Monday, January 13, 2014

Outreach Success

Much like a lot of you guys, outreach is part of my job.  It's actually a challenging part of my job, because as I've often said, I'm a one woman department.  I need to be visible and helpful to patrons who come see me at the library, whether they are regulars or only visit once every couple of months.

Of course, some of my favorite patrons to serve are those who attend my storytimes.  However, people in my town to tend to have large families, perhaps because many folks are religious, or because in areas with lots of farms, people tended to have more children.  Sometimes families aren't available to bring every child to storytime, or they can't make it to the library at all, so I interact with the kids through outreach.

We have a public preschool in town that has six classrooms in it, and there are morning and afternoon classes in each room.  When I go to see those classes, I see each class for about twenty minutes, which is why I only do this routine every other month.   Every class has a different chemistry: some are super bouncy, others are not as shy and tend to sit fairly. 

I always start my visits with "Finger In the Air" and end with "Teddy Bear Teddy Bear."  Even if they see me rarely, I like the idea of kids associating particular song with Miss Liz.  When I pick rhymes and songs between books, I try to pick whatever I've discovered lately that strikes me as particularly engaging.  For this last visit I consulted Amy Koester's blog post When We Get the Wiggles.  I thought I'd share what books worked and what didn't.

Let's start with the books that worked for each class.

With asking kids to count on every page, this book has a lot of great interactive components, and there's so much more you can do with it. If you do crafts with your outreach groups, there's a lot of potential for fun, developmentally appropriate crafts.  Also, the monkey sipping a cup of tea is basically what I would be if I was a monkey.

I may, from this day forward, stick a Jan Thomas book in my bag for every outreach visit I ever go on.  These books are perfect for kids with the wiggles.

And next, I have a book that I found worked better for some of the classes that were a little bit less wiggly and all over the place.  And that's not a judgment call!  Every class has bad days, just like I had a difficult storytime last week.  Some days certain books work better than others.
I have to admit, this one makes me sad because there's not a song to go with it.  Normally, Pete's other books are great for groups with any level of wiggles.  This is probably not my favorite Pete book. It is, however, chock full of a variety of animals, and kids love declaring, "Look! IT'S A TURTLE!"   For restless groups I swapped out another title, and I cannot remember what it was.

So those are some of the books I read and loved during outreach, what I used for different groups.  What books have you had a lot of success with recently?

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