A Field Guide to the Story Time Blahs

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.

Instruments in Storytime

Today’s installment of storytime props is instruments in storytime. (Previous posts: Parachute in Storytime, Scarves in Storytime, and Egg Shakers in Storytime.) Instruments are such a fun topic, with a huge array of different kinds of instruments; I could spend all day writing about them. But let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start… (Kudos to anyone now singing “Do, Re, Mi” from The Sound of Music. What instruments do you have at the library? Mostly percussion instruments: gathering drums, sound drums, rhythm sticks, bells, Boomwhackers, hand shakers (including egg shakers and maracas), and some miscellaneous (xylophone, two sets of finger cymbals, sandpaper blocks, tambourines). How do you take instruments out? The same way that I do egg shakers; the instruments are always in a container and I pass them out one by one. How do you store the instruments?: In plastic bins or fabric bins,…

Community Storytimes Support Library Advocacy

I work in an urban environment, nestled tightly into a downtown grid, separated from many communities where families live. We face an assortment of barriers, most notably parking expenses and easy public transit access, that limit the availability of our kids area for those families who live in our service area. Barriers to access such as these are well known to many of you, I am sure, and they amplify the need to reach out into surrounding communities. This outreach is a part of our daily lives. And, hey, it’s also library advocacy! We meet families where they are. Through our programming we highlight the importance of early learning for families and community partners. We’re building relationships with stakeholders who gain a better understanding of our role in their lives and develop support for the library in the communities we serve. Although there are many ways we program throughout our…

Children’s Librarians are Experts at Always Improving our Storytimes (Baby Storytime to be exact)

When I started as a children’s librarian, I didn’t know much about doing storytime, and I knew even less about working with babies. I haven’t been around a lot of babies in my life, so the idea of baby storytime, for children ages birth to 24 months, was one of my nightmares. Fortunately–for my professional development, but unfortunately for my nerves–I had a boss who encouraged me to do baby storytime. Throughout the entire process of planning and executing storytime, I was nervous; thoughts of failure and self-doubt were always running through my mind. The babies seemed unimpressed with the songs and rhymes and it felt like I wasn’t helping them learn anything.

Grown-ups Are People Too. #alsc18 #act4kids

Do you work with small children and their caregivers?  Then this presentation is for you!  Julie Crabb from Anythink Libraries showed off her tricks to engaging caregivers and making them WANT to attend your programs. Step 1: Make slight adjustments to what you are currently doing.  Can you add in a pop song or one that caregivers will recognize?  An excellent suggestion from the audience was that just about every nursery rhyme can be set to the song We Will Rock You.  The Jbrary YouTube channel has a great example of All the Little Babies set to the tune of All the Single Ladies.  You may ask why to do something like this.  Grown-ups will leave your program with ear worms, which will lead to more grown-ups singing in their homes. Step 2-Research your city and events.  What’s hot for parents?  Does your community offer a coffee story time?  How…

Daddy & Me: A Partnership with Brooklyn Public Library and NYC Department of Corrections

On any given day, the New York City Jails have a population of almost ten thousand inmates.* The Brooklyn Public Library, along with the New York Public Library, have dedicated outreach teams that provide library services through a partnership with the NYC Department of Corrections. In addition to offering library lending services inside the facilities, the library has attempted to create ways to connect the people who are detained to their families and communities. This includes the library Televisit program, which allows families to visit select library locations in order to communicate to incarcerated individuals via video chats, and the Daddy & Me Program that takes place in the jail facilities. Recently I joined my colleague Nick Franklin, the coordinator of Jail and Prison Services for the Brooklyn Public Library, on a bus trip to the NYC Jail located on Rikers Island. We were on our way to Family Day,…