The Storytime Bus is an RV that was donated and retrofitted into a mobile storytime room to take storytime to daycares and preschools who don't have the means to visit the library (see video below). It was originally intended to be a completely volunteer-driven program, but unfortunately that didn't work out due to a shortage of reliable volunteers. Thus, the need for creating the position I now have. Since it was intended to be conducted by volunteers, storytimes were loosely pre-planned by creating kits for various themes. Each kit is basically a storytime-in-a-box: a plastic bin filled with a number of books related to the theme, of varying types & lengths, different activities such as flannel boards, rhymes, and songs. So the person conducting the storytime can pick and choose books that suit their style and the age and attention span of each class, and mix it up if they get bored. The storytime bus visits a different day care each day for 2 weeks, then repeats; therefore the theme changes every 2 weeks. Each storytime lasts approximately 20 minutes.
Each group had 10-12 kids, about 4 years old, and one teacher. The kids were all pretty well behaved, actually better than I had expected. There was one incident that was a bit funny and ironic, as we were reading Bedtime Bugs. When we got to the part about bugs in the bath one boy exclaimed "That's gross!," while he had his finger knuckle-deep up his nose! Out of the four books, I would say that Llama Lama and Bedtime Bugs were probably the biggest hits. I particularly was impressed with the miniature pop-up book within the Bedtime Bugs pop-up book.
I'm still not sure how I'm going to handle blogging about my outreach storytimes on the bus since there will be so many, but I will probably start by just summarizing in one post each week and see how that works, and tag these as "outreach storytimes" to differentiate from the storytime I have been doing that I plan from scratch every other week (which will now be on Friday instead of Wednesday). I think I will have a lot of fun on the bus, and I look forward to the opportunity to be involved in collection development as well.
Also, I just wanted to mention I have decided to start another blog, Jen's Library Tales, covering all other library topics that are not storytime/picture books, mostly to document that I am staying current with middle grade and teen lit, and still staying in practice with customer service, reader's advisory, and reference as I will be working the children's desk one day a week in addition to the storytime bus.
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