My library is storytime central. We’re the largest branch in our system and we’re the headquarters branch, which means lots of traffic. We also end up being “the toddler branch” which means huge numbers for storytime. My staff always joke we could do storytime every hour of every day and have a huge crowd at each session. We even hosted a day one summer where we ended up with storytime at 10, 11, 1 and 4 by accident of overlapping programming days and they were all full!
This summer I’ve decided to shake up our storytimes just a bit. I’m trying something new and we’ll see how it goes. We discovered last year that the best use of our storytime and staff resources would be to repeat toddler storytimes on our busiest days. Our numbers for storytime climb even higher in the summer, we have an influx of people on vacation, teachers, and families who only can come to storytime in the summer. In order to accommodate everyone without having to require registration, we opted to add additional toddler storytimes and it worked out great.
Our preschool storytimes, while well attended, just don’t seem to have as much of an increase. We have a lot of preschoolers, but they also get busy with lessons, classes, and more. I thought about what our preschool families want in addition to storytime-more programming for the preschool crowd-and added that into the mix.
Our summer schedule will be:
Monday-Baby Storytime for infant-18 months
Tuesday & Wednesday-2 back to back storytimes 0-36 months, 1 storytime for 3-6
Every Other Saturday-all ages storytime
Fandom Jr! Fandom Jr. came out of a brainstorm with a staff member who wanted to do a Doc McStuffins program. We do a Fandoms program for the teens and we often to programs for the tweens based on Fandoms, so why not create a weekly drop in program with some storytime elements and make that another preschool option for summer? The idea will be to bring kids in with the subject (pirates & princesses, Elephant and Piggie, Paw Patrol) and then use that as a starting point to show them what the library has to offer. We chose our themes with the idea of creating a broader program in mind and we’re hoping we can get the kids and parents to not just walk away with some character themed books and activities, but with some connections too.
We’ll see how it goes. I think it will be lots of fun and it’s something new to add to our programming. And with it lasting two hours and being a drop in program, we can accommodate large attendance and have more in depth activities that we aren’t always able to do in the shorter time frame of storytime.
Fingers crossed our idea works and we have a blast this summer with our Fandoms Jr!