This year, Storytime Underground is issuing a new blog challenge: Storytime for Social Justice. We are asking youth services librarians to use their storytime power for social justice, to take a long hard look at their programs, displays, and services, to make sure we are fighting every day for empathy, inclusiveness, and social justice, and be a #StorytimeJusticeWarrior.
Here is what I promise to do as a Storytime Justice Warrior:
Use at least one book featuring and/or written by people of color (or other marginalized, underrepresented characters) in every single program. I’ve actually been trying to do this for a few months, and it isn’t always easy. Sometimes I don’t make it, but then I push even harder to make sure my next program uses only books with/by POC. Also, representation is way more important than some cutesy theme, so get over that excuse. But also, check out Everyday Diversity which includes themes with book suggestions.
Book talk and recommend more diverse books with POC and #ownvoices books. This means reading more diverse books too. If you aren’t reading diversely, then go read this post.
Make my storytimes and other programs more inclusive by using language to offer alternate activities (“If you are able, lift your baby in the air. This can also be a snuggle song!” and “If you want to, let’s jump for this verse.”), asking parents to correct me if I mispronounce their child’s name, being intentional about the songs and activities I choose (we no longer clap our crazies out in my library!), and always listening to people telling me new ways to be inclusive.
Seek out new favorite standby songs and flannel boards that include diversity. Got a suggestion? Please share!
Continue to feature displays highlighting diverse books.
Follow more blogs about diverse books and by librarians and authors of color, and follow more librarians and authors of color on Twitter.
This is just a start! As I continue to learn and challenge myself, I will continue to add to this list.
Some months, when the weather is crazy and the kids are itching for winter break and you are just so burned out and exhausted that you can’t think of anything new, Maker Monday turns into a mini maker fair. Which is, of course, just stations of lots of different maker activities that we’ve done before and a whole bunch of display books. It is easy to set up, requires minimal prep, and some of the kids already know what to do.
This fall I was insanely excited to start a baby storytime at my library. There had been one a few years ago, but when the babies aged out they ended up with toddler and preschool storytimes instead. I decided to tack on a babytime (0-18 months) before toddler storytime, allowing plenty of time for play in between.
Our toddler storytime is called Wiggletime, so for the babies one of my great coworkers came up with the name Snuggletime. (Rejected titles included cuddletime, tickletime and, uh, fondletime).
5. Summer reading. This past summer was my first summer completely planning and executing a summer reading program from start to finish. It was scary, and there were some bumps, but I also made some big changes (drastically cut down on prizes!) and no one died. In fact, I’m pretty sure most kids had fun. And I STILL have kids coming in the library and saying, “You’re the one who came to my school dressed up like a superhero!” My job here is done. Except not really. Continue reading A few of my favorite things of 2015→
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about why I want to offer bilingual storytime. Why is it important? Why do I think it is something my community needs, even if they don’t necessarily know it? Well, I’m here to tell you why. Continue reading Why bilingual storytime?→
We know how important dramatic and pretend play is for kids and growth of early literacy skills. It helps develop narrative skills for storytelling, and lets kids assume roles to learn about the real world (cook, teacher, reader, fireman, etc). It encourages social interactions and (hopefully) can engage grownups in play with the kids.
This year, I participated in iLead, a state wide leadership technology initiative, with a fabulous team that created WisCode Literati. It is awesome, check it out.
But another team focused on early literacy and media mentorship and using apps in storytime, which is also a passion of mine. They created a video to help librarians become good media mentors and be able to recommend apps and how to use apps to families. They filmed some app storytimes, interviewed parents, and talked with our local expert, Carissa. Oh, and they also interviewed me.