Monday, August 24, 2015

Guerrilla Storytime Recap - OLC Children's and Teen Conference

Last week, I presented a Guerrilla Storytime session at the OLC Children's and Teen Conference. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what guerrilla storytime is, head on over to the Storytime Underground blog and read all about it!

A packed room of participants shared their best storyime tips and tricks. Below are their responses:

What's your favorite way to add SINGING into storytime?

  • One participant isn't a big singer herself, so she likes to get the parents to chime in and help sing
  • A song box! This is a touch and feel type box where the librarian prints out pictures on paper that correspond to the names of the songs. She randomly chooses 3 to 4 kids per storytime to choose a song to sing and the love it!
  • Song cube 
  • Sing the children's names at the beginning of storytime. The kids LOVE hearing their names and it helps the librarian to learn them.
  • In baby time, one librarian goes around with a mirror and sings the children's names. This also helps learn more complicated names.
  • Pass around a drum and kids drum out the syllables in their name.

What's your favorite storytime app?

What's your favorite toddler book/rhyme/song?
  • The Snappy Little... books by Dugald Steer
  • Head and Shoulders Baby 1, 2, 3 song
  • Jumping and Counting song by Jim Gill
  • Anything by Jim Gill!
  • Good Morning, Mrs. Perky Bird (with a bird puppet)
  • Choo Choo
    • A good tip for this one if you have too many kids to be able to do each one's name is to sing it with the names of colors instead!
  • One librarian loves to use puppets in toddler storytime, so she builds her themes around the puppets available.
  • White Rabbit's Color Book by Alan Baker

Audience Question: How do you deal with kids getting so excited about puppet and having to take them away?
  • One librarian says that when the kids get out of control/too excited about her puppet, she tells them that the puppet is getting nervous and needs to hide for a little bit or that the kids need to be quieter
  • Another librarian tells the kids that they can give the puppet high fives at the end

How do you make transitions between activities manageable for kids, especially sensory storytime?
  • Do the same routine so they get used to it and how it flows. For example, they know it's now time for a story, now it's time for a flannel activity, etc.
  • Sing the song "If You Want to Hear a Story..." (tune: If You're Happy and You Know It)
  • Do a stretching or twirling rhyme with them to get any wiggles out.
  • One librarian uses a laminated flip book with a visual schedule for ages 0 to 3 so the kids know what storytime activity is coming next. This is a great idea for both sensory and non-sensory storytimes. You could also use a projector/smart board to display the schedule if you have the technology.
  • Another librarian hangs laminated pictures of each activity across a magnet board.

Sing your opening song.

How have you incorporated different languages into your storytimes?
  • Use sign language based on your weekly theme.
  • One librarian has taught animal sounds in different languages. Use the book Everywhere the Cow Says, "Moo!" .
  • Use sign language in baby storytime.
  • Ask caregivers to share a nursery rhyme in a different language.
  • Have a bilingual storytime
  • Sing a song in a different language and let the kids guess the name of the song/language being sung.

Audience Question: I do a preschool storytime and only have 15 to 20 minutes to get through everything. What are some quick, good activities I could add?
  • A quick song with movement activities
  • A magic bag- You can print off words to drop in as you say a short poem, have the kids say the magic words (I. Love. Books.) and pull a picture or small stuffed animal out.
  • Lose 1 of the books you read and add in a flannel or song
  • Make you 1 book participatory or interactive so the kids get the most out of it.

Audience Question: How do you feel about incorporating apps/technology into storytime?
  • Check out ALSC's white paper about media mentorship for some helpful information.
  • We need to roll with the changes and allow all of our patrons to be on an "even playing field".
  • We need to take into consideration what's right for our community and what their needs are.
  • Have a balance and figure out your philosophy on it.

For those of you who attended the session, if I missed something or something needs to be corrected, please comment below or send me an email!


  1. Thanks for the recap! I'm still very new to storytime so I love hearing everyone's tips & tricks.