Storytime Planning: Resource of the Week

One of the things I’ve been working on with regards to my storytimes is the concept of intention.  Being intentional about the books, songs, rhymes, early literacy messages, and flow of those precious 30 minutes.  I’ve always been a storytime planner, and I started the year by sharing how I incorporated more repetition of stories throughout a 10 week storytime session.  Today I’m sharing my idea about how to intentionally highlight and raise awareness of other aspects of the library during a storytime.

Storytime is a wonderful early literacy program we offer at my library.  But it’s only one of many different ways we serve children and families.  I had the idea recently to start planning out ways I could quickly and easily explain library resources during storytime.  I’m treating it like an early literacy tip – directed at the adults, does not take more than a minute to say, and aimed at helping families support their child’s literacy development.  As you’ll see below, some of the resources are simply parts of the collection, while others are features of my specific library.

I’m calling this the Resource of the Week.  My goals are:

  • To raise awareness of the library’s collection, space, programs, and organizational structure
  • To encourage caregivers to ask me questions about the library or for any other type of help
  • To provide better access to the library’s collection

The thing about intention is that it makes me sit down and think and plan and organize and list and hopefully, stick to my guns.  Here’s what I’m hoping to highlight over the course of my next storytime session and how I plan to say it. I’m thinking about introducing this at the very beginning of storytime after we sing our hello song and saying something like, “The resource of the week today is….”  And again, these are meant to be quick and go with the flow of the storytime.

Week 1: Library Cards

Did you know kids can get their own library cards?  They can!  To get one for your child, come grab one of these blue forms at the end of storytime.  The best thing about a child’s card is that they don’t pay late fees.  Having their own library card can make a child even more excited to check out books to take home.

Week 2: Booklists

If you’re ever wondering what to read to your preschooler, we’ve created these booklists with some fantastic suggestions.  Our 100 Picture Books to Love booklist features our librarian favourites, while our STEAM for Early Years booklist has information books on topics like science, technology, and math.  I’d be more than happy to help you find any of the books on these lists!

Week 3: Music CDs and Streaming Music

We sing lots of songs at storytime and if you want to keep singing and dancing at home we have a Music CD collection with lots of great children’s music.  They are located right behind us in the blue bins.  You can also stream children’s music straight from our website.  If you’d like any music suggestions, just let me know!

Week 4: Program Information

Thank you so much for coming to storytime! To learn more about other programs we have for kids of all ages, check out the Program Information poster board  – it’s right back there next to the puppets.  Feel free to take a picture of any of the posters, or you can grab one of these brochures to see a full listing.

Week 5: Spine Labels

Some of our picture books have special spine labels to help you find things quicker.  For example, this book has “ABC” on the spine label because it’s an alphabet book.  To find a counting book, look for the spine label that says, “123.”  If you’re looking for a specific book, you can always ask a library staff member for help.

Week 6: Non-Fiction

We have a whole collection of information books about things like nature, pets, dinosaurs, vehicles, and other topics your preschooler might be interested in.  These books are all along the back wall.  To find ones that are good for preschoolers, look for the word “EASY” on the spine label.

Week 7: Audiobooks

Listening to stories out loud provides children with a model of fluent reading which can help them when they get older and are learning to read. They also help preschoolers develop good listening skills which they’ll need when they start school.  We have audiobooks which are stories on a CD – they’re right under our Music CDs.  Some of them even come with a copy of the book so you can read and listen at the same time.

Week 8: Books for Babies

If you have a child between the ages of 0-24 months, we have a separate picture book section called Books for Babies that has great picks for you.  On the spine of these picture books it says, “J+Babes” and these books have shorter text and are developmentally appropriate for babies and toddlers. Let me know if you’d like any help finding books for your child.

What resources would you point out in your library?  How else can we bring intention to our storytimes?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

10 thoughts on “Storytime Planning: Resource of the Week

  1. I just did a resource share at my Saturday Storytime – we get a Nat Geo Little Kids magazine that I don’t believe gets checked out a lot – so I did a whole storytime theme based on chameleons and promoted this resource and the kids LOVED looking at the pictures and I think the adults were not intimidated because the whole “article” was only three pages with more pictures than words! Great idea and now I’m thinking about promoting other parts of my library…

    1. That’s brilliant, Laura! I love the idea of highlighting specific items, especially ones that could use a little more love. That was my idea behind our music collection which I feel like caregivers forget about.

  2. I send National Geographic Little Kids to my young cousins (4 & 6) and they love it. I didn’t even think of recommending my library get it but will now! I do like the idea of promoting library resources – I did something similar when covering Babytime over the summer (plus it took up some time as I only have a limited number of baby songs I know!). And yes, I used Jbrary a lot that summer!

    Also, just a typo alert – I think in Week 8 you meant to type “Books for Babies” not “Books for Babes” and also “J+Babies” not “J+Babes”…although it might be fun if there was a section of books for Babes! 😉

    1. Glad we were able to help out with your babytimes! Our library actually does call that section “J+Babes” – I have no idea why!

  3. I love this idea! And I also love the idea of building intention into a story time plan. I find that when I intentionally pick a song or a book with a purpose in mind, story time goes much smoother. I think it helps me be a better infotainer; when I know why I’m doing what I’m doing, my delivery of the material is better.
    I have to say, I still use the story time planning sheet you shared in one of installments of the toddler story time how-to series. I’ve tweaked it a bit to fit my needs, but it’s still the same concept. That tool has been invaluable to me, so thank you for sharing. 🙂

    1. I’m so glad the planning sheet has been useful – I’ve tweaked it myself over the years to suit many different storytime audiences. Thanks so much for your lovely comment 🙂

  4. I can’t tell you how much your blog and you tube channel have improved my storytime. Thank you for putting it all out there. But at the risk of sounding greedy, is the STEAM booklist available somewhere?

  5. Thank you! I mean it, you are an amazing resource. I am a Director of a small rural library but I also do all the programming and all the other everythings (except cataloging!) Any help I can find to elevate our programs is greatly appreciated.

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