But just because library staff are living by a different schedule for these off-weeks doesn't mean that our customers are. How do you meet customer demand for librarian-mediated story times when you're giving your staff a much-needed rest? Enter the take-home story time kit, available for regular check-out during programming off-weeks.
Every take-home story time kit I assemble includes two or three books loosely on a theme--think farm animals, things that go, princess stories, etc., whatever your kiddos are into. To top off the stories, I include a children's CD that includes music similar to what we might include in our traditional story times. These stacks of materials get bundled together and tied with a pretty bow. To finish off the whole appealing package, I add a bright label that gives the kit's theme and simple instructions: "Take twenty minutes to read these books and listen to or sing songs on this CD with your child. Talk about the books' pictures and what happens in the stories. Draw a picture about the theme when you're done!" Ta-da! Brief, simple instructions for an at-home story time.
Caregivers who frequent my branch enjoy knowing that they can rely on the library to equip them to provide literacy-positive activities for their young ones even when our program room doors are shut. And that's part of the whole goal, right? To empower readers and those who raise readers. My staff may be resting over the next two weeks, but the library kiddos are still very much engaged with stories.