Okay, fellow storytime librarians — you all know the lengthy preparations we take to ensure that our patrons attend the very best storytimes we can offer them. We choose books, songs, rhymes, and fingerplays. We make flannelboards and props. We create handouts and take-home information packets. We practice those literacy tips in the mirror until they sound natural and just roll off of our tongues.
Those are the expected practices.
But it’s time to talk about the unexpected preparations. The things you find yourself doing in the weeks, days, or minutes before your patrons get your undivided attention in your programming space. The untold stories of storytime prep.
Like planning your storytime wardrobe the night before and singing your opening song in front of the mirror so you can make sure that your clothes will move in an appropriate manner.
Or keeping a new storytime CD in your car and switching to it the minute a commercial break hits the radio waves. And letting your fellow travelers watch your awesome hand motions while stopped at a train crossing or a red light.
And packing an extra sweater to change into once “the storytime sweat” hits you. Which is always around thirty minutes after your performance is over and you’ve finished your clean-up routine.
Or running to Michael’s and being the first customer in line because you read an amazing last-minute idea the night before and you just KNOW it’s going to make your storytime ever better.
And giving up your front passenger seat for storytime outreach. And the immediate apology to guests in your car, “Hang on, let me move all my things. Sorry about the portable flannelboard.”
Or testing out new action songs for your sister’s dog. If he wags his tail and tries to jump in, surely it will work for the toddlers, right?
So, let it out! This past week, I demonstrated my storytime outfit dance for my storytime moms and not only did it make them laugh, I also think it made them realize the care and thought that I put into storytime. It made the program all the more special.
What are your unconventional storytime preparations? Do you also schedule a bathroom break ten minutes before you get started? Let me know in the comments!
– Katie Salo
Early Literacy Librarian
Indian Prairie Public Library