Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Take the Library on the Road!

Remember way back in the “olden days” when mothers would bring their children to the library? Remember when children would enjoy a trip to the public library for a field trip?  Well, these things still happen, but they are getting more and more infrequent as more mothers work outside the home, and as classrooms get busier trying to accomplish learning goals.
What if, instead of people coming to YOU at the library, you went to THEM, instead?  That’s just what I do as Children’s Librarian at Marion Public Library.
During the school year, I have scheduled visits to both of our daycares within Marion.  Every other week, I visit one or the other daycare.  I bring my week’s themed storytime along with me, along with Storytime handouts to send home with the children.  In addition, I also visit the school at least once a month, to bring my storytimes to the 4K, 5K, 1st and 2nd grade classrooms.
How do I accomplish this?  Easy!
  • I schedule storytimes when I know there are enough staff staying at the library.  Without my supportive staff members, I wouldn’t be able to travel.
  • My storytimes are only about a ½ hour long, so I’m not gone from the library for long when I do travel.
  • I have portable tools to bring with me—my portable flannel board, iPod and iPod speaker enable me to have the same storytime that I’d have at the library.
  • I have great relationships with the daycares and the school—not only do I bring them storytime, but I also request themed books for them.
Being willing to step out of the library is so important- it gets our library name out in the community.  Building community relationships is one of the most important aspects of a public library!  Also, I had greater participation in my Summer Reading Program this year, mainly because the kids and I had developed a relationship, and the kids begged their parents to keep seeing “Miss Esther” during the summer.  It’s fun for the kids to see me outside of the library setting- and it’s fun for me to see them!

Don’t be afraid to leave the walls of your library—get out there and build relationships!
From Esther Burns, YSS member and Marion Public Library children's librarian.

No comments: