As a librarian, I always think of how I can best serve my community, in terms of meeting their needs and exceeding their expectations. In each community that I have worked in, the needs have changed slightly. In my current position, working as a children’s librarian in a growing and changing community, I have noticed that the community is hungry for literacy help.
We are a new library- recently updated, and full of a wonderful collection, but due to some design choices, the picture books are in a dead end area. I have been trying to think of inventive ways to get patrons to the picture books. Throughout this past year, I have done blind date with a book and picture book March madness, and lots of displays!
Literacy Bundles grew out of that—the desire to circulate books, as well as help to support the literacy needs of my community.
• Circulate more picture books
• Utilize story time elements to continue the fun for story timers-
help them see how they can replicate story time at home!
• Transcend the story time experience for families that can’t come to story time
• Support parents and adults with tools to build literacy skills with their little ones
• To remember reading is fun!
Each bundle contains 5-6 picture books (that I would read in story time) in a themed topic ranging from ABC to Dinosaurs to Robots to Zoo. I use two rubber bands to hold them together (and allow circulation staff to reach barcodes) and a pipe cleaner to tie a song card to them. Each card has a song or rhyme on one side, and the other has a literacy extension that draws upon the Sing, Talk, Play, Read, and Write early literacy concepts to further engage their little ones with the books and their world experiences. Although I utilize early literacy components, I didn’t want to include “early” in the title because it might hinder people from taking them for their slightly older children.
I made the labels on Canva.com, and printed a few versions that I had patrons and fellow staff vote on for the final design. I spent at least two weeks researching literacy tips and best practices utilizing sites like Zero to Three
Early Lit, Five Early Literacy Practices , Jbrary
The Literacy Bundles have been circulated for two months now and around 85 bundles have been checked out! Each bundle has 5-6 picture books, which means somewhere between 425 and 510 picture books have been checked out from the bundles! I started with around 22 topics, and have since added an additional 13 topics.
The data has been nice– especially to impress management– but the personal connections and comments from the community have been such a joy to receive! Parents and their children come in and discuss which one they want to take home. Teachers love them as well because they are easy to grab bundles with extra ideas for extension activities!
Here are some of the community responses:
“We loved the transportation bundle and used it for some onomatopoeia… really liked that it showed city life, and lots of diverse transportations to talk about.”
“My son loved the firefighter one, he’s on a big kick right now and it was helpful to have all the books together!”
“I love the bundles! They are so helpful to parents– the dogs one taught my son how to spell DOG! Make more!”
“You are helping me learn how to teach my children, what I can do with books.”
“I love them! Please make more!”
“This is perfect, I never know what to do when I read to my son. Now, I have some ideas!”
“Thank you for this! We love picking out a new one each week!”
Today’s guest post was written by Amy Steinbauer. Amy is a Children’s Librarian in Washington, D.C. She has presented at ALA Annual’s 2015 Conference “Storytime Live: Improv Techniques to Improve Storytime” and at the ABOS Annual Conference in 2014 “Little Early Literacy Community Connections”. She loves storytime, mermaids, and being silly. You can follow her on Twitter @Merbrarian.
Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.
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