Books & Babies
“Books & Babies”
Lap storytime for infants 0-2 & caregivers
Bozeman Public Library
1. Program is held in Library meeting room every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 10:15 a.m. I make sure the room is childproofed, tables are moved along the wall, and there is plenty of open space in center of room.
2. Board books and song sheets (in plastic sheet protectors) are displayed on the floor in a large circle. We have 20 to 35 adults attend each program, so I try to make the circle large enough for all to sit comfortably.
3. We begin by singing hello to each baby around the circle. We do whatever favorite movement (wave, stomp, wiggle, clap, sway, etc.) the parent selects.
“Let's wave hello to Zachary, Let's wave hello to Zachary,
Hello, hello, hello, hello, Let's wave hello to Zachary.”
(Song is from the Kindermusik program.) If there are too many infants to do this individually, we just all sing “Let's clap hello, hello. (etc.)” We do three different movements. (We do lots of rhymes in threes.)
4. Children's librarian leads the caregivers and babies in 15 minutes of chants, rhymes, lap games, songs and movement. Although we have several sheets of rhymes, we do many of the same ones over and over again. Parents like learning them, kids like the repetition, and nobody seems to mind that we always do our favorite ones. I do ask for any requests, and occasionally parents have one they want to do.
5. The librarian leads the songs and rhymes. I tried at first to make it more democratic and have other parents lead, but our parents seem to like following along with whatever songs I choose. I intersperse some child development and other topics of interest to parents throughout the program. Our group has grown too large to try for any formal type of discussion, and adding an outside speaker makes the program too long.
6. On a table inside the door, I put parenting books and magazines that can be checked out, lots of handouts, including the song sheets, information about upcoming programs or parenting classes, and any new materials they might be interested in. We get new people every week, so it's important to keep a supply of song sheets available.
7. At the end of the 15 minutes, we sing a final song, such as “Twinkle, twinkle, little star” and then I bring out baskets of toys for infants and toddlers, including balls, rattles, soft toys and pull toys. The children play under supervision of their caregiver, while the parents talk, introduce themselves to each other, share information and relax. This socializing period is very important. Lots of good stuff gets shared here: friendships form, news gets passed along, and parents have a healthy break from being alone with their child. I think this portion could last most of the morning if we had the time! During this period, I model some playing, supervise the activity so no one gets hurt, and talk to any parents that have concerns.
8. At 11:00, after a half-hour of play, I sing “Toys away, toys away, it's time to put the toys away,” as I gently go around and put the toys back in the baskets. Parents and children all help, and we push the baskets back to the closet and wave goodbye to the toys. I gather up all the materials, and allow the parents to ease out whenever they're ready. (I book the meeting room until 11:30 to allow for leaving time.)
9. Publicity is mostly word of mouth, although I have sent out flyers to hospitals, doctor's offices, referral agencies, preschools and other community groups. It's an extremely popular program, and continues to grow each week. At this time, we don't limit attendance, and we have the program every single week of the year. (I have recently taken the month of August off to allow for more school-age programs.) Parents are very appreciative to have a place to go once or twice a week, and I just can't turn anyone away. We started a second group to alleviate the crowding, but it's continued to get larger all the time. There is a great need for these kind of programs now!
For more information, please contact:
Cindy Christin, Children's Librarian
Bozeman Public Library
220 East Lamme
Bozeman, MT 59715
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