Storytime and Beyond!


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Webinar presented by Katie Salo about creating preschool programming in the public library. Includes resources, program write-ups, and lots of ideas to boost library services to preschoolers.

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  • As much as we love storytime, that doesn’t meet the need of every child and their family! Parents with more active children feel bad “disrupting” storytime. By offering different programs at different times (specifically evening and after-school programming), we reach more patrons. For libraries that have aged-storytimes, additional programming is a good way to let families attend programs together.
  • Are you experiencing more registrations/attendance for a certain age group? Does staff notice that the youth room erupts w/ preschoolers just before school lets out? Are there specific concerns with current ST offerings? Time, day, etc. Are there specific patron requests that are easily met by additional programming?
  • Offer a variety of days and times if you can. Are you serving working parents or just SAHM/Ds? Assign staff members to work a night to cover Pajama Storytime; make sure your baby ST librarian can do Thursdays, etc. If you have full-day preschool in the area, don’t try an afternoon program for 4/5 YOs. Don’t launch a brand-new initiative in the “off-season.” In Illinois, that’s snow season.
  • Programs are planned exactly like a ST; books, rhymes, songs, craft. Changing up age groups, times, sometimes even the program name.
  • Created this program in the fall of 2010 because nearly half of my storytime group changed to full-day preschool after the summer. Also, wanted to provide a family atmosphere that included school-aged siblings. Tried a playgroup afterwards; switched that to morning ST instead. Response has been GREAT; some of the highest attendance programs of 2010/2011. Photos from the first session in October of 2010.
  • This was my first foray into evening storytimes. Previously, Pajama Storytime was presented at the library to a severe lack of interest/attendance. (Averaged 2 kids.) Did the trial in summer of 2011; got somewhere around 10 families and decided to do the program monthly during the 2012 CSLP program. Photo is of a flannelboard created for the program.
  • Saw this idea all over; had to try it. Read a few bedtime stories, board books for the kids to read to their animals, milk and cookies on the way out and then I snapped tons of pictures. Beware! Had a few kids who PANICKED at the thought of leaving their friends behind; have puppets available to “sub” for their animals. Photo: Applesauce, our ST mascot, reading to all the animals after the kids left.
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  • Implementing this program this summer There are cheap alternatives instead of spending money; bubbles at dollar store, make your own egg shakers, buy remnants of fabric Inspired by Cate’s post: Photo: Activity scarves and shakers
  • High-energy program that includes a few books but mostly music and noise! Have done this program twice now, with much acclaim. A parachute is one of the single best investments that I’ve ever bought for preschool programs. Photo: Shaker craft
  • Colors, numbers, alphabet, time, opposites, shapes, ETC. Learning experiences in the library; great way to explore new ideas for preschoolers
  • These are the bread and butter of programs for preschoolers. Many publishers put out activity packs that can assist with ideas for program. Use this format to highlight an author or book. Suggestions: Very Hungry Caterpillar, Chicka Chicka, Pigeon, Olivia, Dr. Seuss
  • Games, print-outs from a publisher pack HUGE Maisy following in my library; high circulation Photo: Maisy craft
  • Don’t be afraid to do books that have a TV show tie-in This series appeals to both boys and girls; Dora and Diego party as well Photo: prop from storytelling
  • Make sure to plan some special programs for preschool during the summer! You don’t *have* to tie-in to the summer reading program theme, but it’s nice for the little ones to be included too. If you have an outdoor space, now is the time to use it!
  • Program was for CSLP 2010’s “Make a Splash” program. Kids get such JOY from the most ordinary of objects; not every program has to be meticulously planned. Sometimes the best programs begin with the idea of “Let’s play with bubbles!” Photo: Kids dancing in the bubble machine
  • Program was during the CSLP 2009 program “Be Creative.” Buy chalk during the after summer sales; more bang for your buck! There are make-your-chalk recipes online, but factor in cost vs. cost/time. Photo: Sisters drawing during our Chalk Day.
  • Messy art program with a storytime component. Parents TRULY appreciate being able to leave the mess at the library. Painted with a ton of different mediums: sponges, Saran Wrap, bubble wrap, toy cars, shaving cream, fingerpaint Photo: Car tracks during our toy car painting day. Foam stamp mural (same day).
  • Great way to encourage creativity Also for connections with storytelling and play acting. Photo: Paper-bag puppets!
  • For preschool?! Yes! Ways to encourage cooperative play, taking turns. Fantastic way to get the whole family involved.
  • Have families work in teams to find objects hidden in your department. Explain reporting system. Helps identifying numbers and objects; writing, talking, playing, reading…no singing sadly! Can do a multitude of themes based on the same model. Photo: A winner at Dr. Seuss “I Spy!”
  • HUGE SET-UP! SO WORTH IT! Bring in Christmas decorations or make your own. Pinterest board.
  • Very easy programs to find material for. Recognizable programs; parents expect them.
  • Seasonal programming teaches seasons; easy to find material to work with. Other program ideas: planting seeds (spring), snow party (winter), harvest (fall), beach day (summer), etc.
  • If you don’t have enough staff, get teen volunteers to help out at larger events. When you do plan family activities, make sure to think about preschoolers!
  • Storytime and Beyond!

    2. 2. WHY GO BEYOND? • Keeps us creatively recharged. • Allows us to test out new initiatives. • Helps us reach a variety of patrons’ needs. • Interests • Scheduling • Ages • Because we do it for every other age group!
    3. 3. WHAT FIRST? • Evaluate current programming. • Identify areas for change. • Brainstorm ideas.
    4. 4. EVALUATE CURRENT PROGRAMMING • Staff evaluations • Write-ups of current programs • Youth room observations • Patron evaluations • Storytime evaluations • Web-based surveys • Face-to-face conversations • Suggestion boxes
    5. 5. CONSIDER THIS! Internal Factors •Days and times to offer programs •Staff availability •Drop-in vs. registration External Factors •Local preschool and daycare schedules •Conflicting community activities •Local weather/seasons
    6. 6. BRAINSTORM PROGRAM IDEAS • Storytimes/ Lapsits with a Twist • Movement Programs • Concept Programming • Book Based Programs • Summer Reading Tie-Ins • Arts and Crafts • Gaming Programs • Seasonal Programs • Family Events
    8. 8. AFTERNOON STORYTIME • Audience: Preschool & Older Siblings (Ages 3-5/5-7) • Once a month; Tuesday from 4:00-5:00 p.m. • Average Cost: $20 per program (craft)
    9. 9. STARRY NIGHT STORIES • Audience: Preschoolers and Working Parents (Ages 0-5) • Trial last summer; twice monthly this summer. • Average Cost: $0 (Paper, crayons, and glue in general materials budget)
    10. 10. STUFFED ANIMAL SLEEPOVER • Audience: Preschoolers (Ages 2-6) and their families • Cost: $40 (refreshments)
    12. 12. MUSIC & MOVEMENT • Audience: New Walkers and Preschoolers (Ages 1-5) • Monthly • Start-Up Cost: $200 (Bubble machine, egg shakers, and scarves)
    13. 13. SHAKE YOUR SILLIES OUT • Audience: Older Preschool (Ages 3-5) • Start-Up Cost: $50 (Parachute)
    15. 15. OVER THE RAINBOW • Audience: Older Preschoolers (Ages 3-5) • Cost: $20 (craft)
    16. 16. BOOK PROGRAMS
    17. 17. MAISY AND FRIENDS • Audience: Preschool (Ages 2-5) • Cost: $0 (Paper and markers included in general materials budget)
    18. 18. MAX AND RUBY • Audience: Preschool (Ages 2-5) • Cost: $0 (Paper and markers included in general materials budget)
    20. 20. BUBBLE PARTY • Audience: Preschool (Ages 0-5) • Cost: $20 (bubbles and bubble wands/ attachments)
    21. 21. CHALK DAY • Audience: Families • Cost: $40 (chalk and chalk kits)
    22. 22. ARTS AND CRAFTS
    23. 23. KIDS ART • Audience: Older Preschoolers (Ages 2-5) • Monthly; early afternoon time slot of 2:00-3:00 p.m. • Average Cost: $20 (paint/craft)
    24. 24. PUPPET MAKING • Audience: Older Preschoolers & Siblings (Ages 3-5/5-7) • Cost: $0 (used left-over craft supplies)
    26. 26. I SPY! • Audience: Families • Monthly • Cost: $0
    27. 27. CANDYLAND • Audience: Families • Once a Year • Cost: $10-20 for decorations
    29. 29. WELCOME SPRING! • Audience: Preschool (2-5) • Cost: $15 for craft
    30. 30. SUMMER CARNIVAL • Audience: Families • Cost: $50 for face paint (yearly); $150 for games (start-up)
    31. 31. FINAL THOUGHTS, PART ONE • Preschool programming should be equal to what you give other age groups. If you have gaming programs for teens, have some for preschool! • Preschool programming should be well-thought out and tailored to your community’s needs. But it doesn’t have to be complicated!
    32. 32. FINAL THOUGHTS, PART TWO • Preschool programming can be educational and fun at the same time. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. • Above all, make sure that you are creating a positive experience for preschoolers and their care-givers at the library!
    33. 33. RESOURCES AND LINKS TO LOOK AT • Resource Handout • Pinterest Page ( • Specific Blog Posts at… • Hi Miss Julie! • Storytiming • Tiny Tips for Library Fun
    34. 34. CONTACT • Email: • Blog: • Twitter: @katietweetsya