Blogger Liza Purdy

A Little Marie Kondo for the Children’s Department

You all know Marie Kondo, right? She of the Spark Joy fame? I love watching her shows on Netflix. I just watched a new season last week, and it inspired me to think about decluttering our library’s programs a bit, now that our Fall session is underway. We are still in a strange “not quite where we used to be, but not mid-pandemic either” place, so I thought it would be a good time to reflect on activities that we embraced during the pandemic to see whether they are worth keeping. What changes did we make that the public really embraced? What did we love as a staff? What is everyone just OVER?

  • Virtual StorytimeNO! This one was such a HUGE deal for us all. We moved from streaming storytime daily on Facebook Live at the outset of the pandemic, to doing a combo of Facebook Live and Zoom, then just to Zoom, then just YouTube premieres. Finally, this semester, we are 100% back in person for Storytime. Granted, these storytimes are held outdoors on our sidewalks and patios, but they are IN PERSON. We watched our virtual storytime numbers plunge as the pandemic wore on. Time to cut these guys loose.
  • Other Virtual ProgrammingYES!  Despite being quite through with virtual storytime, we decided to keep some other virtual programming. Each semester, we try to do one fun video. We’ve done elaborate music videos in the past. We’ve done entirely DIY, bilingual puppet shows. We’ve done STEAM and craft tutorials and tons and tons of storytime stretchers for our YouTube Channel (like and subscribe!). We will keep going with these! We’re going to streamline our processes, and film mostly when we’re on programming breaks between the seasons. This type of video has been a hit, and we see no reason to stop.
  • Grab and Go KitsNOT REALLY.  This one is tough. The public loves grab and go craft kits, but they take SO much staff time to prepare. It was one thing to do them while our buildings were closed to the public, but now that we are open, there’s just not enough time. We have returned to weekly in-person, outdoor craft-along programs. I am going to order some extra brown paper lunch bags, and if folks are uncomfortable staying to craft with us, they can grab the necessary supplies themselves and pop it in the bag and head home! If they are really uncomfortable or unable to grab the supplies themselves, we can make up a bag for them and deliver it curbside upon request.
  • Hula Hoops- YES! We have used Hula Hoops as social distancing aids to help promote social distance during programming. We lay them on the patio at appropriate distance as we set up for storytime. These have been a big hit with our 0-5 crowd. It seems to really help kids know where their home base is while the programs are still being held outside. Some of our branches prefer to have folks bring their own blankets or camping chairs. It all works!
  • Microphones for Storytime- YES! These are quite necessary while doing outdoor programming, but there is little doubt that we will carry on with them once we return indoors. There is nothing more damaging to vocal chords than trying to project over the noise that often erupts during children’s programming. Save your voices, friends!
  • Limiting paper flyers YES! Our school districts still are not accepting paper flyer promotions, so we are just emailing them pdfs. We are printing up a smaller amount to hand out in-house. This really helps cut down on printing costs, and saves a bunch of unnecessary waste. I have a feeling that pdfs are going to be standard moving forward.

What changes have you made that you plan to keep? What are you ditching? I’d love to hear in the comments!

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