Guerilla Storytime Raids ALA

By Jason Boog 

storytimelargeAt the American Library Association annual conference in Las Vegas over the weekend, youth service librarians from Storytime Underground hosted a series of “Guerilla Storytimes.”

Around 50 librarians gathered on Sunday morning, sharing techniques for dealing with storytime challenges. They also taught songs, dances and rhymes that will make any storytime more interactive.

The interactive event launched at last year’s conference, reminding librarians, parents, teachers and caregivers how important it is to share stories with kids. We caught up with the team to pick up some storytime tips…



“Storytime is so much more than just reading,” explained co-founder Amy Koester, the Children’s Librarian at the Corporate Parkway Branch of the St. Charles City-County Library District in Missouri.

“We want parents and caregivers to see how easy it is to do these things and how beneficial it is for kids. You can develop a love of reading through talking, playing, rhyming, singing and dancing. There is so much you can do with a book (and beyond),” she concluded.

Most civilians aren’t prepared to host a guerilla storytelling event, but the StoryBlocks site will help anyone learn songs and rhymes to encourage young readers. If you want to improve your own storytelling style, the Storytime Ninjas have some advice:

You can check out awesome storytime blogs and get ideas for storytime extras (flannel boards, puppets, Five Little Whatsits, games, crafts, songs) to give your program all the important extras to support Every Child Ready to Read. Watching video clips is helpful when first learning how to incorporate all these fun activities into storytime (especially if you work in a small library). I make basic ones for a one-person storytime, and Beyond the Book has a mix of one-person and department ideas.

Here’s more about Storytime Underground, from the group’s Facebook page:

Storytime Underground is a collective of youth services librarians and professionals who firmly believe literacy is not a luxury.

If you have (or will) host a guerilla storytime, you can email Storytime Underground  and tell them about it.

Jason Boog is the former editor of GalleyCat. On July 15, Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone imprint will publish his book, Born Reading: Bringing Up Bookworms in a Digital Age.