Welcome to the 9th post in our Canadian Libraries Spotlight series! If you’re just joining us, we’re highlighting the amazing work being done in Canadian libraries in the field of youth services. This week our post comes from our fairy godmother Angela Reynolds who works at the Annapolis Valley Regional Library in Nova Scotia. Read on to learn about StoryKits, Baby Boxes, and Be Fit Kits!
As Head of Youth Services for a rural library system, I have the great pleasure of providing resources and training for our library staff. We are a small system with around 60 employees total. We have 11 branches and a bookmobile, and many of our branches are single staffed, or perhaps have 2 people working at the same time. My goal is to make it easier for staff to provide quality programs and storytimes with limited funds and limited time to plan and prepare
Enter the StoryKit! In my previous job at WCCLS we had a huge store of these kits, which is where I got the idea. I like to think of these as a “Storytime in a Box” – open it up and add kids, and you have yourself a storytime! Currently, we have 11 kits for staff use. I try to add one or two each year, to keep things interesting. Each kit is stored in a Rubbermaid tub, and labeled with eh kit name and number on the outside. They are delivered along with books to our branches. The kits contain books, felt stories, active play items, puppets, and a resource notebook that contains craft ideas, fingerplays and songs, and early literacy information. Each kit is themed. . I always suggest that those who are new to storytime use these kits for their first session of storytimes, just to get a feel for the types of books and activities are in a good storytime. The kits all have an ECRR focus, and contain Early Literacy tips for the presenters.
To give you a better idea of what is in a kit, here are the contents of our “Song & Dance” kit, which gets used a lot!
- Animal Music – Harriet Ziefert
- Beetle Bop by Denise Fleming
- Cha Cha Chimps- Julia Durango
- Doing the Animal Bop – Jan Ormerod (with CD)
- Drumheller Dinosaur Dance – Robert Heidbreder
- How Can you Dance? – Rick Walton
- In the Fiddle is a Song- Durga Bernhard
- Giraffes Can’t Dance – Giles Andreae
- Tanka Tanka Skunk – Steve Webb
- Rhythm Sticks Rock- CD
- Egg shakers (12)
- Polka Dot Maracas (4)
- Dance ribbons & CD (12 ribbons)
- Brementown Musicians felt story
- Hey Diddle Diddle felt rhyme
- Singing English kit
- Resource Notebook
I recently created Baby Boxes for baby & toddler storytimes. These are boxes that stay at the branch while they are doing Baby Storytime, and they include new board books, scarves, resources, and a hand puppet. We also have a large puppet collection that branches can borrow. I try to buy quality puppets from FolkManis, but we also have some nice puppets that have been donated. We keep these kits and puppets at our Headquarters location, and branches schedule them as they need them. This cuts down on branch storage issues, and allows us to do some resource sharing.
We also have kits for public use. I know that parents are often looking for information on a subject or for books of a certain type, and so we’ve made it easy to grab and go! Our most popular are the Potty Kits – again, an idea I stole from my previous job. The Potty Kits contain – Everyone poops by Gomi – No more diapers for ducky by Ford – Potty Power DVD – Potty Time by Paterson – The Potty Training Answer Book by Deerwester – Tinkle, Tinkle, Little Tot (with CD) – and Too Big for diapers by Barrett.
We also have “Little Reader Bags” – leveled early readers in a bag. These were so popular that we created them in French as well as English. Another kit that we have for adults is our Breastfeeding kits. These were created in partnership with the local La Leche League. Many of the kits for the public have been created with grant funding, and we update them with our own book budget when needed.
Our most recent kit is the Be Fit Kit. We’ve partnered with Sport Nova Scotia and Department of Health & Wellness, Active Living Branch to create kits that you can take home and play with! Each kit contains fun items such as balls, juggling scarves, activity dice, frisbees, skipping ropes, and more! There’s an activity booklet included in each one that guides you in ways to use the items included. We’ve even included 4 picture books that will get you moving as you read together. The kits are designed to increase physical literacy and to make it easy for you to be active. Our kits are modeled on kits that were originally developed in Kingston, ON.
While the kits can sometimes be a lot of work in the background for staff, for patrons they are really convenient and helpful. And our StoryKits are the same for staff—takes a bit of time to create them (but I love doing it!) and they are a big help to our storytime presenters.