Sunday, September 30, 2012

Early Literacy Revisited/Storytime

This post relates back to the unit we did a couple weeks ago about young children.  My sister has a little guy who is about 1.5 years old.  She wanted to take him to one of the storytimes offered by one of her local libraries (she lives in California).  She checked on the website and there wasn't an advance registration option, so she showed up a few minutes early and the place was packed!  She and a couple other parents/caregivers were asked to leave because it was full.

I guess the way it works is that the parents/caregivers show up early with their little ones and wait in the hall until the librarian comes to open up the Children's Room a few minutes before the start of the program.  This particular program is capped at 25.  I guess they have had so much interest in a toddler storytime program that they have started adding additional storytimes weekday mornings in an effort to try to accommodate everyone.

This got me thinking about the group exercise we did in class where we created a plan for a storytime. One of the questions we talked about was whether to have advance registration as an option and allow for a couple drop-ins, or whether there would be a no-registration, first-come-first-served policy.  Any thoughts/experiences on the best way to do this?  I think my sister will probably try to go again in the next couple weeks and try to get there earlier, but if you don't have an advance registration option do you risk losing people who might not come back again if they are turned away once?


  1. As a parent, it is painful to get to a place with kids who are excited to be there and then find that there is no way that they can get in. This is one of the reasons that I would always recommend an advance registration, but as some in class noted, I would also try to keep some slots open for cancellations. Knowing that there is such an interest in these types of events is a huge positive, though, as it shows that there are a lot of parents and kids who love stories and know that the best places to find them are libraries. Jim

  2. I think it partly depends on the library and the program itself. The children's department at one of my employers stopped doing registration in order to encourage drop-ins. However, this storytime is exclusively stories, rhymes, singing, and movement activities. They rarely, if ever, do a craft or something where you'd need a specific number of supplies. This is also a relatively small community (approximately 8,000), and attendance is usually 15-20 at most, 7-10 typically. My other employer does do registration for storytimes--however, the storytime program typically involves a simple craft of some sort, so supplies are a concern. They also do some drop-in or less formal storytimes at other locations in the community.