The Iron Fist of Justice does storytime


I think yesterday will go down as one of my proudest professional days, for two reasons:

First, storytime.

If I may say so, it was a rousing success.

I was a bit nervous – not gonna lie about that. But once you get started, it’s like public speaking – you’ve started and there’s no turning back, so just run with it. (Not like I have a problem with public speaking. Ask my parents about the toast I gave when I was two-and-a-half.) Six adults and five children were there – from a few months old to almost-toddlers. At first I thought the turnout was small, but it turned out to be the perfect size. The adults were all good participants, which made all the difference.

Here’s the order:

At the beginning, I introduced myself and said that this was my first storytime, so to please bear with me. I had a cheat sheet with the order of the songs and books and fingerplays. No shame!

1) Opening song: ‘Hello, How Are You?” (2x; after the first time, I go, “What good singers we have! Let’s sing that again!” or something like that. This is the traditional opening song at our Baby Lapsit.)

Tune: Skip To My Lou 
Hello, how are you?
Hello, how are you?
Hello, how are you?
How are you today?

(Point to self, then point to your neighbor)
I’m fine; I hope you are, too.
I’m fine; I hope you are, too.
I’m fine; I hope you are, too.
I hope you’re fine today.

I’m clapping my hands; you do it, too.
I’m clapping my hands; you do it, too.
I’m clapping my hands; you do it, too.
Clap your hands with me.

Book: I’m a Baby, You’re a Baby, by Lisa Kopper

(As I said each animal, I made the sound that the animal makes and asked the adults to say it with me. By which I said, “Let’s all say the sound together!” which means the adults, setting the example for the children.)

Fingerplay: “Open/Shut Them” (2x)

Book: Giddy-Up, Let’s Ride! by Flora McDonnell. I encouraged the adults to bounce their babies on their knees, but most didn’t. Oh well.

Fingerplay: “The Wheels on the Bus” (long enough and repetitive enough to only do it once.)

Book: Say Hello! by Rachel Isadora [this was the only narrative-based story I did, which was a bit too involved for babies, I realize now. But it was nice to be able to say “hello” in different languages, and the adults said it with me. I would say “(word) is how you say hello in (language)” just for clarification. Hey, you never know.]

Fingerplay: “If You’re Happy and You Know It” (Why am I linking to this? Who doesn’t know this song?!? Also long enough and repetitive enough to sing it only once.)

Book: Five Little Ducks by Ivan Bates (I sang the whole thing. I did a lot of singing. Happily, there were no bleeding ears at the end.)

Closing song: “The More We Get Together” (2x. The standard Baby Lapsit closing song. I liked keeping all the songs constant, so that whoever is leading Baby Lapsit is still keeping it consistent.)

Then I pulled out the box of toys and everyone played with them, and after about ten minutes I put it away and encouraged people to visit our early literacy room, right outside the storytime room.

It went really well. Right after storytime, I ran off to stay at the teens desk. Apparently one of the parents came up to one of my coworkers on the children’s desk and said that even though I had said that it was my first storytime, they couldn’t tell, or I had done really well, or something like that. (Pride goeth before the fall.)

Second: I am the Iron Fist of Justice.

We have a recording studio adjacent to the teens room that teens can use if they’ve taken the orientation – about 45 minutes – and read the rules and signed a form saying they will adhere to said rules. We have a pretty comprehensive spreadsheet with a checklist, dates of orientation, etc.

I was the only adult in teens when the third of a triplet of teens, scheduled to record with the other two, asked to be let in. The paperwork was okay, so I went to the studio to let him in, and I noticed the lights were off. Big no-no. I reminded them to turn the lights on.

Awhile later, when I went in to give them their five-minute warning, I saw that the lights were off again, but quickly switched on once they saw me.

Not smart on their end.

When they came out – FINALLY – I called them together, pulled out their signed orientation sheets, and told them that they were all banned for a month (that sounds long, but it’s standard, I promise), and explained that they had all signed the form, so they had read the rules, one of which was that the lights were to be on at all times, and they needed to take personal responsibility for their actions.

Then the excuses started. One of the guys said that he didn’t have anything to do with it. My response: you knew that the lights had to be on, so you had something to do with it by not turning them on. Then another guy said – this was great – that the lights were off when they went into the studio. My response: The lights are supposed to be on at all times, and I’m not sure why you didn’t turn on lights when you walked into a room.

They argued a bit, and I told them that was the way it was, and too bad, tough shit, and sorry, and they left.

Now, during this exchange, a director of a different division was in the teen space with me, and overheard the whole thing. He’d come by to ask me a quick question, and before he asked it, after the teens left, he complimented me on how I’d handled the situation. I felt good about that.

But not nearly as good as I’d felt when my boss came in, about 20 minutes later, and said, “Hey, T overheard your banning of the teens, and he said you were really professional and mature and handled it nicely.”

(Annabelle was busting at this point.)

So two big benchmarks in my librarian career: my first storytime, and my first banning. Now that I have both under my belt, I feel as if I’ve truly become a productive, useful member of the team. Holla!

Now, in What’s Annabelle Reading: I finished The Skull and the Nightingale today, and really, really enjoyed it. I love historical fiction, particularly about London, and particularly when it’s superaccurate and bawdy and fun. The research into this book was solid, and it was thought-provoking.

I’m about to start a whole stack of YA and juvenile fiction, so those will seem like cake compared to a thick novel.

What a great Friday!


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