It is last December, 2016, and I am visiting my hometown Antofagasta, Chile after almost ten years of absence. My birth city feels the same with its marine breeze, the dazzling sun, the immense desert, and the curious and welcoming people. However, one thing is different. Now the city has a modern three-story public library built inside a refurbished historic building filled with natural light, innovation, and magnificence.
The Biblioteca Regional de Antofagasta is dreamy with books on display every place you look – including the circulation desk- computer stations on all three floors, and an art display. This magnificent library is located in the heart of a town that is learning to use the resources that a public library offers. In fact, one of those resources is the equivalent of the American storytime called “La Hora del Cuento.” The other resource is a booktuber called “Leonora, la Llamita Lectora.”
La Hora Del Cuento:
The library offers six weekly storytimes including a Saturday and Sunday Storytime at noon. As the library is located in the town square, heart of the city, across from Antofagasta’s cathedral, the time of the Sunday storytime is strategic coinciding with the end of the mid-day Mass. Therefore, parishioners have the chance of attending another family event; a library storytime across the street. This community engagement is relevant for a public library that is building consciousness to make its community ascertain that books and reading are not only part of learning, but also relaxation and entertaining.
Another compelling element in La Hora del Cuento is that children and their caregivers are encouraged to participate by giving their opinion of the book that is read and refer to the message of the story. Through this interaction, the librarian obtains an understanding of what families are gaining through the reading and the themes that are more appealing to them. Ultimately, the idea is to foster the love for reading to a community that does not read much.
In addition, La Hora del Cuento uses books that relate to the library’s monthly cultural programming. Thus, the storytimes are prepared following a multigenerational monthly theme that the library is using across library programming. For example, April’s theme is “the month of the book” where adult and children’ programs will encourage love for books with programs based on this particular theme.
Leonora La Llamita Lectora:
Leonora is a Llama that offers a booktuber about a particular title – adult, teen, or children’s. This initiative involves the collaboration of a number of staff members, who dramatize the plot or work to support the creation of Leonora. The introductory theme materializes Leonora as a civilian, who is looking for the library and taking the bus –widespread transportation means for Chileans- to arrive to the library.
Once at the library, Leonora dramatizes the title and starts her booktalk with a reference to the plot and the reasons why this title would be appealing to her audience. Llamas are part of the Chilean Andes Mountaun’s fauna and thus have a special relationship with Antofagastinians. This booktuber reveals not only a book annotation, but also a profound knowledge of the community it intends to appeal.
As I watch Leonora, I cherish the idea of collaboration among library staff to put together a booktuber. It involves time commitment, disposition, and team work creativity, but the end result is reassuring and appealing. Leonora consolidates the age gap of different readers being charming for teens and adults, and alluring for children.
Have you created a booktuber like Leonora La Llamita Lectora?
(photos courtesy of guest blogger)
Kathia Ibacache, is a Youth Services Librarian at Simi Valley Public Library. She has worked as a music teacher and Early Music Performer and earned a MLIS from San José State University and a DMA from the University of Southern California. She loves to read realistic fiction and horror stories and has a special place in her heart for film music.
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