The story time blahs. Whether you are new to the career and not quite in the groove of story time, or have some story time years under your belt… we can all get them at some point. I think they are categorized by dreading doing story time, feeling monotonous about your work, getting bored of your usual songs and or stories, or feeling stuck.
I myself have been in the blahs for much of the last few months. There are lots of outward things for me– transitioning to a new branch, an emotionally rough Fall, career disappointments, and also the love of a new program that takes a lot of energy. I am sure that you have may have your own reasons for feeling disconnected from the thing that so many of us love about working with children.
So, how do we recover? In a perfect world- we could jet off on a story time sabbatical to rediscover our love of story time, books, and maybe the love of ourselves. (Oh wait that’s the plot to my Eat Pray Love Spinnoff— Play, Read, Nap). But in the real world, we mostly suffer through the blahs while continually doing story time. It can be emotionally draining. I can’t solve all your problems, but I can offer here how I try to survive.
Recovery Steps for the Blahs:
- New Additions— is there something you could add to the story time like a prop you have never used? I love all Katie Salo’s posts about how to use props in story time. I have been using the parachute more and more in different programs and while it was intimidating, patrons love it and kids have so much fun.
- Switch up some favorites— I love making up new songs for story time– lots of songs share the same melody/rhythm and why not add your spin to them. Recently, I created my own version of BINGO using METRO for our train in DC! I cut the letters out in felt and we sing the song and say bye to the letters– and it’s super fun and relateable to their lives. I have countless versions of 5 little ducks– about penguins, whales, etc. That way children and families are familiar with the music of the song and can sing along more easily.
- Do some research— I love reading about how other librarians do story time. Read some blogs, source out ideas on Twitter, or ask colleagues for refreshing ideas. I have always wanted to do a story time dice, but thought my toddlers would ruin it, so I made the story time song spinner below! Now, in my last song– where I typically pull a song out of thin air, we can use the spinner to make our choice.
- Acknowledge the blahs. I think sometimes I get too used to putting a good spin (no pun intended to above) on work. I mostly have a cool job. I sing and read to kids, I get to act silly and am encouraged to use my imagination, and help people get the things they need. However, the job is hard, patrons can get prickly, and sometimes things are just rough. I tend to feel better if I just acknowledge that this part is hard— but it won’t always be this way.
- Reflection— Sometimes it’s good to think about why you like/love story time. What gets you the most excited? Is it sharing stories for young ones, singing songs, or maybe it’s building that community? Then take what you love, and find ways to maximize it in your program or find new ways to incorporate it. If you love the music element to story time, maybe add more dance, song, or movement to your program.
What do you do to combat the story time blahs? Please share in the comments below.
This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: Programming Skills