Whew. It seems like it’s just started, but Summer Reading at the library is already over. Incredibly, the kids will be going back to school in under 2 weeks! I don’t have any idea where the time has gone. It’s been wild, crazy, busy, and fun.
Being a part-timer at the library, my summer duties were much less than my full-time counterparts. It is absolutely amazing the work that my fellow Children’s Librarians do. They often had 2 programs in a day. That tires a body out! We had some wonderful programming this year. Of course we had our tried-and-true favorites: Make-It Monday, Builders of the Future, Theater Games, storytimes, and movement classes.
But, we also had some really out of the box programming: Stop-Motion, ipad programming, Upcycling (this is mine!), and Open Studio just to name a few. It has been awesome. The library has been busy, full of smiling kids who are (mostly) happy to be there. Of course, there are some parental/caregiver issues, there always are. But for the most part, it has been wonderful.
I thought I’d share some Summer Reading Stories with you all, in the spirit of Things Remembered. I’ll start with Storytime.
My evening storytimes were so much fun. I get to plan them myself, around whatever theme I want. So, naturally, I did an entire one about Mustaches (Book Highlight: Mustache Baby, by Bridget Heos); Princes and Princesses (Book Highlight: Elephant Joe, Brave Knight, by David Wojtowycz); and Bed Time (Book Hightlight: AGAIN! by Emily Gravett). I wanted to incorporate some kind of language learning into the program as well, but I couldn’t decide which. We have a lot of Russian and Polish speakers in town, and as much as I wish I could speak both of those languages, I just don’t have the tongue for it. I took Spanish in high school and college, but there wasn’t much interest in that when we tried a Spanish program…and neither Spanish, French, or Italian really fit with my chosen themes. Then I decided to do some simple American Sign Language. We would all be starting out on the same level. It was great since we all learned together.
For each theme I picked one or two signs that went with the stories. They were simple, they incorporated movement, and the kids could do it even if they were shy, since there was no speaking involved, just moving. After one session I even had one child thank me in sign language, which was awesome.
I also don’t use music CDs. I find most children’s music CDs ridiculously obnoxious. So, I sing, and I encourage the parents and kids to sing with me. And they do. I think it gives us a better connection. It also builds confidence, along with tone, rhythm, and beat. Not to mention lung capacity! It’s a great work out to sing and jump around. It doesn’t matter if you’re a great singer, all that matters is that you try, that’s my message.
Now back to storytime: The sessions started out with very small numbers, only 8, and I was worried. I do love small groups, though, since I can really get the kids involved in the singing, dancing, and the story itself. I can ask them questions and actually respond to their answers. However, there is something incredibly satisfying about having a big storytime group. There’s an incredible energy associated with a room full of 30 kids so excited about everything. That energy is what a children’s librarian lives for!
As the weeks progressed, my numbers went up and up. I went from the initial 8 to 14, to 20, to 28. I had my regulars who came, and the younger kids actually started to recognize me. The could sing the hello/goodbye songs and my have a seat song with me from memory, and they knew my smile poem! I even started hearing some kids upstairs singing a few of the movement songs we sing together.
For my last one of the season, I was running a little late. As I came down to the program room, one of the little girls says, “Look mommy! The storytime lady IS here. I knew it!” And she had the biggest smile on her face. It was a wonderful feeling. She recognized me, she was excited for the class, and hoh-my-gosh is she a cutie!
I also had the initial 8 come to each session. They were cute, and very well-behaved kids who have come since the beginning (a long 4 weeks ago…haha). They connect with the stories I choose, they sing the songs, they play-act with me. And, I don’t know if it’s my age, my biological clock ticking, or what…but, it is incredible how cute these kids are.
Of course, once word got out about evening storytime and I’ve developed a following, the evening storytimes were over, since Summer Reading has drawn to a close. I pushed my Saturday storytimes, and I really hope I see some “my regulars” there. They were an absolutely fabulous group of kids. Sweet, smart, and willing to wiggle with me.
I can’t wait to see what else the coming months will bring. I have some big plans this year and can’t wait to see how they turn out.