Competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Public Libraries

Teaching Children about Meditation

Frank Sileo and the APA’s Magination Press have provided a great tool for teaching children about meditation in an accessible, kid-friendly way:  Bee Still. When I first saw this book in my pile of new-to-me titles, I couldn’t wait to read it and add it to our shelves. Sileo teaches children how to benefit from focusing and being still; to stay present.

Cover art of the mediation for children title, Bee StillWe are immediately introduced to Bentley, a busy bee who decides to stop and meditate among his colony of fellow bees and other friends as they contemplate all that needs to be accomplished for the day. Bentley instills the importance of stopping, staying calm, and meditating.

What does this have to do with children in our libraries? Everything. Children, like adults, can often times feel hurried, scattered, stressed, frustrated, or even angry throughout their days, as they navigate the responsibilities of school and at home.

Meditation can help children:

  • Focus
  • Get calm/sense of tranquility
  • Breathe
  • Soothe tough emotions
  • Relieve stress and tension

Research is ongoing on the effectiveness of mindfulness and meditation as it relates to children, however the charity The Mindfulness in School Project (MiSP) is a comprehensive resource, including school case studies, published papers and other data on this topic. This charity provides training and curriculum to schools and teachers, based on research and published evidence. Find out how to be trained, try a free sample lesson, and share this resource with colleagues and school administrators.

As you prepare your next lesson, read aloud, storytime, or other special learning activities, consider the power of teaching meditation. As librarians, we often encourage lifelong learning, and learning as a tool for independence, for our patrons. Among our tools, we can teach self-checkout, shelving, Dewey Decimal system, book care, technology tips–the list goes on. Add meditation to your list; perhaps it will instill peace and calm into the children you serve and into your library.

Tips for teaching in the library:

  • Let children choose their seat, cushion, or carpet square
  • Promote a meditation leader, like Bentley, to conduct sessions with other children (after you have modeled your expectations, given several opportunities for practice, and shared the story of Bee Still)
  • Offer mats or other soft surfaces for rental/loan (keep a stock of cleaning wipes handy and teach children to also clean up after their meditation session for the next person)
  • Play calming music
  • Offer a “gathering space” of sorts–always available to get centered and away from distractions
  • Provide a “mediation menu,” to include activities for focusing (reading alone by the special nook, timed meditation, headphone checkout with soft music, mantra sheet/guide with uplifting phrases or words, focus center–to focus on breath, crafts, puzzles; calming or mediation apps)
  • Provide a “one school, one book” reading initiative sponsored by the school library with follow-up activity. Perhaps collaborate with the school counselor on this initiative.
  • Reflection and writing-children who are just learning to write can start with reading and learning the words “calm,” “focus,”  or “still”. Children who are reading or writing at higher levels can reflect on their meditation through journal writing, prompts, or even as an exit ticket for the day’s lesson.

You don’t need to be an expert, just have a willingness to try something new.

Headshot of April Moya; author of post about meditation
Photo courtesy of guest blogger

April Moyo is a Campus Library Manager at Central Piedmont Community College. Previously April was a  School Library Media Specialist and classroom teacher in the DC metropolitan area, working as an educator since 2006.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

This post addresses core competency III. Programming Skills.

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