Friday, June 19, 2015
I must say, I have a whole new appreciation for my story time regulars at my library. I have a group of moms and nannies (and the occasional dad) who make it in every week for my Baby and Toddler storytimes. I had always imagined that if I ever had a baby and took maternity leave, that I might take advantage of my leave time to bring my child to as many storytimes as possible, since I'm always curious to see how other librarians work.
Now that I have a child of my own, I was struck with how difficult it can be to get out of the house, on time and on schedule to make it to a planned event. And! With a little baby, even if you get to the story time on time (and many sessions will fill up, or close and not allow latecomers) sometimes when the baby starts to fuss you'll have to make an early exit, anyway. So I am really impressed and grateful for our patrons who do make it in!
I didn't get to go to as many storytimes as I had planned, but the ones I did make it out to, I feel like I learned a lot. I heard a few new songs and rhymes that I might like to steal and use in my own storytimes in future. I saw a storyteller do a storytime around colored scarves which was really wonderful.
Another take-away I had from my storytime visits was to absolutely be true to yourself. If you are a high-energy, bubbly person, go with it! If you are a calming, soothing presence, that's okay too! I caught one librarian apologizing for the smallness of the crowd (there were only three babies at storytime that day) and I realized with a jolt, that I've done the same thing. It's totally not necessary! That's another thing that made me realize that it's really okay to be present in the moment. Don't think or worry about the statistics sheets you'll be filling in later - if you've only got an audience of three, heck, if you've only got an audience of one, just give it your all and make it the best storytime ever.
Sometimes it's about quality, not quantity!
When I do storytimes I'm always pushing myself to keep things fresh and interesting and try out new books or learn new things. One thing that I discovered while attending storytimes was how many storytellers used classic picture books. The old standbys like Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Brown Bear Brown Bear by Bill Martin and the new standbys like Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin and Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Jon Scieszka. They are classics for a reason, and that is because they absolutely work! Kids were enchanted with these stories. Even if adults had heard them a million times, for a lot of kids, it was their first time hearing these. And true children's classic books are absolutely as good to read out loud many times over. I think when I return to work, I'll lean a little more on some of these pillars of early children's literature.