Baby Storytime

Well, friends, I have to do something on Wednesday that scares me to death. It’s the first day of my new duty as baby storytime teller, presenter, facilitator, etc. I am the youth services supervisor at my library branch, but before I started in this position I had no youth programming experience. In the two years I’ve been in youth services I’ve learned lots about planning programs for children and teens and have overseen all of the activities of the youth staff, but I’ve never had to learn how to present storytimes. Those days have ended. Our previous baby storytime person up and moved to Missouri and after trying every which way to fit baby storytimes into someone else’s schedule, my boss and I gave up and realized that I was the only option. Me, the most reserved, non-silly- in- public- person there is.

So what is expected of me? Storytime usually involves 15-20 minutes of fingerplays, songs and stories. I’ll have a teddy bear on my lap, demonstrating the arm and leg movements that caregivers should follow with their own babies while we’re singing and chanting. In between I’ll read 2 or 3 stories, depending on how restless the babies are. And then bubbles at the end! Sounds pretty simple, right? It could be – but I’ve been told that I’m doing it more for the parents than for the babies and that frightens me. The one part of my job that I’m not comfortable with is interacting with parents – I think because I don’t have children and fear that I have no clout with them because of that. Therefore, I’m feeling very anxious and uncomfortable with this new task and terribly unprepared.

Have any of you ever taken children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews to storytime? What did you expect from the presenter?  Did you view them as experts? ANY ADVICE FOR ME, ANY AT ALL?

6 comments / Add your comment below

  1. The world seems divided into those who enjoy the spotlight and those who cannot bear the thought of it, and I am definitely in the latter category, so I understand your dread and offer no advice. I envy those who seem to perform with ease. But I do have five children, and in the early days when I had time to spare I used to go along to library sessions, although perhaps when my children were a little older than babies. I think those groups of parents were a fairly generous audience, not overly critical; happy just to be out of the house and given the chance to meet others like themselves. I think I would have expected someone friendly, happy, loud and exaggerated in their actions and their tone. And bubbles are always the right thing with a group of children.

    1. You know, I think you’re right about the parents just wanting to be in society, meeting other parents. That thought makes me less nervous, so thank you!
      You have 5 children? Wow! I am one of six and it is rare to meet people who have that many children these days – you must be a busy lady!

  2. I have done this when I worked in a public library and then at playgroups to encourage reading, and later on I volunteered at the school my boys went to. I usually like to blend into the background, hate being the centre of attention. But I was chucked in at the deep end when I was young and I found the kids were great, it’s a treat for them and the parents are happy to be doing something different. Everybody enjoys a story, just remember – you’re in charge!

    1. Oooh, I love that final piece of advice! You’re right – I realized on Wednesday that I set the tone, tempo and attitude of the storytime.It sounds like you have tons of experience – I wish I could pick your brain about some of the stories/songs that really work!

Thank you for reading and commenting.

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