Library Column for September 12, 2018

@ Your Library

Take it from a librarian, it’s all OK at storytime. Storytime is chaotic. Storytime is busy. Storytime is FUN. But most of all, storytime is for learning. Learning for tiny humans is filled with lots of starts, stops, bumps, bruises, and silliness. There is very little that your child can do at storytime that we (and most seasoned children’s librarians) haven’t seen before. The only thing that is worth getting upset about is how embarrassed the adult gets and how many adults stop bringing their tiny humans after one bad storytime experience. There’s no reason to be embarrassed. Every other adult in the room is just thanking their lucky stars because they all know that next week, it might be their kid!

I just want to say, it’s okay! It’s okay if your kid wants to sing over me – they’ve learned the words! It’s okay if your kid wants to get up and move – they’re excited about reading! It’s okay if your kid wants to ask a million questions while I read the story – they’re listening! It’s okay if your child comes up, pulls the book out of my hands and tears the page out – they’ve got great motor skills! It’s okay if your kid can’t make it the full thirty minutes, because maybe this week it’s only 10 minutes but next week it’s 15 and then 20. The only way they will get better is to keep bringing them back.

Part of what our beloved tiny humans learn at storytime is what we call “executive functioning,” which is a fancy way of saying controlling yourself. It takes time to develop this skill and some days it’s just not going to happen and that’s okay. Come back next week and try again. I know plenty of adults who still struggle to control their emotions/actions, and they have had a lot longer to work on those skills.

Even if you have the opposite problem and your tiny human sits, doesn’t move, doesn’t sing, and doesn’t appear to engage in any way, I promise that they are paying attention and one day when they are ready they will be singing, jumping and laughing with the other tiny humans… or they’ll bust out with the lyrics to a song we sing every week when you least expect it!

So remember, it’s all okay at storytime (except phones). Storytime is Thursday mornings at 10:30 am. Enjoy 20 – 30 minutes of stories, rhymes, songs, and other activities followed by 20 – 30 minutes of free play with our early learning toys. Enjoy an hour each week focused on your child or children that you don’t have to plan. Be silly with them, sing along, play along. Show them life is about learning! Anyone with children from birth – 6 or 7 (homeschooled older children are welcome to participate) is encouraged to make storytime a habit this school year. Help your children learn the library is a fun place to visit, that reading is awesome and learning is cool!