Out of all the great sessions, wonderful conversation starters, and other stuff at ALA, Guerilla Storytime inspired me the most. I cannot stop thinking about how awesome it was, and how I want (need) to keep that awesome going now that ALA is over. (If you want to read some thorough and thoughtful write-ups, go over to The Show Me Librarian and Mel’s Desk.)
In short, a group of youth librarians got together at three different times during ALA to learn and share and spread the good word about early literacy. Cory’s idea was for youth librarians to get together and, through real-life situations, share ideas related to storytimes and early literacy. There was a cup full of challenges, such as “Parents won’t stop chatting during storytime, what do you do?” or “What’s your go-to ‘5 little somethings’ rhyme?” or “What’s your favorite way to transition from one activity to the next?” and on and on and on.
It was AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME. I would pay to go to an entire conference of Guerilla-style sessions. (Guerilla ALA, anyone?) It was crazy fun, and I learned loads of new skills, songs, and techniques. It was empowering to be in the same space with so many talented, smart librarians. And it really started me thinking. Cory and others have plans to keep Guerilla Storytime going online, and plans to make it a regular conference occurrence. Which is fabulous, but I want as much Guerilla Storytime in my life as possible. I want a way to have that awesome-librarian-sharing in my life on the regular. And I want to spread the word and share that experience with as many other youth librarians as possible.
I talked to the Coordinator of Youth Services for my system, who runs our monthly Children’s staff meetings. I want to make this type of skill share a part of our library staff culture. We could start each staff meeting with a challenge or two, inviting librarians to share their strategies and solutions for each challenge. Once we got rolling, it wouldn’t have to be limited to storytime challenges. We could submit challenges of all sorts, and librarians who felt they handled those situations well could share their expertise.
I work in a big system, with over 25 Children’s Librarians. Adding a Guerilla Storytime component to our monthly meetings would not only be a great way for librarians to learn from each other, but also a valuable team building experience. Singing and wiggling and reading books together really brings a group together, you know? (I know you do.)
I’m curious: has Guerilla Storytime sparked any big ideas for you? How do you plan to keep the spirit of Guerilla Storytime alive in your heart throughout the year?