About 9 months after I started my volunteer storytime and 3 months after I started this blog, I was promoted to a position in the Outreach Department, coordinating the Storytime-To-Go program. This is a program that was started in early 2013 to provide storytime services to area daycares who do not have the means to transport kids to the library, particularly for at-risk populations. A donated RV that had previously been used as a mobile classroom was remodeled to serve as a mobile storytime room, which we generally refer to as the "Storytime Bus".
Originally, the program was intended to be entirely volunteer-driven, with two volunteers on the bus each day, and initially jointly overseen by the Outreach and Youth Services Managers, then later exclusively by Outreach. However, having enough *reliable* volunteers proved to be more difficult than anticipated, and in mid-2015 a staff position was created so that there would always be at least one person on the bus, ideally accompanied by a volunteer, but capable of working alone (which is where I came in). This eliminated all the last minute scrambling, allowed the rest of the outreach staff and manager to focus on their own duties, and provided some needed continuity and stability.
Since it was initially designed to be done by volunteers, themed kits were created: a bin full of several pre-selected books, songs, rhymes, and activities that fit the theme. This way the volunteers didn't have to plan anything, they could pick and choose what books and activities they used, to suit their own styles and tastes, and any given group of kids. I still use these kits as well, but I am updating and refining them as I go, as well as developing new kits. The bus goes to several different daycares on a 2-week cycle, so we visit each one twice a month and do the same theme for 2 weeks.
For each class, we typically present a 20-25-minute storytime, with 2-3 stories and 1-2 songs/rhymes/activites. I have also added my "story song" as a regular beginning routine, as I observed the volunteers did not do that and I felt a consistent beginning song to ease transitions and help the kids settle was needed. In addition, I added a quick "Letter-of-the-Day" to the introduction to work on letter recognition. This program requires a very different and very fluid type of storytime "plan". I plan the theme, but I do not have a specific plan for each storytime. Every group is different, and I never know for sure which kids or which ages we are going to get at any given time slot, so I have to do everything on the fly, adjusting to each group as we go.
Since I do as many as 15-20 storytimes a week with the Storytime-To-Go program, I post a summary of each 2-week rotation instead of posting a detailed write-up of each storytime like I do for my regular storytime. So while we only do 2-3 books and 1-2 activities for each class, we may use a dozen or more different books and several different songs and/or activities over the course of the 2-weeks. These posts will be tagged "Storytime-To-Go" in addition to the theme.
If you'd like to see more about our program, here is the PSA that was released shortly after the program was implemented:
If you'd like more detailed discussions of specific elements of storytime planning, check out all my posts tagged "Storytime Planning".
**UPDATE - Sadly, after 5 years of library service (and 15 years of use altogether), the Storytime Bus was retired in April of 2018 due to age, cost to maintain, and amount of down time due to repairs. The Storytime-To-Go program continued, but in the form of traditional classroom visits done by Outreach staff, no volunteers.
Shortly after, I moved to a new position as a Library Associate in the children's department of a very busy suburban branch where I get to interact with a much wider range of ages, and have much more variety in my day-to-day activities, but I still do storytime, both an in-house family storytime and a little outreach.
I need you to come to our school.ReplyDelete
Too bad you aren't in our service area, but you should contact your local public library. They may not have a swanky storytime bus like ours, but they probably do offer some type of outreach storytime program.Delete