Friday, October 23, 2015

Guerilla Storytime Recap - 2015 OLC Convention and Expo

On October 9, 2015, over twenty librarians gathered together during the last session of the OLC Convention and Expo in Cincinnati, Ohio to participate in a Guerrilla Story Time.  What is Guerrilla Story Time you ask?  Call it a program, advocacy, or a movement of awesomeness, Guerrilla Story Time was conceived by the Joint Chiefs at Story Time Underground and is spreading across North America.  Please check out their website for more.  We thank them for permission and guidance as we brought G.S. to the OLC for our first time.  Library Village, along with a bunch of our new best friends, spent a fun filled hour discussing all things story time.  The hour flew by as the conversation didn't stop for a minute.   Hopefully everyone who participated left with a few new ideas!  We know we did.

By the way, have you ever heard of a CANJO?  Yep - we talked about that too!  You'll have to read on to learn about that one.  We almost had a hard time keeping up with the great ideas; but here we go with the recap of our first Guerilla Storytime.

Question #1: What do you do when a parent won't respond to their kid's disruptive/inappropriate behavior? Act it out.

  • Being direct is best policy.
  • Be kind.
  • Stop storytime and ask where the child's adult is.
  • Do some housekeeping before you start storytime.  Ask adults for help and remind them that it is okay to leave.
  • Talk to the adult afterwards.  Remember to use loving body language.

Question #2: When planning storytime, how do you ensure the space and activities are accessible to participants with physical limitations?

(Although we didn't quite answer this question, some good ideas were discussed about how to set up the room for the best possible parent/child interactions during storytime.)

  • Get rid of the chairs.  Parents will need to sit with their child.
  • No second row of chairs.  Parents do not participate as well from the second row.
  • Create a half moon with your chairs.
  • For crafts, keep tables folded flat on the floor.  This will help with direct parent interaction.

Question #3: How do you make transitions between activities manageable for kids, esp. sensory storytime? Act it out.

  • Transition songs.
  • Positive reinforcement. Great job!
  • Offer activities after storytime.
  • Put items in a bag or blanket. Say good-bye!
  • Sing, "If you want to hear a story, clap your hands." (To the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It")
  • Let them keep the shaker, ribbon, etc.  If only a couple children have problems parting with a prop, it may be better to let it go.  (insert earworm.. you're welcome!) Mom will usually be able to deal with it and return it to you shortly.  
  • Ask kids to give the item to a puppet.  (Shout out to Reggie the puppet!)
  • Take three deep breaths with hands up.
  • Make your voice quiet.  
  • Use eye contact.
  • Ask for hands to be in laps.
  • Teach the yoga move, Dragon's Breath.  Place two fingers on your mouth, take three breaths in, and blow out the wiggles!
  • Rug Rules
    I found several great posters about Rug Rules online.

(There was a small side discussion about whether kids should be sitting criss cross applesauce.  Several participants remembered reading articles debating this sitting position.  Might be something to look into further if you are interested!)

Question #4: WILD CARD - The audience may pose a question. 

How do you keep toddlers from eating bubbles?  

(Interesting question!  A bubble machine is used at the end of a toddler storytime and the little ones enjoy popping them with mouths, not their hands!  Both the librarian and the parents have tried to dissuade the behavior with no luck.  This one stumped the group a bit.  But here is what we came up with!)

  • It's normal and okay.  
  • Make a game out of popping the bubbles with their hands instead of their mouths.
  • Look for edible bubbles or safe bubbles.

Question #5: Challenge: Sing your closing song.

  • "It's Time to Say Goodbye to All Our Friends" (To the tune of "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain")
  • Ring Around a Rosie
(The question was posed about using a closing song if storytime isn't over, but rather turning into a craft time or play time.)

  • Use the song as a good-bye to sitting still and a transition to the next activity.
  • "If You're Happy and You Know It" is celebratory not good-bye.
  • Before singing, explain to the kids what they are doing next. 
  • It can be helpful to talk about what activities are left throughout storytime so they know what to expect.
  • Be consistent. Do the same thing each week.


Question #6: We briefly discussed how to change aspects of your storytime.  What do you do if storytime becomes boring to you?

  • Change a little bit at a time to keep the structure of your storytime.
  • Offer creative play time instead of more organized crafts.
  • Create stations to change out activities.  However, this may involve more set up.
  • For toddlers, offer stuffed toys to play with as well as coloring activities.


Question #7: We took some time to talk using ukuleles doing storytime?

  • To make it easier to play and keep control of your group, plan time for touching before you begin to play.
  • Parents are forgiving of skill level.
  • They are not hard to play.
  • Ukuleles can be purchased at local music stores.
  • They are easier to learn than guitars.
  • Don't be afraid of it!
  • There is an app for tuning ukuleles.  (Recommended by several in the room)
  • When in doubt, google it!  There are lots of great blogs with children's songs available for you to use.
  • Ukulele too complicated for you?  Try a canjo!  It's a homemade instrument made from a can, a stick, and one strong.
    A homemade canjo, in case you were wondering what one looks like. 

Question #8: What's your favorite fingerplay?

  • Five little monkeys (Using monkey mitts)
  • The monkey and the crocodile (the crocodile can even spit the monkeys out!)
(This question turned into a conversation about using possible "scary" rhymes or stories during storytime, such as The Three Little Pigs.)

  • Know your audience.
  • Recognize that some stories can be scary.
  • Preschoolers may be better at handling "scarier" endings than toddlers.
(And the conversation changed directions again!  This time we discussed briefly the joy of reading books to preschoolers about bodily functions, underwear, butts, etc.  Good times!)

Question #9: What's your favorite use of props in storytime?

  • Alphabet bean bags with windows showing objects from that letter of the alphabet.
    These can be purchased at Lakeshore Learning.

  • Interesting items brought from home - ex. cycling gear, musical instruments.
  • Box themed storytime - use different sized boxes to bang on during songs.
  • Time/clock themed storytime - touch and play with a toy clock.  Use it to tell the time in the stories read.  
  • A box is great for collecting smaller props in.
  • Supersize Storytime (An idea from the librarians at Grandview Heights Public Library) - librarians prerecord themselves and act out the stories with the use of props.  An example, The Three Little Pigs can be acted out with big cardboard houses and kids sticking out of cutout windows as the pigs.

Question #10: A parent says (loudly) that they miss the other storytime leader. What do you do?

  • Let them know that you loved him/her too and you know you have big shoes to fill.
  • Just be yourself! They will soon forget.
  • We all do storytimes differently.  That's okay!
  • Turn the comment around and tell them how happy you are to meet them.
  • Acknowledge that transitions are hard.
  • If you are the librarian leaving, talk up the new person with the group.  Encourage them to be accepting and assist with the transition. If feasible, have the new librarian come to one of your storytimes so he/she can be introduced.
  • If you are only going to be gone temporarily, let your group know that someone new will be doing storytime the next week.  This will help them know what to expect.
(We briefly discussed whether all storytimes should be consistent at a library.  Sometimes multiple librarians share a program or session.  The suggestion was made that perhaps the same literacy skill could be used each week across storytimes for consistency.  It was also suggested that librarians ask their local kindergarten teachers what they would like their incoming kindergartners to know.)

Did you attend the session?  Please leave us a note in the comments so we can improve for next time!

Thank you to everyone who came and made our first Guerilla Storytime so much fun!  It may have been the last session on Friday, but you guys rocked! 

Thank you Emily Bayci for coming and snapping this photo of our awesome group!