Friday, July 1, 2011


My Family Story Time programs have changed over the years.  When I first started, it was an evening program and I was working at a different library.  I always had a craft because I wanted the program to last an hour and I knew that most attention spans would not last longer than 30 minutes (including adults).  This turned out to be a great idea because the craft became a family activity and it was wonderful to see parents and children working together on a project.  So the craft has stayed. 

What I did find was that I was using fewer and fewer books over the years.   At the Hamilton Library, Family Story Time is from 3 to 4 in the afternoon.  This is because the meeting room is used for a non-library program every day in the summer.  Our story room is much too small for large groups so we have to limit our registrations.  We decided to experiment with a late afternoon story time for all ages.  It was very well received so now we do it every summer.  Basically we do not limit registrations though I start to panic when over 100 children are signed up.  Once I had close to that actually come, though only once.  We usually get 50%.   Because of the size of the group and the mixed ages of the children - usually babies through age 11 - I have found that visual presentations work the best.  I have always used (flannel/magnet) board stories in my storytimes but over the years for Family Story Time, I have increased the number of board stories while decreasing the number of books.  I used to read 4/5 books but then I went to 3 and now I plan to use only one or two.  I now use stick puppets and props as well to tell stories.  Other forms of storytelling that I like to use are paper cutting stories and draw and tell stories.  Because I am using fewer books it does take longer to prepare for the program.  Although I use several stories from storytelling books such as Handmade Tales by Dianne de Las Casas, I am adapting folk tales that I find to these various methods of storytelling.  It takes a great deal of prep time but the end result is that I am able to hold the interest of most of the children and provide an entertaining program for the adults as well.

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