I’ve been doing a ton of storytime work since I started at my new library back at the end of April. The previous Youth Services Manager only had 3 storytimes a month: one for babies, one for preschool, and one for families/all ages. Since it was a couple of months before I could make any changes to programming, I worked that schedule for a while. I quickly found that only having three storytime programs a month and outsourcing all of your other programs to outside performers wasn’t for me. It takes me about an hour to plan a solid storytime that I’m happy with. That’s three hours of work per month. I found myself bored and having to manufacture things to do so that I wasn’t sitting at my desk and staring at the walls all of the time.
One of the reasons that I didn’t stay in technical operations was because I need to be busy at work and I need some kind of human interaction to keep things interesting. Me and a computer screen for nine hours a day, day in and day out just does not do it for me. I am a hardcore introvert who generally prefers to be alone but spending too much time just interacting with technology leaves me exhausted and looking for some kind of real connection at the end of the day.
I asked the community if they wanted more storytimes. They said yes. So, I changed the schedule. Instead of having monthly programs, we would be having weekly programs: babies on Monday, preschoolers on Tuesday, and toddlers on Wednesday. We’ve had that schedule for a couple of months now and things are going well. I’m getting to know regular parents, meeting new little ones every week, and keeping my skills sharp while staying busy (but not swamped) at work.
Now that I feel like I’ve got my in-house programming for the under 5 set squared away, I’m starting to expand into outreach storytimes. I work in a very wealthy community in which pretty much everyone can afford to send their children to preschool once they come of age. There are several preschools and daycare centers in our tiny town. I’ve reached out to all of them to see if they were interested in having me drop by to offer storytimes. I contacted 4 centers and 3 are already on board! I’m excited to start offering regular offsite storytimes in January!
It amazes me that some of these daycares have never (and I mean NEVER) been contacted by anyone from the library to come and do storytimes on site. Everyone seems kind of blown away that I’m the only Youth person on staff at my branch and I manage to get all of this stuff done. Really, I feel like I could be doing much more! 2017 is going to be the year of foraying into school age, tween, and teen services like they’ve never done here before, which is going to be a much greater challenge than simply offering storytime on a daily basis.
Wish me luck.