanks to all of the first line images being pre-made/typed.

  3. Pingback: Veille – 17.05.15 | Biblio Kams

  4. Wow, this is an amazing display idea. Even as I was reading through the lines, all I could think was that I have to read this book! Re-blogging this onto our school librarian site!

  5. Pingback: Teen Services Underground | Resources: Links of the Month – May 2015

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