Blogger Katie Salo

Taking a Break!

Currently, at my library we are on a storytime break! That means for two weeks, I will not be doing my regular morning storytime session. We have five sessions a year of seven or eight weeks. [For those interested, these are the sessions that I traditionally do: Winter (Dec-Jan), Spring I (late Feb-Mar), Spring II (mid Apr-May), Summer (mid Jun-early Aug), and Fall (Sept-Oct).]

As the only librarian in my library who does storytime (and that’s not my only responsibility!), these breaks give me time to re-cooperate from one session and to plan the next session in its entirety. Also, it gives me time to cull our registration list — if patrons are signed up but do not attend any weeks during the session, I’m able to move people up on our waitlist.

Recently, I’ve been wondering about whether other small libraries take storytime breaks like this and why you might do so! Do any mid-sized or large libraries also take storytime breaks? Let me know in the comments!

– Katie Salo
Youth Services Manager
Melrose Park Library


  1. Amy S.

    Arlington Public Library in Arlington, Texas has 7 branches and we take breaks from story times in August, December and May.

    1. KathyK

      We also take breaks in May, August and December.

  2. Jennifer Wharton

    I take complete program breaks – I’d go insane otherwise! It changes a little every year, but generally I start the week after school starts (2nd week of Jan) and go through May. Then we have summer reading mid-June through mid-Aug. Fall starts the 2nd week of September and goes through the 2nd week of Dec. We don’t do programs the week of July 4th or Thanksgiving. I do something a little different for Spring Break every year, but I’m thinking of making that a no program week.

    As far as library size – I have a person from the school who comes in to do 2 toddler storytimes and a baby storytime (not a lapsit) each week. She also does evening storytime twice a month. I do preschool storytime and our afterschool program every week, plus other special programs and subbing for my colleague as needed. In the fall I’ll be taking over Friday storytimes as well. And, of course, I do everything else that comes with being the only youth services librarian in a town of 10,000, total service pop. 23,000. FYI, we’re probably going to hit 10,000 in our program attendance this year.

  3. Lisa Jenn Bigelow

    Thank goodness for breaks. Our “seasons” vary in length, from 7 weeks to more like 12, with 2 or 3-week breaks in between. During the school year, we offer 9 programs per week (split among babies, toddlers, younger preschoolers, and older preschool/kindergarten), with duties spread among 4 librarians. If I had to do all our storytimes I’d go nuts. Doing it three times a week is hard enough! We have a scaled-back schedule during summer. We’re a mid-size library, BTW. We officially cover two towns totaling 30,000 people, but we get a lot of patrons from surrounding towns, too.

  4. Samantha

    Our library goes by seasons Winter (Dec-Feb) Spring (Mar-May) Summer (June-Aug) Fall (Sep-Nov). We do 2 months of Storytime and the 3rd month we do a Playgroup which is less planning and prep for us. We spend the 3rd month catching up on work, cleaning toys, and plan for the next session. August is when we don’t have any programs at all so we can take vacations and relax from Summer Reading.

  5. Allison Madsen

    I would go insane without the breaks, but my storytime parent’s don’t like them. I am from a library in a system of 18 branches. I do 4 sessions of a toddler storytime and my coworker does 3 sessions of a typical preschool (ages 3-5) storytime a week. When asked why the breaks, I try to polietly explain about all the other hats I wear at the library. We have had one complaint actually go to my branch manager(who supported me thank goodness!) I would hold firm and keep your breaks. The public will take/expect as much as you give them, so make sure you protect yourself. Here is an Unshelved that I thought was especially poignant.

  6. Marge Loch-Wouters

    Good for you for taking breaks! I am a huge believer in program series breaks. It gives staffers energy to re-charge; time to explore and invent other cool program initiatives and make room for service to other age groups (class visits, programs for adults on children’s issues, school visits, etc). We run five sessions of five weeks each of storytime annually (yep, just half the year, folks) and find our sessions full and our energy to invent cool stuff sky high!

  7. Sarah West

    At Pickering Public Library (5 branches) We take the week after March Break off, the month of June, two weeks at the beginning of september, the month of december. We get complaints every year about this but it is necessary for the staff. We have 11 staff that do programs in our system but we still need that time off to plan and do other things…like weeding, training etc.

  8. Erin

    I do two preschool storytimes and one baby storytime a week. I take breaks with the baby storytime (it lasts 6 weeks, then I get a few weeks off), but preschool storytime is every week without any real breaks. During June and July, we offer celebrity storytime once a week where local celebrities (like firemen and policemen) come in to read. I’m still present and planning/leading the storytimes, but I’m not actually reading, so that’s as much of a break as I get.

    I love storytime and have yet to feel burnout with it, so I don’t mind not having breaks. However, I’d like to offer more programs at the library (we are in a town of 100,000), but as the sole children’s librarian, I already got my hands full with what I do offer.

  9. Liz Delzell

    I go on break after storytime tomorrow! 🙂 I love doing storytime, but I really look forward to the break. I do four storytimes a week for six weeks at time and we have seven sessions a year (with one week breaks between them all, except prior to summer… we take all of May off). Like others have said, our parents don’t love the breaks – but I sure do! I need it – like Katie, I am the only librarian that does storytimes and I have a lot of other things that I am responsible for as well. It helps to have time to get those things in order.

    What I need to do this time around is get all the storytimes planned out and get the materials together – I have yet to do that on a break! 🙂

  10. Pingback: Why Take Storytime Breaks? - ALSC BlogALSC Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *