Blogger Katie Salo

Storytime Training Bootcamp Guide

So you want to train someone to do storytime? I’m here to tell you all the secrets of storytime training.

Okay. There aren’t really any secrets. But I will tell you how my library developed and successfully implemented a storytime (and programming!) training plan. I would incredibly remiss if I didn’t mention how much of this was designed and supported by my immediate supervisor and the rest of the members of the Kids and Teens department. You know who you are — thanks!!

Storytime Training Plan (in four parts)

Training Meeting
Since we were training two staff members (who haven’t previously done storytime), my supervisor asked me to write a storytime planning guide and present it at our monthly staff meeting. I had written a similar guide when I left my previous job. I just updated it with new relevant posts to read and current library storytime procedures. I included a wide variety of blog posts for new staff to read since everyone has their own storytime style.

A screenshot of the "Quick Guide to Storytime" storytime training guide. Photo courtesy of the author.
A screenshot of the “Quick Guide to Storytime”. Photo courtesy of the author.

Then, we sent our newest co-workers out to see a storytime performed by one of our veterans! This was an awesome chance for them to see how a provider interacts with parents and caregivers and adapts to the crowd’s needs. They also had to watch my YOLO Presentation entitled Early Lit 101. These building blocks helped prepare them to write their own storytime plans for the next step.

Me, reading to Applesauce, an easier storytime training audience. Photo courtesy of Andrea Sowers.
Me, reading to Applesauce, my storytime mascot. Photo courtesy of Andrea Sowers.

Performing & Feedback
Here’s where we really got into the training. Each new staff member presented a storytime to four librarians. And the librarians acted the part of true children to simulate the storytime experience. That included me running around my supervisor while she was on her phone during Toddler Storytime and also involved me taking my shoe off to show my teacher in Preschool Storytime. I’d like to think that we also broke the ice and became less scary while acting like kids. Afterwards, the librarians filled out a rubric and we had a meeting with each new staff member to discuss positives and areas to work on. I’m willing to bet that a puppet was an easier audience than us though!

More Observation & Planning
And that brings me to where our new staff members are now. They are currently observing at least three more storytimes in our fall session. They are also planning (but not performing) a seven week session of any programming — storytimes or otherwise — that they would like to do. And they have assigned storytime classes for our winter storytime session.

I’m really excited to see where our newest staff members will go! They’ve already proven themselves to be incredibly up to the challenge and I am so thankful that they have been open to learning storytime — I truly work in a wonderful library.

How do you train new staff members on storytime? Do you have any tricks of the trade for storytime training? Let me know in the comments!

[Oh, and if you want to see the Quick Guide to Storytime, it’s available here on the ALSC blog. Thanks!]

– Katie Salo
Early Literacy Librarian
Indian Prairie Public Library


  1. Lisa

    What a great bootcamp! And I thought our training was rigorous… I have some new ideas for my newbies! Mwah ha ha! 🙂

    1. Katie Salo Post author

      You’re welcome! I hope that the ideas help you out.

  2. Robyn Burns

    Thanks so much! I am just starting this exact sort of training tomorrow. 🙂

    1. Katie Salo Post author

      Good luck! I hope everything works out!

      1. Robyn Burns

        It was great Katie – so much good feedback from the staff. Mostly they enjoyed the boost to their confidence, and the chance to share tips with other presenters. I have another group eager to do the training very soon.

        1. Katie Salo Post author

          I’m glad to hear it!

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