I like to call this kind of initiative going out "in the wild" of the library--those spaces where people are every single day, but don't often have a formal mode of interacting with the space. It's our goal that, in offering age-specific programming in these age-delineated spaces, we're helping patrons develop a level of familiarity with the areas we're tailoring to them. It's a work in progress, but we're seeing these types of repeated program offerings reinforcing the models of use we optimally want to see.
When it comes to offering storytime in our Little Learners area, it means making slight furniture adjustments within the somewhat-partitioned area we've already got. The space is generally blocked off from the main thoroughfare of the library by a set of zig-zag shelves (on which we display our Little Learners take-home backpacks on one side, and most wanted picture books and readers on the other); there's still plenty of room to accessibly get into the space, but there is a visual sense of distinction. There's also one of the themed bins that helps create a lane along an architectural wall. Usually, there are two tables with kid-sized chairs in the space; for storytime, we orient those tables and chairs so they're facing a set of display shelves beneath a colorful mural--a perfect backdrop for a storytime leader. Kids have plenty of space to sit on the carpet in the front, and there are chairs for caregivers. Anecdotally, I think that caregiver participation is perhaps higher than we see in larger storytime spaces simply because the area is so cozy. The end result is a storytime that is engaging and inviting--anyone walking by can see and join if they want--while also introducing families to a space created specifically for their use with their kids ages 4-7.
We've been making other experiments in bringing programming into the wild in the past few months, too, with particular adventures this summer. I'll report back with more later on!
Until then, I'm curious: how do you think about taking programs into the wilds of the library, if you do so at all? Have you found it works better with certain programs with others? Certain ages?
And in case you're mostly curious about my storytime...
- The Crocodile and the Scorpion by Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley
- There's a Nightmare in My Closet by Mercer Mayer
- Mix It Up! by Hervé Tullet
- That Is Not a Good Idea! by Mo Willems
- "Open, Shut Them"
- "Herman the Worm"
- "Five Little Monkeys Swinging in a Tree"
- "If You're Happy and You Know It"