20 Years of Storytime


In January I posted this pic in Instagram with the caption “2016 = twenty years of planning storytime.”

In 1995 I graduated library school, and in early 1996 I landed my first library job and was given a weekly storytime, so that’s where I’m starting my official count. Unlike a lot of librarians, I had NO experience with storytime before I went to library school. So my children’s services class was the first chance I had to put together a storytime agenda.

Guess what?

It was pretty mediocre.

How do I know?

I still have it!


I look at this plan and I think of ALL THE THINGS I have learned about storytime, and kids, and presenting, and cognitive & physical development, and group dynamics, and early literacy, and children’s literature, and ten other things I am forgetting at the moment, over the thousand storytimes I have shared.

I would grade myself much more harshly than my professor did! šŸ™‚

Out of this entire list, I would, maybe, keep The More We Get Together, Where’s My Teddy, and Teddy Bear Teddy Bear in a storytime I planned now. I put storytimes together in a completely different way. I look for different qualities in my rhymes and fingerplays. My time is more evenly balanced between books and activities. This doesn’t even feel like one of “my” storytimes!

I love that I can look back and see how far I’ve come. I can’t wait to do another 10 or 15 years of storytime and see where I end up!

What have you learned since you’ve started storytime? What’s different about your storytimes now?

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12 Responses to 20 Years of Storytime

  1. Bryce says:

    Wow– that is really cool! I feel like I’m looking at not just a piece of Mel history, but a piece of Youth Services history. Congrats on 20 years of storytime!

  2. Danielle says:

    What would be cool is to see the After 20 story plan with the same theme. So a before and after shot of your plan.

  3. Melissa says:

    Hmmmm! This is a fun idea Danielle!!! Thank you!

  4. Melissa says:

    xoxo Bryce!

  5. CJ says:

    I’ve been doing it for 10 years and I can’t imagine how different those first storytime plans would be compared to now! So much has changed since then!

  6. Malia says:

    I celebrated 20 years of storytimes last year. Those who truly love children’s librarianship are unique. Congrats!

  7. Sarah says:

    I’ve only been at it for four years, and it’s amazing to look back at my plans from the first year and wonder what I was thinking. I can only imagine what this will feel like in 15 years!

  8. Karen says:

    I realized last week that I’ve now got 10 years experience with storytime – 2 at one job starting in 1999, then a big gap and another 8 years at my current job. There are definitely things I did in 1999 that I would still do now – every now and then I look through my materials from that era for inspiration or some long-forgotten gem. Nowadays I’ve mostly given up themes and fingerplays, I spend a ton of time on each book talking with the children (so I don’t get in three books most of the time) and of course I added in early literacy messages. The early literacy stuff was all there in 1999, we knew what we were doing was meaningful and important, but it’s more intentional these days.

  9. Melissa says:

    Thanks for this peek at your changes and process, Karen! It’s so fascinating how things have developed, in the library world and in our own personal storytimes!

  10. Lisa says:

    I’m smiling, because I’ve used “Matreshka,” for years, only instead of reading it, I tell it with a set of the wooden dolls!

    And this inspired a post from me <a href="http://libraryladystorytimes.blogspot.com/2016/04/many-years-of-storytimes.html"Many Years of Storytimes"

  11. Melissa says:

    AWESOME šŸ™‚

  12. Melissa says:

    Excellent! Thanks for adding your story, Lisa šŸ™‚

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