On Tuesday we attended library storytime for the first time in our new neighborhood library. The building itself is really close and really new. I couldn't help compare it with our former beloved library, the Shreve-North branch where we attended weekly story times. Here our community is filled with young families, many of the young parents are students at UCSD (University of California at San Diego). Below is a picture with Brooklyn and a couple friends from church, Amelia and Jonathan. Brooklyn and Jonathan are jumping around and Amelia is probably thinking, "Who are these wild animals? Do I have to pretend like I know them?"
So storytime here at the University City North Branch library is huge. There is a gang of kids all in the middle of the room. The moms are on the perimeter, many holding other younger siblings of the children in the middle of the room. There are of course stories and songs, but really how structured can we be with 20-30 kids under the age of 4? On the other hand, we had an exclusive group of Southern Bells at storytime in Louisiana. All of them are known affectionately by name by Ms. Virginia, the children's librarian. Every week, they had their hair neatly coiffed with large bows matching their well-coordinated outfits. They could be their own exclusive group called something like "Sisterhood of bright pink bows." Did I mention that one week they all fought over a pink flower that was part of the activity?
Ms. Virginia has a theme for each storytime, which is beautifully brought to life by posters on display along with the books that will be read and other accessories to illustrate the theme, (stuffed animals, trinkets, manipulatives, etc.). Each storytime follows the same routine. First, a wiggle song, (the same one, every week). Then, one to three books, then another activity song related to the theme. Next comes the well-organized craft. For Brooklyn and I, it was usually me doing most of the work while she'd try to put glue-stick over everything. She did make the big decisions though when it came to choices of color or sticker decorations. After that is a short movie or cartoon based on a picture book. At the end of storytime, the children thank Ms. Virginia one by one and hugs are exchanged. In our hands as we leave the room is our craft, several theme-related coloring pages, flyers about upcoming community events or children's activities, and sometimes, free children's magazines that are being purged from the updated collection. Manners are very important here. Each child has at least one adult with her who is watching closely to make sure her child cooperates with the other children, follows directions, and uses her manners.
We miss you, Ms. Virginia, and all the gals with the big bows and all the me-maws and gram-paws that came to storytime at Shreveport North!
As a side note, these photos are from the end of January, this year. Isn't it crazy how much Brooklyn has grown since then? She totally looks dwarfish compared to the other girls. She was the youngest one there, but still!