Story time at your local public library is a marvelous learning opportunity for children and it’s a great place for parents, grandparent and other care providers to see kids getting a start on their education.  

At a typical story time, families experience songs, stories, finger plays and crafts. Babies bounce on knees and older kids get up and sing and dance. I love to watch young children when they first come to one of my library story times. Initially they are usually shy and quiet and spend a lot of time on mom or grandma’s lap. After a couple of guitar sing-a-longs (I love playing for them), an engaging story and a fingerplay or two, kids can’t seem to resist inching toward the colorful carpet in front of me. This is where regular story time attendees sing, dance and attentively listen to the colorful books I read each week. I have found that by the time a child has attended a couple of story times, there is no stopping their exuberance at being a part of this joy-filled time at the library. It may all seem like fun and games but during library story time, youngsters not only learn a love of reading, they also develop social skills necessary for the classroom. Learning how to interact with a potential friend who may be singing a bit too loud or being able to share that favorite spot right by the librarian is important stuff. Library story time is great place for children to learn about books and getting along with your neighbor.

After the program, children get down to the serious business of creating a craft.  It turns out that while the little ones are focusing on the glue and construction papers, grownups have a chance to visit and chat about the pleasures and challenges of child rearing. Over the years, I’ve observed many folks connecting and delightful friendships grow and blossom. What a wonderful thing that a library activity for kids also turns out to be great time for parents too! 

Mary Jennings

Children's Librarian on Camano Island, Washington