Every Tuesday, the children’s section of the Ilsley Library plays host to a storytime for babies and toddlers. If you arrive early enough, you might find Youth Services Librarian Tricia Allen setting up the soft pillows and board books for storytime – don’t be afraid to ask if you can help! Pretty soon the room fills as the littles ones and their grown-ups pile into the room and plop down on the pillows for a lovely and fun forty-five minutes of interactive finger and lap songs and story time.
Every session starts with a friendly hello song which you’ll quickly get the hang of. Tricia makes it easy and fun to join in the songs for the kids and parents. Her infectious enthusiasm is evident in the joy it elicits from her young audience. If you attend more than once, you’ll see there is a reliable and fun routine of songs and felt board activities set up for the kids to learn from week to week. This repetition is helpful for language acquisition and early literacy, which are the core mission of these programs offered by the library. The kids and their caregivers sit side-by-side to learn and enjoy the whole routine together. I frequently find myself absentmindedly humming one or two of the songs throughout the day. They are stuck in my head forever now.
After a few songs, the whole group reads the book together. Copies of the book are laid on each pillow for kids to follow through on their own or with the help of their grown-up. Throughout the course of the year, the storytimes have about three distinct topics that focus on a board book that the children and parents look through week after week. While some of the songs are part of the routine all year long, others are introduced as the topic of the board book changes.
Parking can be tight in the library parking lot, but the lower municipal lot usually has open spaces. While no food is served, some light snacking with food from home can happen in the meeting room. As an added bonus, if you attend story time on the last day of the session, your child gets to bring the book home! This gift is made possible by the generosity of the Friends of Ilsley Library.
And if you find yourself with extra time after storytime ends, make sure to check out the great play area in the back of the children’s section. There are comfortable chairs to share stories and ample opportunities for imaginative play.
Minibury was lucky enough to grab a few minutes with Tricia to get her answers to our usual questions about the weekly activities. Read on!
What’s your favorite part of story time?
TA: As librarian, my favorite part is seeing kids learning the songs and the bounces and week to week they know more and more. They are excited to see me, see their friends and have fun.
On the whole, my favorite part are the bounces! They are having fun and learning early literacy skills at the same time.
MB: What’s it like to be a child at this playgroup? A parent?
TA: Parents like to know about expectations for the kids at storytime. The baby and toddler storytime is based on songs, lap play and one story. Kids at this age are learning more through play, rhymes, and motion. They are building their endurance for longer stories. The preschool story time is better for kids who ready to sit and pay attention for a long time.
Part of my job is to make all kids who come to the library feel welcome. To show them there are adults who are helpful and that the library is a safe, welcoming place for them to come.
MB: What’s a good thing to know about before someone attends this event?
TA: It happens every week in the meeting room. This is a storytime for babies and toddlers and perfect behavior is not expected. Everyone who is there knows that being loud and crying sometimes happens. Some kids make it through the first five minutes, some make it ten minutes, some make it the whole half hour. I’d rather parents come and make it for five minutes, than not at all. The more times they come, the longer and longer they’ll be able to stay.
MB: What’s the best spot for little kids in town that no one knows about?
TA: It’s not in town, but it’s worth the hour drive – especially in winter – Wonderfeet Children’s museum in Rutland. It’s a great children museum. It’s the size of a storefront but there are lots of great things for kids: a play diner and credit union, a puppet theater, a glow-in-the-dark cave, a kid’s maker space, a fun play area for babies, and more. My 7 year old just brought his friends there for his birthday.
MB: What do you enjoy about working with young children?
TA: Just about everything! Their enthusiasm is one of my favorite things about working with young children. I can be wild and crazy and goofy and they’re going to be the same in response. They aren’t afraid to give hugs and smiles.
When i go into kindergartens for outreach program for local schools, no matter what kind of day i’m having when i leave i feel like a movie star. I am constantly reminded of how wonderful it is to work with kids and how great it is to see the world through their eyes.
Baby and Toddler Storytime
Ilsley Public Library
Jessica Swift Community meeting room on lower level
Tuesdays from 10:00AM – 10:45AM
- Follows ACSD school calendar, including snowdays!
Birth-3YO focused, but all are welcome