Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Facebook Live Online Storytime Tips - Guest Post

Our guest blogger today is Tiff Roltgen from the Middleton (WI) Public Library. She first shared this great list of practical tips for developing your first storytimes online on Facebook's Storytime Underground, a go-to place for ideas and quick responses!

Facebook Live Online Storytime Tips
  • Silence incoming calls/texts in "settings" on your phone. Choose do not disturb and make sure all the boxes are checked to block everything. 
  • To make sure the words are readable to the viewer, iPhone users can adjust once you are in the "live button" on Facebook. Click on the “magic wand” (far left). Then choose the “tools” (far right). Select “horizontal flip” (far left).
  • Make sure “portrait lock” is off under settings so you can film horizontally.
  • Once in the “live button,” be sure to flip the camera so you can see yourself!
  • Test this all out on your personal Facebook page prior to the event to play around with settings. Ask your friends to tune in and comment about the lighting, volume, props, etc.
  • Consider some sort of library logo/sign in the background or wearing library gear for branding purposes.
  • 10 minutes prior to going live, post in the discussion area of your “event” that you are going live in 10 minutes and include the link to your library’s Facebook page. Example:
We are going LIVE in 10 minutes on the Middleton Public Library Facebook page for online storytime. Bring your shakers and bubbles if you have them. See you soon, storytime friends!
  • 5 minutes prior to going live, post on your library’s Facebook page that you are going live in 5 minutes. Example:
We are going LIVE in 5 minutes right here for online storytime. Bring your shakers and bubbles if you have them. See you soon, storytime friends!
  • We posted a Facebook “event,” created a website slide, added it to our online calendar of events, shared with a local “things to do with kids” website called Hulafrog, posted to a local moms group on Facebook, and sent an email blast message.
  • We are posting our storytimes to the library page through the end of COVID-19.
  • Consider going live the night prior to storytime as a reminder and preview of tomorrow’s online storytime. 
  • Ask patrons to take and post pictures of their kids engaging with online storytime. With permission, use these for posts and flyers. 
  • Designate someone to be the staff member welcoming everyone at the virtual door. They can respond to comments, help people get to the live feed if they are looking in the event instead of at your library page, etc.
  • It’s helpful to have a few coworkers or friends online watching to comment at the beginning to let you know they can hear you, see the books, etc.
  • I found board books too small for Facebook live. Larger picture books with bold illustrations tend to read better.
  • While reading, be sure to move the book forward from time to time to give a closer look at the pictures.
  • Give people a few minutes to get settled in. Go live at the designated start time, but use those first few minutes to say hello, give shout outs, introduce yourself, etc.
  • Don’t be afraid to give shout outs to the kids and encourage grown-ups to check in/comment with the kids’ names. “Hi Lily, so good to see you.” I worked these in throughout storytime as people kept commenting. “Owen, are you ready for our transition song? Let’s get those clapping hands out.” My own kids and I have been watching some musicians live on Facebook, and they are amazed by the personalized shout outs.
  • If viewers don’t want to see the comments or are finding that the book/you are covered up by them, you can mention that they can swipe right to make the comments go away and swipe left to bring them back.
  • Take time at a couple transitions to reintroduce yourself, your library, and welcome everyone to online storytime. This is important for folks joining you throughout the live feed.
  • Be sure to use puppets and props. Even my oldest daughters (9 & 7) are intrigued by the puppets!  
  • When starting and stopping the recording, try to have a pleasant-ish look on your face because that’s what appears as the still image at the beginning and end of your video. You almost want to think of it as a “pose” for a photo as you lean into the camera to turn it on and off.  
  • Limit storytime to 30 minutes or less.  
  • When filling out the event evaluation, the following is recommended as best practice:
For the Wisconsin Public Library Annual Report, it is important to remember if you are providing virtual programming for your users you may only include livestreaming views and live interactions with programs in the Programs and Program Attendance Annual Count portion of the annual report. Views of program recordings (after the fact) are not counted on the annual report, though you are encouraged to share those numbers with your library board if you track them.
  • To access live views after that fact, pull up your video on Facebook on a desktop computer, click on the “People Reached” and “Engagements” area. A new window should open up called "Post Details." Then in the top right corner you can switch it from “Showing All” to “Showing Live,” and that will give you your stats. You can also click on “See Metrics for All Videos” and it opens up a new tab called “Creator Studio.” 
  • I’ve also been making note of the number of “comments” to show interaction with the storytime. The total view number is misleading because a short “scroll over” view is counted by Facebook. 
  • Welcome/Introductions/Shout Outs
  • Why We’re Here
  • Hello Song
  • Transition & Belly Breaths
  • Book 1
  • Sensory/Movement Songs
  • Transition & Body Check
  • Book 2
  • Announcements
  • Goodbye Song
  • Laura Doherty is going live often on her Facebook and Instagram. My kids really like her puppets even though she’s not as animated as some of the other performers. It’s interesting seeing them respond really positively to her calm demeanor. She gives a shout out to every child who is listening.
  • Suzi Shelton is going live every day at 3 PM on her Facebook page. She includes her stepdaughter in the show and has a really great rapport with the audience.  

For more information and resources on virtual storytimes, please see earlier posts in our 
Online Storytimes YSS COVID-19 series:

For more information and resources on copyright and publishers, please see earlier posts in our Permissions (Books, Authors and Music) YSS COVID-19 series:
      Music Permissions? Look No Further  3/27/20; updated 3/31/20

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