Here is a story, told in pictures, of five things I wasn’t prepared for before I became a storytime librarian:
1. That I would chose to spend so much of my free time doing things I love that happen to relate to work.
First of all, this is 100% my choice to spend my time researching beginning readers and making flannelboards. And I wouldn’t do it if it didn’t make me happy.
Working with felt and sewing finger puppets have become my favorite way to relax. Seriously, I sewed a set of five little ballerinas during last year’s Stanley Cup play-offs and it was the only way I could avoid a panic attack while cheering on my team.
2. That I would suddenly develop the talent to make anything that I needed out of craft supplies.
Do you need a musical instrument? Give me two pieces of paper, two rubber bands, and two popsicle sticks and I will give you a harmonica. Do you need a traffic light prop for storytime? Easy — one piece of foam board, three small paper plates, three recycled paperclip boxes, three sheets of felt and hot glue.
How about a Frozen costume? I made my Princess Anna costume in about an hour and a half using discounted black fabric, a few felt sheets, a spool of ribbon, a $5 tshirt, and a recycled formal dress.
3. That I would become very conscientious about germ exposure!
My weekly routine involves taking our scarves home to wash after every use. (My library is lucky enough to have about 120 scarves — more than enough for multiple classes and a single weekly wash.)
My daily routine involves washing shaker eggs and wiping down board book pages. Lately, I’ve upped the game to include spraying the room with disinfectant and wiping down all surfaces (doors, cabinets, handles, counters, etc.). It may seem like a lot of work, but I want my little ones to stay healthy!
4. That I would never stop learning or wanting to learn new skills.
The great thing about storytime is that there are always new books and songs and rhymes to explore. I love finding a new favorite read-aloud and sharing it with my storytime families.
As you might guess with the picture, my big goal this year is to learn how to play the ukulele and to feel confident enough to perform in storytime! I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m slowly improving. I feel like I’ve finally got strumming down after a weekly practice session.
5. That I would feel such fulfillment and joy each day of work.
I have the best job in the world. I spend my days connecting preschoolers with books, dancing with toddlers, and watching babies grow up.
There is absolutely nothing better than seeing a child’s face light up when they see you and have them demand a hug. Or hearing about how a child insists on playing “Miss Katie” when they get home.
Obviously these are all pretty sweet things that I wasn’t prepared for (well, except for the germs!), but how about you? What were you unprepared for with storytime?
Let me know in the comments!
– Katie Salo
Early Literacy Librarian
Indian Prairie Public Library