What We’ve Been Doing in Storytimes Lately and How It’s Worked Out

For a variety of reasons, this fall we have converted almost entirely to drop-in storytimes, which means we never have any idea how many kids are going to show up. A couple of the storytimes have age limits, but most of them are all-ages, so we have no idea what age the children will be, either.

This has been interesting.

How I’m handling this is at the beginning of the week,  I pack a storytime bag with a lot of different books and puppets and flannel board stories and a list of rhymes. This way, I have a lot of things to choose from when the kids are in front of me, and I just kind of wing it. This has been working out well.

Jason and I are doing some of the storytimes together, and for those, we do talk in advance about at least one thing we’ll do in tandem. Our latest tandem discovery is I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. I read the bear’s part, and Jason reads all the other animals. This is a book with a twist, which not all the kids understand–it’s a bit subtle–but the ones who got it cracked right up. Because it’s funny. And a bit evil. And funny. (A shout out to Jules for letting me know about this book. She told me I would love it, and she was right.)

Another new thing we’ve done this season is put on three Preschool Dance Parties. We stole this idea from the Fairport Public Library, which is something we like to do with some regularity because those children’s librarians in Fairport are awesome. Anyway, how we did this is we made a half-hour playlist of kids’ music from CDs in our collection, played it for the kids, and danced. We’ve had a TON of kids coming–the response really surprised me. The songs that have worked best for us are the ones that have clear motions, songs like “The Mack Chicken Dance” off Big Fun by Greg & Steve (so much fun to use in any storytime) , “If You’re Happy and You Know It” off Indian Elephant Tea by The Big Kidz Band (one of the best kids’ CDs ever made, in my opinion), “Jumping and Counting” off The Irrational Anthem by Jim Gill (totally heart Jim Gill),  and “Clap Your Hands!” off No! by They Might Be Giants. It’s a fun program and a way to draw attention to kids’ music, which we have a really huge and–I’m going to go ahead and brag–excellent collection of here at WPL.

October is going to be an interesting month in storytimes because I’m going to be on vacation for a week, and then Jason’s going to be on vacation for two weeks, so we’ll each be doing all the storytimes during the times the other one is off. This sounded like a fantastic idea in August, but like so many things in life, it seems more daunting as it gets closer.

Thank goodness Terri got us a really good coffee maker this summer.

8 thoughts on “What We’ve Been Doing in Storytimes Lately and How It’s Worked Out

  1. Yay for drop-in storytimes! The same thing happens with me regarding age differences and honestly I think it makes me a better librarian as I am more on my toes and less complacent.

  2. It is more challenging, for sure. It’s been encourage me to come up with some new material, too. It’s so easy to just kind of lean on the same stuff over and over, which has its value with small children, but it’s also good to stretch and keep things fresh.

  3. Abby, I could stardo some posts about that. Actually, maybe I’ll ask my colleague Jason to write a guest post, too, because he’s been listening to a lot of kids’ music lately. He’s also been buying the collection for the last year or so.

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