As Children’s Librarians we almost all plan and facilitate a storytime. We work hard to engage our audience, model early learning practices for caregivers, and embed early literacy tips. Sometimes we do this multiple times a week. It’s a lot of work and it matters.
In my short time with the Advocacy and Legislation Committee, I’ve thought a lot about how internal and external advocacy can help promote the work we do in our storytimes. Luckily, the University of Washington’s Information School has a tool for us! The Valuable Initiatives in Early Learning that Work Successfully (VIEWS2) project provides free training and advocacy tools that will help us improve the quality of our storytimes and promote their value – both inside and outside our organizations.
The Information School initiated the VIEWS2 research project to ask if research could confirm the early learning benefits of a storytime. The three year study committed student researchers and Information School faculty to work with librarians in a wide range of libraries across Washington State.
Their positive findings might not be surprising to us as Children’s Librarians, but certainly could be to those who fund us or supervise us.
Thus we have a rather unique advocacy tool. The VIEWS2 website is practical. It models easy to implement early learning tips for librarians to utilize during storytime. It shows us how, when used properly, this approach can yield positive, research backed results with children who attend storytimes. But it doesn’t stop there. It aides in explaining how vital our storytimes are. It provides talking points that you can use when discussing the value of your storytime with supervisors and your library administration.
By learning from the tips provided and enhancing storytimes with early learning techniques we gain the ability to use research to advocate internally for the support we need to provide high quality storytimes. We can also confidently encourage our administrations to advocate externally for the resources needed to provide them.
Storytimes matter and this tool helps us explain why!