Blogger Katie Salo

Seven Reasons to go Beyond Storytime

Working hard on a craft at our “Welcome Spring” program.
[Image courtesy of the author.]
We all know that storytime is a core service for all libraries, but I’m here today to encourage you to go beyond storytime. Here’s the top seven reasons why I think there should be special programming for preschoolers.

1. Not every family can make it to storytime. Maybe there’s a time conflict or school conflict, whatever the reason, offering more programming options help meet patron needs.

2. We can’t do everything in a forty-five minute storytime. There’s not enough to play at every storytime, so programs like Toddler Drive-Ins and Family Fort Nights can also encourage imaginative play.

3. The library is a place to explore new concepts and to have new experiences. What better way than to try a new program once every season for your patrons?

4. Trying new programming can professionally recharge and refresh a librarian’s perspective. In a year-round storytime schedule, these preschool programs can be a breath of fresh air.

Measuring at a preschool STEAM program about size!
[Image courtesy of the author.]
5. Preschoolers are curious little sponges, waiting to soak up information and now is the time to introduce STEAM concepts and open-ended art projects, among so many other ideas.

6. Parents can’t always afford to pay for enrichment activities. The library can step in and meet that need, whether it’s a special event of ballet or yoga at the library.

7. And most importantly, because we do it for every other age group. Do you stop at only a reading-based program for grades K-5th? No. So, give those preschoolers the same opportunities as every kid in your library.

If you have more reasons to add to the list, feel free to leave a comment! And if you’re stuck on ideas, check out this previous ALSC post where I talked about some ideas.

– Katie Salo
Youth Services Manager
Melrose Park Library


  1. Renee

    I love your post! I absolutely agree with your reasons to provide preschool programming beyond the traditional storytimes. Reason #1: Not every family can make it to storytime, I feel is a very important one. I know most preschool storytimes are held on weekday mornings. I have had many parents at my library inquire about programs for their preschool age child and then respond with a sad response of “Oh, we can’t come becuase I work during the day and my child is in child care.” Why fault working parents who want to provide an enriching learning experience for their child at the library just because they work during the week? That is when programs on nights and weekends can fill that gap. The library should provide a variety of programs at various times of the day/week/weekend to meet the needs of all times of working and non-working parents. But to be realistic, we try the best we can with the staff and resources we have.

    I know I am taking the opportunity this summer for the Summer Reading Program theme of Fizz! Boom! Read! to start some STEAM programs, which will be a first for me. STEAM Saturdays is an idea I have been throwing around. This will allow families who work during the week the opportunity to participate in a library program. I also like how this will give me more time to do a project/activity/experiment than the traditional 10-15 minutes I usually have for a craft or activity at the end of my Tuesday morning preschool story time.

  2. Renee

    Another reason why I think there should be special programming for preschoolers:

    8. For opportunities to educate parents and caregivers about what learning can look like for young children. Just as storytime models to parents and caregiver how to read a book to children, how to encourage critical thinking skills through questioning, how to build on pre-reading skills, etc., additional preschool programming can model how learning looks through early childhood education. Families can come to a program such as a Alphabet Games night and learn about how they can incorporate learning letters into fun activities that they can easily do at home. Literacy Book Bags that allow children to borrow a book that includes an extension activity with it gives parents ideas of how they can take a book and do more with it than just read it.

    We aren’t just teaching the child, we are teaching the whole family.

  3. Pingback: Family Fort Nights FTW - ALSC BlogALSC Blog

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