Laramie County’s students are very creative! Each year the Laramie County Library System hosts the 3rd and 4th grade bookmark contest in conjunction with our Summer Reading Celebration. Entry forms are distributed to schools throughout the county and made available at the library.
The Summer Reading Celebration theme changes each year, so each year brings a new challenge. (Theme examples are DIG IN!, Spark Your Imagination!, and BAM! POW! READ! Exercise Your Mind: Read!) Students are instructed to create designs illustrating the theme and include the theme name. Teachers often use the contest as assignments in graphic design. Sometimes students don’t follow the directions, do their own thing and create designs that don’t include the theme at all. (We still enjoy their creativity!)
All entries go through a judging process to determine the four designs to be printed. Each year the library receives approximately 450 entries. With that many entries, the chances of winning are 1%, so the contest is very competitive and it is a huge accomplishment to design a winning bookmark!
In the first phase of judging, the pile of entries is narrowed down to those that include the theme name and will print well. There are usually around 100 designs that meet these requirements. Next, judges narrow the field to the top 20-30 designs, looking for good ideas that are well executed using color and drawing skills, and that will be bookmarks that library visitors will want to take. These entries are designated with a fluorescent “Finalist” sunburst sticker. From the finalists, the four winning designs are chosen and designated with a fluorescent “Winner” sunburst sticker.
The winners are notified at the end of May when the Summer Reading Celebration starts. Not only are the winning designs printed as bookmarks, but they’re also made into banners that hang at the library in Cheyenne all summer long! Each winner is presented their own banner, too. After the Summer Reading Celebration is over, the banners from the library are presented to the winners’ schools.
All entries are displayed on the 2nd floor of the library in Cheyenne, except for the entries from Laramie County School District 2, which are displayed at the libraries in Burns or Pine Bluffs, or on the Bookmobile, depending on which community the entries are from. In Cheyenne the entries are displayed by school, and the schools are in alphabetical order around the floor. Stop by your library during the summer and take a look!