My library has a very exciting new storytime series going on this summer: Sunset Stories. This weekly evening storytime is a drop-in program taking place on the library’s lawn for all ages. But what makes this program special in my opinion is that the staff will be rotating storytime duties and all Youth Services employees were offered the chance to plan and perform their own week of Sunset Stories.
I love this for a number of reasons:
- It gives all of our staff the chance to develop their storytime skills. We have paraprofessionals, new professionals, managers, librarians, and associates all doing storytime this summer. This is furthering the development of our staff by adding another skill to their repertoire or giving them a chance to step out of their normal job responsibilities.
- It’s giving our patrons the opportunity to see a new storyteller every week. This will keep the program fresh and exciting. Additionally, it’s letting them see what a talented and varied staff we have.
- While I’m still coordinating the entire session (by making handouts and developing a few repeating elements), it’s taking the entire program off of my shoulders. I’m already doing four other storytimes a week and it’s beyond nice to be able to have help and feel supported!
I kicked off tonight’s inaugural session in our rain location and had a great time reading interactive books with the families. I hope that next week’s group and storytime performer get to enjoy the amazing summer weather I know Illinois has to offer!
Have you ever rotated a storytime series between different performers? Let me know!
– Katie Salo
Early Literacy Librarian
Indian Prairie Public Library
We rotate presenters in our weekly Preschool Explorers series because there were so many different kinds of preschool programs we wanted to offer but felt it would be overkill & too staff intensive to offer them all weekly. The storytime rotates between traditional storytime, Wee Dance (storytime concentrated on movement and music) and Preschool Lab (STEM storytime). I’m trying to figure out what we’ll do this coming school year because we’re considering adding another preschool storytime session and I don’t know if it should repeat what we’re doing in Preschool Explorers or be something different.
This is such a great idea. I love that you’re letting the kids in your community see loads of different storytellers.
I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the issue of diversity in libraries and how it relates to storytime. Riding the coattails of the We Need Diverse Books campaign and ALA’s Diversity Leadership Initiative, I think we need to give some serious thought about staff diversity in our storytimes and early childhood programming. Rotating the duties across the whole library staff seems like a great opportunity to expose kids to increased diversity in adults who enjoy reading.
When kids see a wide variety of adults being excited about books, they get the message that all types of people can and do enjoy reading. Sometimes I wonder if we see so many reluctant readers who are boys because there are so few men working in early childhood education (and library YS). I have had numerous parents and grandparents praise me for being a man who enjoys books and shares with kids at storytimes. This tells me that our kids are seriously lacking diverse reading role models. We seriously owe it to our youngest library patrons to let them see that print motivation is not unique to one cultural/gender group.