I was a pint-sized model. In 4th grade, I read aloud storybooks to friends at an after school daycare center that I attended. At the time, I had no idea that this experience would prepare me for my career as a children’s librarian. And I certainly had no idea that I was imparting a love of reading to my listeners–my peers.
Speakers at today’s “Inspired Collaboration: Early Childhood Partnerships” made me recall this memory when they talked about how they recruit everyday library users to model experiences for potential library users. As a professional, you can tell patrons about a service and model it for them yourself. But sometimes people may feel most inspired to try something new when they see someone just like themselves doing an activity.
One of the presenters shared a story about how mothers in a housing community receive early literacy training. In turn, these mothers visit apartments within their building and train their neighbors.
Another presenter talked about how she invites a dedicated storytime mom and her two kids to attend outreach events for new library users. This experienced storytime family is on hand to help model how easy it is to share books with kids.
Not only is this a great way to spread the library’s message–but it’s a fantastic way to engage your knowledgeable patrons and make them feel like supermodels. Who knows? They may eventually make a career out of it!