Polling the group, again, some more

Once again I ask for your expertise. You've never let me down before. (Aaaaand now I have Shrek singing in my head. Perfect.)

The director left, as you may remember, and took her big Storytime program attraction with her. So now we're trying to come up with something that is simple enough to keep us from killing ourselves, since we can't hire any more staff to take this on, but fun enough to keep the children from stoning us. I just want to live, basically. And the trick is that hers was always such a massive production, and we can't do massive anymore, but none of us really have experience with putting together something normal.

So. It's coming together. The basic bones of what I have in mind is one Toddler Time for the 0-2 crowd (since the mommies love it) and one Story Time for the 3-5 group. There will be activity songs and stories and puppets, etc.

I'm getting input from neighboring libraries and observing what they're doing. But I'd like to hear from you as well, since I imagine lots of you have seen good (and bad) storytimes at your own libraries. What have you liked? What have your kids liked? What have you seen that has been simple but effective? What is the basic routine of your storytimes?

On another work-related note, I just bought myself a 2008 desk calendar. Because by gum I'm going to have something pretty and handmade to look at this year. There were so very many to choose from, and it was not easy to pick just one. I kind of wanted them all, and maybe I could just have them in four different locations like the filthy capitalist that I am. And I could lean back and look at them while I throw dollar bills into the fire. But after consulting the Circle of Truth I believe I've made the right choice--Annacote's 2008 Screen/Gocco Printed Botanical Calendar, available at her Etsy shop.

I'm pretty sure I'll be more likely to drag myself to work in the mornings if I know this darling thing is waiting there for me.


Janssen said... [reply]

Gorgeous calendar. I love it. I need to come work at your library, I can tell, just to see it.

TheMoncurs said... [reply]

Unfortunately, I have nothing to contribute to the story time question since I haven't yet felt the need to take my fetus to the library (maybe after he's born in Feb).

BUT, I loooove that calendar. Gorgeous! You made an excellent choice.

Jenny said... [reply]

I really like the month of October. I wasn't feeling it before, but it looks quite nice now.

Anonymous said... [reply]

L**** has a wonderful childrens theater progam called "Unicorn Theater" I was involved in that up until I graduated from High School. I remember doing volunteer stuff at librabries ie, story time. We loved it because it was like performing ( on a much smaller scale) and it was great service, it helped the library withouth them having to pay us, and the kids loved it as well. You might want to look into that. They are based out of the AVA at the Bullen Center on Main Street. ALSO I took a story telling class at USU taught by David Sidwell, I think his name was... so he may have some volunteers for you as well.. just a few suggestions..

Sunday said... [reply]

As a newbie librarian, I can commiserate. I just had an epiphany last week, while doing a craft. I've always turned them into big productions, with lots of options for maximum creativity. I figured out that kids are totally content making something like the prototype, without too many options (that's when they freeze).

Storytime is the same (especially the little-uns). I have two storytimes, 1-3 and 3+, and the 1-3 crowd does baaaasically the same thing every week. I read v. simple stories aloud, we do finger rhymes, we sing songs, we read another book, then there's some free play with toys (mostly donations from parents).

The 3+ group is basically the same, only with more intricate stories, more complicated songs and rhymes, and a SIMPLE craft at the end.

Email me anytime for book/program/general ideas or questions!

Rynell said... [reply]

I have attended storytime (with offspring) at numerous librarires. Some are great. Some are not. Some are staffed by volunteers, some are staffed by well, staff.
I prefer a story time that moves along and doesn't drag. Moving between acticities and remembering that kids have a short attendion span are vital.

We now go to a local storytime that is a big production with a sound system, a magic story blanket to sit on, a letter of the day, songs, puppet theater and a book read aloud. The kids go home with a die cut letter of the day and a coloring sheet that corresponds to the letter of the day and/or the storybook. It is fun and it is only about 20 or 25 minutes long. The kids love it. I get a little tired of the sing-songy voice and the crowd. (It has a large following...) But is a very fun for the kids. I don't think I would like a craft done in the library. Crafts seem better suited for the kitchen table where you can manage (ie mop up) glue, glitter and the like.

There you have it, don't know if that was quite what you were looking for...

Bridget said... [reply]

Ah, Storytime.

The most important piece of advice I would give you is that the person who is actually up there leading the storytime MUST be excited, involved, and animated. Or at least must be really good at pretending to be. Trust me, the exact same storytime program will fail if the leader is bored about it but will succeed spectacularly if their enthusiasm is contagious.

As for specific program ideas, I think simpler is better. The kids don't care that much. The Toddler Time at our library alternates quiet songs with action songs, and puts the quiet songs up against the two stories that are read during the 40 minutes so the kids settle down a little.

And last of all, remember: Hap Palmer is your new best friend.

Angie said... [reply]

*Have a couple of simple routines to start out/end the storytime (if you search LM_Net, PUBYAC, or probably even Google you will find lots of stuff out there. Kids like the repetition and familiarity.
*See if you can ILL (or purchase, as your budget may allow) some of the Storytime books from Upstart. They have some easy craft ideas and fingerplays to go along with bibliographies of stories. You may not always have the exact book they mention but the themes always help.
*I've got probably 5 or 6 months worth of storytimes I planned when I worked in a public library. I'm a total stranger who lurks on this blog 8] but you are welcome to them.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Angie, are you serious??? Because I will take those things from you in a heartbeat. And possibly bake you a birthday cake. If you'll email me at miss.nem at gmail.com we can work out the deets.

FoxyJ said... [reply]

Simpler is always better, especially for the younger crowd. With the little guys they need lots of songs and short, easy books. At our old storytime in Orem they often had things like little maracas or stuffed animals for some of the kids to hold during the songs. I've never seen a craft at story time, although sometimes I've seen them hand out coloring pages to take home. seem kind of involved for me, especially with little ones.

Like someone said, an enthusiastic person doing the storytime does all the difference. I'd advertise for volunteers and see if you can get someone consistent who will do a good job. You never know.

Anonymous said... [reply]

Our last library did a lapsit story time (for the) younger crowd). Read a few HUGE story time books (where do you find books that are the size of my car door?) and then sing a few songs with finger play, and then about 15 min of free play.

Now we go to an awesome library that has things like mini monets (art for little kids) once a week and Music and movement (several times a day staffed by staff and volunteers). Their storytime is also a combo of staff and volunteers. And they also do a storytime for the younger crowd.

Regular story time is the same basic recipe - Each week they have a theme. Autumn, alphabet soup, days of the week, brushing your teeth, etc) They start out reading stories and singing fun songs for about 15 minutes. After that they do a simple craft.

For brushing your teeth the kids colored a simple teeth brushing chart/calendar and then glued on a colored piece of construction paper on the back. Alphabet soup was a paper plate with a circle of 'soup' (off white colored paper) and then they glued on foam letters (you can find in most craft stores). They love these simple crafts. Whats not to love? They get to use glue sticks and color.


Jen said... [reply]

I don't have any experience with older kids...but what I CAN say for the 0-2 story times I've been to.... Songs. With. HandMotions. They're genius. Also, any story where the kids can be involved have been CAPTIVATING for my son...For instance, telling the kids to growl every time you say "bear."

This blog lurker loves your blog!

Dave said... [reply]

I don't have any advice for you. But I love you and don't want you to get stoned so I'll pray for you.

jeri said... [reply]

our storytime was simple (two very charming, enthusiastic ladies read stories). Kids loved it, mommies loved it and it was always packed. Each week there was a theme for the set of books that were read (dinosaurs, farm, Halloween, etc). Also my kids love it if there is a puppet who tells one story to them. It doesn't have to be a puppet master, or great theater, they just love the talking puppet. On the specialest of occasions (major holidays) there was a game or simple craft. At the end of story time, the library ladies set out a few large baskets of books so that the kids could pick a few for their moms to read to them, to focus on reading with your own kids.

Shawn Econo said... [reply]


I just did a one-day training for a program called Story Exploring, which is a holistic storytime approach with a great multicultural curriculum.

What's nice about the curriculum (as far as what it offers librarians) is that it encourages critical thinking, uses multiple activity levels for different ages, and includes Story Extenders, which are exercises parents can take home to continue working with the text and expand on the storytime experience.

Pippa Keene is the state SE/Motheread instructor, and can be contacted through the Utah Humanities Council site at http://www.utahhumanities.org/Motheread.htm

Best of luck in your search for storytime awesomeness!

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