Storytime Success

Part of my storytime responsibilities at my current library are planning and performing baby and toddler storytimes each week.  I have two classes, Babytime and Mini-Movers which are for children up to 3 years old.  I love seeing the smiles on these faces and we always have a great time together singing and playing.  It’s also a supportive outlet for parents and caregivers to have some ‘adult’ conversation time.  I’ve met some great families along the way and am glad they continue to choose my classes for storytime.

Hug Machine by Scott Campbell.  Visit him at

Hug Machine by Scott Campbell. Visit his website at

This fall for one of my September Mini-Movers classes, I chose a newly published picture book called, Hug Machine by Peter Cambpell.

At first, I thought, this is probably more appropriate for a Valentine’s theme, but as soon as I read it  was hooked!  Hug Machine is a delightfully simple story about a little boy who declares himself, the Hug Machine.  He then proceeds to go around town and hug everyone and everything in sight, spreading love, joy and kindness to all.  At the end of the day, he finds himself too tired to hug, and then is surprised by a huge hug from his mom.  The story has been compared to Shel Silverstein poem “Hug O’ War,’ a modern classic indeed.  This book illustrates with soft, gentle and warm colors the feelings and emotions one gets when reading that poem.   It’s a fantastic author debut from Cambpell and has received much critical acclaim from Kirkus, School Library Journal and hundreds of reader reviews at Goodreads.

Reading the book with a cozy puppet in hand and letting the children hug him, made for an even warmer story.  Asking the kids if they like hugs and can they hug someone they love, were easy questions and provided an attention grabber for wandering toddlers.    Adding in a simple fingerplay further illustrated the theme of friendship and even added counting and math concepts.    It was an all around, heart-warming and fun storytime.  Books such as these make great selections for reading aloud and sharing with children of all ages.  I can’t wait to see what Cambpell comes out with next!


Paws to Read Summer Reading Success

The theme this summer was Paws to Read, and what a versatile and fun theme for the youth services librarian!  I had to create an idea to informally display the progress of kid who finished the summer reading program.  There were many ideas that my fellow librarians and I discussed, but I kept coming back to this thought of dog bones.  The children would write their name on a dog bone and we would feed Rocket the Dog.  Rocket was a large plush stuffed animal who was cozy and welcoming.  The hugs and smiles he received over the summer was immeasurable!  10362818_10152046838197382_624683702549072675_o

We needed a place to display Rocket and his food, so of course, the only solution was a doghouse.  I contacted the local Home Depot, who was often very generous with kids building programs, and asked if they would be willing to donate supplies or knew of someone we could hire to build the doghouse.  They volunteered a wonderful local artist who creates displays at their store!  He and I met to discuss the idea and our display challenges such as space and size.  What a fantastic doghouse did we receive!  Rocket had his own mailbox with a hinged lid so kids could put their bones inside and we could visually track the progress of all the ‘food’ he was eating. The characters from his book were also with him, and he even had a little white picket fence around his art.

The simple idea of a display turned into a complete art exhibit installation and I was so proud of the results and impressed with the artist and partner support!

Idea in Action: Adventure Packs

Update!  These have been so successful, I’ve added new packs to the collection.  I Love Cats and I Love Dogs are additions for the Summer Reading theme of Paws to Read.

  1. Winter Weather Fun;  added over the winter and includes the Frozen soundtrack!
  2. Playful People:  A Pirate Party
  3. Playful People:  A Princess Party
  4. Animals:  Dynamic Dinosaurs
  5.  I Love Cats
  6. I Love Dogs
  7. Dance & Gymnastics:  Moove and Groove
  8. Sports:  Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Sensory Storytime

I held the first sensory storytime at my library this afternoon and I’m so excited at its success. The idea behind this unique storytime is to incorporate the five senses into the program for children who may have special needs or have processing issues.    There were 4 children in attendance, two children did not speak English and one was on the Autism spectrum.   The theme was FISH and the kids loved it.  I incorporated touch and hearing elements into the stories and songs.  We sang songs, blew bubbles, swam like fish and played a fishing game.  The game was designed to help kids with fine motor skills and of course, to be fun.  Overall, a great experience and I hope this opens the door to more families and kids.  I am holding two more sessions, one in October and one in November.

“Digital” Storytime

I incorporated the Library’s Ipad in my beginning reader storytime tonight and it was a huge success. I wanted to use this storytime as an introduction to the idea of digital literacy.  We first had a conversation about what an Ipad and tablet was and how their teachers use smart boards in the classroom.  I wasn’t surprised at all they knew about digital devices at such a young age and we talked about the different mediums.   What also interested me is that while the kids know about the internet, tablets, smartphones, etc. and many knew how to use them, they didn’t understand the differences of the products or what everything does.  I also talked to them about how as they learn to read, using a real book together with an audio, playaway or Ipad app of the same book can help them learn.  They thought it was the coolest idea and I got a room full of ‘ooooooh’s’  I also pulled actual copies of the books we ‘read’ aloud with the Ipad and they literally RAN to the back counter of the storyroom to check them out!

I am really excited at how this simple technique got these kids so excited about reading and I plan to use the idea again!

Idea in Action: Adventure Packs

Adventure Packs are here and have flown off the shelves!  I am thrilled that this new collection has been so well received by patrons.   There are 10 total packs.  Each pack comes zip tied in a clear plastic backpack and has a descriptive label listing what’s inside.  The packs are themed and each has a variety of books, games, puzzles, toys, and music CDs.  Each pack includes brand new items.

The themes are:

  1. Animals:  Awesome Animals
  2. Vacation:  Bodacious Beach Vacation
  3. Vacation:  Spectacular Summer Vacation
  4. Vacation:  Planes, Trains and Cars
  5. Outdoors:  Explore the Great Outdoors
  6. Summer/Bugs/Gardening:  Explore Nature in Your Backyard
  7. Explore the World 1:  Be a World Explorer (Ages 8+)
  8. Explore the World 2:  Be a World Explorer (Ages 3+)
  9. Explore the USA:  Take a Trip Around the USA
  10. Early Literacy: Learn Your ABC’s and 1,2,3’s