Blogger Katie Salo

Keeping Storytime Fresh for You!

My resolution: learning the ukulele. [Photo courtesy of the author, originally posted on Instagram.]
My resolution: learning the ukulele. [Photo courtesy of the author, originally posted on Instagram.]

It occurred to me the other day that this spring officially marks five years since I took over storytime.

While I’m feeling very reinvigorated since starting at my library almost a year ago, I know that keeping your storytimes fresh is an integral part of avoiding librarian burnout. Here’s some tips I brainstormed to freshen up your storytimes!

  • Take a break. Try to take some time off or have a co-worker cover you for a few weeks. Breaks are a great way to re-energize yourself and your storytimes.

  • Change your routine. If you’re been using the same six songs and you’re feeling bored, chances are your storytime patrons are feeling it too.

  • Read all of the picture books on the new shelf. Think of the ideas that might spark from new books!

  • Learn a new skill. If you’ve never tried live music or flannelboards, now is the time to give them a whirl. (My personal goal is to learn three ukulele songs this year!)

  • Visit another library’s storytimes. See if you can arrange a swap between a neighboring librarian and yourself to offer constructive criticism.

  • Attend a conference or training session. Being around other librarians can often spark new ideas and thoughts.

  • Introduce a new manipulative. Maybe it’s time to make some shaker eggs or invest in a parachute.

  • Randomize some of your choices. Make a song or rhyme cube. Throw all of the themes you’d like to do one day into a jar and pick them out a few weeks before.

  • Fall down a storytime rabbit hole online. Check out some new blogs. Watch a great Youtube playlist. Scour a Pinterest board.

  • Reach out to other librarians. Host a Guerrilla Storytime for local librarians. Organize a Prop/Flannelboard Petting Zoo.

What are your favorite ways to keep storytime fresh? Let me know in the comments.

– Katie Salo
Early Literacy Librarian
Indian Prairie Public Library


  1. Renee Perron

    I tried to take guitar lessons last year with the hope of adding that additional music element, besides singing and CD music, but I couldn’t keep up with the nightly practicing. I felt like a little kid going to my weekly lesson confessing how little I practiced.
    I’ve heard the ukulele might be a better match for learning simple songs in less time than the guitar so I’m on board with you Katie! That is my next goal. Anyone is need of a used guitar? šŸ™‚
    To get new ideas for story time, I love using pinterest to search for ideas. I have found new activties, new rhymes, and new children’s music.
    My new love is watching YouTube videos of Jbrary…tune in for storytime success. Dana and Lindsey, two children’s librarians, share great ideas for storytime. I learned a new way to incorporate scarves and nursery rhymes into the storytime with this video: Scarf Songs and Rhymes. The kids love it!

  2. Dianna Burt

    These are great suggestions Katie! I revamped my Storytime routine this fall and it’s been great. I focus on a new book and take it from there. It’s almost themeless. Which is a great departure for me. I love your website too!

  3. Holly Jin

    Thanks for these “refreshing” ideas, Katie!
    I picked up the ukulele last year. My husband bought me one for my birthday, and I got started with the help of Once you learn 3-4 chords you are able to play a lot of children’s songs. I still have a lot of practicing to do, but it’s great to be able to add some live music every once in a while.

  4. William

    Hey Katie,
    Thank you for the article, there are lots of things I learnt from I finally able to learn children’s songs. Now I am thinking to practice harder stuff. Let’s see how far I can go.

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