By Awnali Mills
Well, storytimes are back in session. During our breaks, I frequently get asked why we have them, usually by disgruntled patrons who have shown up expecting a storytime despite our many efforts to let them know that a break is coming.
So, why storytime breaks? Many reasons. Primarily because breaks give us an opportunity to serve community groups who can’t attend our normally scheduled storytimes. We ask groups not to attend our storytimes, and we need to offer them alternatives. While storytimes are in session, groups can schedule a Friday storytime. During our breaks, several groups, usually daycares, can come for specially arranged storytimes.
Schools also schedule events. During the last two weeks of break, we had over 500 children come through for storytimes and tours of the library. We consider this a valuable time, exposing children who might not ever come to the library to our services. We reduce fear of new places and jack up the wonder and fun factor of libraries. If advertisers can target children to get them to nag their parents into buying toys, why can’t the library use every venue open to us to get families into the library through their children? What we have to offer is infinitely more valuable than anything advertisers have to sell. I can’t tell you how many times a child who has toured the library will present themselves at the desk to announce that they brought their parent in to get a library card, a huge smile on their face. That’s a win, folks.
We also did a special storytime for a special needs school group, and had four programs during our two week “break.”
Lastly, this is a planning time. I researched three storytimes I had never done before, gathered supplies for a science program, and made six flannels.
The word “break” implies rest. Doing ten storytimes a week does not exhaust us to the point that we need a break. We simply require time in our schedule to accommodate the needs of all of our patrons. They are worth it.
In case you’re interested, these are other articles about the importance of storytime breaks: