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Thursday, July 2, 2009

What Makes A Library Story Time Good??

Tagged along with my sister this week to a baby and toddler story hour at her awesome, local library. Pre-registration was required for the storytime, but it's free, and so the librarian leading the story hour let me crash this one time. How nice! Thank you, nice librarian lady! Felt bad though, because there ended up being more people there than there were carpet squares to sit on. Oops! For being such a big, nice library they sure did have a tiny storytime room for us all to have to cram into.

Anyway, onto my big disappointment... the storytime sucked. Really sucked.

The librarian read three stories. (In between the stories there were fingerplays, songs, and dancing.) The stories were so rushed! The text was simply read. Granted, she did read it enthusiastically, and in a funny little voice. But there was no discussion. No talking about the cover or illustrations. No questions. This was especially disappointing when she passed out a board book to each child/parent pair to read along with her. My son barely had a chance to glance at each page before she was onto the next.

So after the 15 minutes of rushed reading and singing, toys were brought out and it was a free for all with the toys for about 15 minutes.

I'm not sure if the librarian had a book quota she was trying to meet during the read-aloud, but it seems to me like it would have been a much better story time if she had cut back on the number of books and spent more time with the reading of each. Or shorten the playtime and use that time instead to give a more meaningful read aloud.

This story time was so sad to me, because as parents, we look to librarians to model how we should be reading with our children at home. This was a horrible example.

Perhaps I'm being a bit harsh on this librarian... She may have just been having a bad day. But from what I gathered from my sister, this was pretty typical of what the story times are usually like.

Compare that story time with the story time at my local library: A full half hour spent giving lots of time to the reading of several books, pointing out details in the story and illustrations, talking about the ideas presented in the story, engaging parents and children in fingerplays (and always repeating each at least once), giving helpful read aloud tips for at home, suggesting great books for additional reading together, giving info about other events coming up at the library, and all in a big room to spread out in!!

Although my sister's library didn't have a great story time to offer, they do have an amazing children services area!! My library's can't compare. Actually, my sister's whole library building is pretty amazing! Check out these photos of Isaac having a blast at the library earlier this week.

So what would you say makes for a good library story time?

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