I spoke a little bit about our new storytime mascot, Applesauce, on my last post here at the ALSC blog. Today I want to spend a little bit of time talking about why I decided to get a storytime mascot — to create a storytime tradition at my library.
My library is a medium sized public library, just two towns away from a library school, and it’s located in a very urban area. All of this, I believe, leads to a lot of job roll-over and changes in our staffing. Since I’ve been at the library, *SIX* different librarians/library assistants have been in charge of storytime duties.
When I took over storytime in the fall of 2009, I wanted to first get my bearings, build our attendance numbers, and then I wanted to re-assess what was needed. Once I accomplished those first goals, I really found that what my community needed was stability — in staffing, in days/times storytime was offered, in structure of the storytime, etc. And while I can’t promise to work there for the next thirty years, I can create some traditions to carry on even after I leave.
I was greatly inspired by my friend Sharon, and her library’s storytime mascot Miss Mouse. Miss Mouse has been enhancing storytime (and the library as a community) for over 25 years! I definitely encourage you to read Sharon’s post about this amazing tradition.
Applesauce was my small beginning to start our own storytime mascot tradition. And already I am seeing the benefit of having him at storytime — shy preschoolers who light up when Applesauce interacts with them and kids who shout out “Applesauce” even if they can’t say many other words in English.
Even though most days I feel like a storytime veteran, there’s always more to learn and do to make storytime a better experience for our patrons!
Do you have any storytime traditions in your library? If so, I’d be very interested to hear about them!
– Katie Salo
Youth Services Manager
Melrose Park Library
We’ve had a monkey puppet mascot for years at my library. His name is Bobo and even 5th graders (sometimes older) remember him from their years in storytime. The current storytime goers always want to say ‘hi’ to him when just visiting the library. Bobo greets everyone at the door for each storytime and he sings a “Welcome” song at the beginning of each song.
Two years ago, we really took Bobo and “branded” him. He’s the focal point of our kids’ website and he’s on our library cards (for kids or teachers). Using Bobo on these promo items has really helped identify our Children’s department as a fun experience and easy way to locate items pertaining to our website.
Miss Mouse asked me to tell you that she is happy you have Applesauce. And she knows the boys and girls in your library are too.
Applesauce is adorable!
I have the Folkmanis “Rabbit in the Hat” puppet. I use him at the beginning of every storytime. I say the words “Bunny bunny in the hat waaaaay down low…Won’t you come out and say hello?” Then I have the kids say the magic words “I Love Books” with me and the rabbit pops out to sing a song to them. Their little faces light up EVERY time!
How simple and fun! Thanks for sharing, Kim! Do you mind if I copy you? I have that puppet too, and he isn’t getting nearly as much attention as he deserves.
I have a squirrel mascot for my storytime, named nutmeg. Nutmeg also greets each child after we sing our hello song by going around the room so the children can hug and pet him. They love Nutmeg so much and saying hi before each storytime is an important part of the program for them 🙂
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I have a Sesame Street style puppet named Amanda that I use at each storytime. She has a lot of different outfits for the different seasons. Some of the children love her, others are afraid of her. When I read your posts, I wonder if perhaps an animal puppet at the very beginning when the kids first come in would be better.
I have an adorable dog puppet named Scruffy from Amaze Healing Wings. I use him most often when I visit preschools. Scruffy is like Miss Mouse (and maybe Applesauce) in that he doesn’t speak – he uses body language to show how he feels and whispers things to me that I can share with the group. What’s unique about Scruffy is that he has a removable heart that was made with the intent to hold scripture for Sunday school, but when I use him for the Library it holds Scruffy’s library card. The kids guess what Scruffy loves most about the Library and then we tickle him and see what he’s holding in his heart.
Scruffy also likes to teach children how to approach a real dog (with a closed fist for sniffing) and to pet the back (never the face). Sometimes Scruffy tells me what the kids’ hands smell like. They love to hear that he thinks their hands smell like peanut butter and pickle sandwiches!
I would like to introduce a storytime mascot. My niece living in Illinois told me about Miss Mouse, and I love her excitement about the whole experience. I want to incorporate some new traditions at my library. We already have an established opening routine, so I am currently trying to figure out how to segue naturally into featuring the mascot more and more as part of the opening routine. Applesauce is adorable.