By DEB SULLIVAN
On the Shelves
The first time I took my children to a story time at a public library, I was totally surprised. It wasn’t what I expected — it was so much more. Not only did the kids love the experience, but I came away with new ways to read stories with my children.
The librarian seamlessly modeled use of inflection, voices, questions, and props… and I was hooked! As Paula Gilbert, York County Libraries children and youth services director would say, “our home became a reading home.”
“Story time is not just reading books,” said Nancy Duncan, youth service program coordinator for Red Land Community Library. “It takes a lot more than that to hold the attention of young ones.”
Take the kids to a York County Libraries story time and you will quickly learn that she and other library storytellers integrate fingerplays, flannel board activities, rhymes, music and bounces to keep young children engaged.
“It is so good for them,” Duncan said, explaining that in addition to pre-reading skills, they are also learning how to play and wait their turn.
Behind the story time fun is a lot of preplanning by children’s staff, who are matching up books and activities to teach many of Pennsylvania’s Early Learning Standards and PA Forward basic literacy skills.
The recent award of a $5,000 Library Services Technology Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to the York County Library System is already starting to streamline how library youth services staff are putting their fall story time programs together.
According to Gilbert, a training team led by Duncan is using the funds to create traveling story time trunks that will initially be shared by six York County libraries beginning Sept. 23. The team is selecting age-appropriate books and activities around some of the most common themes for babies and toddlers, such as colors, bedtime, animals, nursery rhymes, pumpkins and leaves, and things that go.
By the time they are finished, they will have created 30 themed kits that will be used during three 9-week sessions, one in the fall, winter and spring.
The programs are geared specifically for babies and toddlers from birth to 3 years old and their parents/caregivers.
Registration for the fall session is already underway at the participating libraries, which include Collinsville Community Library, Dover Area Community Library, Kreutz Creek Valley Library Center, Martin Library, Red Land Community Library and Village Library.
“It is truly an early learning experience for children,” Gilbert said. “They are receiving a quality experience with books, music and movement in their early years. And for parents, it is a first glimpse at what the library can do as an early learning center.”
If you go
The story time trunks will be traveling to each of the following six libraries beginning the week of Sept. 23. Call your library or stop in to register your child. Find locations and library hours at www.yorklibraries.org.
- 9:30 a.m. Mondays — Born to Read (12 to 23 months)
- 10:30 a.m. Mondays — Terrific Twos (2-year-olds)
- 10:30 a.m. Mondays — Baby/Toddler Storytime (Birth to 2-year-olds)
Kreutz Creek Valley Library Center
- 10:30 a.m. Mondays — Babies & Toddlers Story Time (Birth to 3 years)
Dover Area Community Library
- 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays — Toddler Time (2- and 3-year-olds)
- 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. Thursdays — Toddler Time (2- and 3-year-olds)
- 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays and 9:30 a.m. Thursdays — Baby Time (Birth to 24 months)
Collinsville Community Library
- 9:30 a.m. Wednesdays — Baby Time (Birth to 3 years)
Red Land Community Library
- 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays — Books & Babies (Birth to 18 months)
- 10:15 and 11:15 a.m. Thursdays — Toddler Story Time (18 months to 3 years)