Blogger Sarah Bean Thompson

Back to Basics

My branch manager has challenged us over the next few months to get back to basics. Things like picking up messes, straightening books, push in  chairs, roving the department. So often when we get caught up in programs and other things, we forget these basic tasks. I’ve been thinking a lot about how this can work in Youth Services as far as programming. I always struggle with providing programming for everyone and having options during the day as well as evening and weekends. Yet no matter what we try, we don’t get an audience for evening and weekend programs unless it’s something really big (Star Wars Reads Day, Meet Pete the Cat). I’ve tried Saturday morning storytimes out in the department for the past year and while it’s nice to offer, the crowds are small and the people that come aren’t at the Library for storytime,  but stop by because…

Blogger Sarah Bean Thompson

Dance Parties are Fun-and Important!

Yesterday I hosted a Bibliobop Dance Party at my library. I started Bibliobop (our baby/toddler/preschooler dance party) about four years ago. The program includes lots of music and movement, reading books about dancing and music and lots of fun. We use shaker eggs, instruments, parachutes, and scarves. Biblibop is hosted on Saturday mornings once every few months. This Fall, I also started a program called Preschool Wiggleworms, which is another music and movement program. The weekly programs are a bit more themed (we talk about certain types of dance or themes each week) but the general idea is similar to Biblibop. We dance, move, and have fun. My mom is a music teacher, so I grew up surrounded by the arts. Singing and dancing were regular parts of my life. But the more I do these creative movement programs, the more I realize this is an aspect of early literacy that…

Blogger Sarah Bean Thompson

Branding the Library

My staff and I love doing programming around geeky fandoms and pop culture. Whatever our kids and teens are talking about, we love to program around it. We have so much fun with our fandom programs and they are always well attended. But it makes me wonder what we can do to make sure all library programs have the same draw. When we put a character name or popular brand to something, people come. Pete the Cat costume character event? 600 people. Star Wars Reads Day? 200 people. Harry Potter Trivia Event? 75 people. Doc McStuffins Stuffie Clinic? 120 people. Halloween Storytime and Trick-or-Treat Parade in the Library-366 people. My average program attendance this summer? 31. Yes, 31 is still a great number and attendance. Yes these big name programs are fun and bring people into the library. But looking at what we plan for these programs compared to what we plan for…

Blogger Sarah Bean Thompson

Messy Art and Creative Movement

This Fall, my staff and I got very excited about offering something new in addition to our regular weekly storytimes. We wanted to shake things up a bit in our schedule. Luckily I have staff members who are especially excited and inspired by change and trying new things. I wanted to offer a regular music and movement program ( more than my once a quarter dance party) and I had a staff member who wants to do an art program. So after brainstorming and scheduling we created Toddler Art (ages 18 months-36 months) and Preschool Wiggleworms (ages 3-6) to host on Friday mornings. I was a bit worried about how changing our schedule and taking out Friday storytimes for something else would effect the rest of our programs. Would our other storytimes have a huge jump in attendance? Would we just end up with repeats from earlier in the week?…

Blogger Sarah Bean Thompson

Fantastic Family Film Festival

Last year I needed a last minute program to fill in our last week of Summer Reading. We have weekly performers at my branch every Thursday afternoon and we didn’t get one for the final week of July. So my staff and I threw together a Frozen-Sing-Along and had over 150 kids show up! This program was so easy to put together and had such a huge draw that I wanted to repeat our success again this year. We cut back on the number of performers, so I had three open Thursday afternoons to fill with staff led programming. So our Fantastic Family Film Festival was born. Our first one happened yesterday afternoon with a Big Hero 6 Robot Build-Along.   Movies tend to be hit or miss at our branch and we have more success with recent popular films with kids and families. The hero theme of Big Hero…

Blogger Sarah Bean Thompson

Fandom Jr. Update

Back in April, I wrote about how we are shaking up our Summer Storytime schedule and adding in a new program called Fandom Jr. The idea is to offer a drop in program on Friday mornings based on popular preschool topics and themes. I promised an update! I hosted my first Fandom Jr. last week and it was a huge success! For our first program, I wanted to focus on community heroes, so we chose the popular Nick Jr. show, Paw Patrol. The program combined a little bit of a playtime, a little bit of a storytime, and lots of fun. I had lots of various activities and stations set up around the room including: Pin the badge on the pup (made by one of my amazing staff using materials from the Nick Jr website) Community Helper dolls (from our circulating toy collection-we have three sets of  community helper action figures and…

Blogger Sarah Bean Thompson

Shaking Up Summer Storytimes

My library is storytime central. We’re the largest branch in our system and we’re the headquarters branch, which means lots of traffic. We also end up being “the toddler branch” which means huge numbers for storytime. My staff always joke we could do storytime every hour of every day and have a huge crowd at each session. We even hosted a day one summer where we ended up with storytime at 10, 11, 1 and 4 by accident of overlapping programming days and they were all full! This summer I’ve decided to shake up our storytimes just a bit. I’m trying something new and we’ll see how it goes. We discovered last year that the best use of our storytime and staff resources would be to repeat toddler storytimes on our busiest days. Our numbers for storytime climb even higher in the summer, we have an influx of people on…

Blogger Sarah Bean Thompson

Programming Over Breaks

This past week was our local schools Spring Break. We always see a spike in attendance and interest in programs during school breaks, so this year we decided to have something happening every day of the week. I focused on having things that were a balance of passive and come and go programs, regularly scheduled things as well as a couple that were more staff intensive. Our week looked like this: Monday: Lego Movie Build-a-long (we watched The Lego Movie and built with Legos) Tuesday-Storytimes (regularly scheduled programs), Super Smash Brothers Tournament for teens Wednesday-Storytimes (regularly scheduled programs), Scavenger Hunt Afternoon (a come and go event that featured various scavenger hunts throughout the library) Thursday-Crafternoon-(one for kids, one for teens, both come and go events where we put out various craft supplies and let the kids make whatever they want) Friday-Fairy Tale Bash (a more staff intensive program with lots…