In May this year, I had the pleasure and privilege of co-organizing Guerrilla Story Time for the Massachusetts Library Association’s Annual conference, held in Worcester, MA. If you aren’t sure what Guerrilla Story Time is, you should read my post on Guerrilla Story Time from last year’s ALA, and visit the Storytime Underground site for more info.
I collaborated with Ashley Waring, an awesome and enthusiastic librarian out of Reading, MA. We gathered during the lunch hour, and spent the morning telling anyone and everyone to join us. Ashley made little flyers and some amazing GS pins for us to wear for promotion. We chose a spot strategically so that conference participants would have to walk by us on their way to/from lunch. We started with a small circle and grew and grew and grew!
Ashley had made a fabulous sparkly cup, and I put together some popsicle stick challenges. While I led the discussion, Ashley typed furiously on her laptop, capturing all the wonderful information that was being shared. Ashley has put together a very comprehensive write-up, which is available here. (Of course, I had to share the Fruit Salad song.)
After GST, I felt electric from the energy of so many librarians sharing their best with each other. So many librarians came up to Ashley and I to thank us for doing the session and share how much they enjoyed it.
There is something truly powerful about coming together, expressing how much we love our jobs, and sharing our best skills with each other. It not only gives you a whole bunch of ideas to try in your next story time, but it also revs you up like, “Woohoo! This job is great! I’m good at it! Librarians can change the world!”
I left the conference on cloud 9. I was excited, motivated, and ready to take on the world. In a profession where burn out is often lurking in the corner, this rejuvenation is worth it’s weight in gold. (And rejuvenation weighs a lot.) You know how if you’re having a bad morning, doing story time always cheers you up? It’s like that, multiplied by 10.
Another important value of GST is that it gives you ideas you can immediately implement – regardless of your library or situation. These ideas cost nothing, require little prep (just a little memorization maybe), and are instantly applicable. How many conference sessions have you sat through and thought, “Wow this sounds great but it would never work at my library.” NOT SO AT GST. Even if you are sadly in a position where you are not presenting any story times, you can go back and share the songs/rhymes/tips with the librarian who does this work at your library.
I personally went home and immediately started learning the sign language for Mr. Sun, as taught to the group by @carefully. I’ve already used it more than 10 times with groups and find myself singing (and signing) in the car, shower, everywhere. I cannot wait to attend GST at ALA in a few weeks. Sessions will be held in the Uncommons: Friday at 1, Saturday at 9, Sunday at 11:30, and Monday at 3. You can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be there. (The crew from Storytime Underground has a lot of great stuff going on at ALA. I cannot wait to check all of these awesome sessions out.)