Choo Choo! Pajama Jam @MVPublicLibrary and CAC CAC! Customer Acquisition Cost!
I was pretty sad tonight at Pajama Jam at the Mountain View Public Library; it’s the last session we have planned, though this has been another very successful set of storytimes. Many of the families who attended asked if we would please offer it again, but I didn’t have any dates to give them. I understand from the parent’s point of view; reliable, ongoing, drop-in programming is generally better for busy schedules. I also understand from the library’s point of view; budgets, space and staff time are in short supply and we do the best with what we can to serve the most people in our communities. There is the issue of audience size, too. A room full of 40, 75 or even 100 people, half of whom are approximately 2 years old, can be very difficult to manage for not only the facilitator, but the parents as well. Offering more regular, drop in programs would bring down the numbers in each of the programs, offer families options for times and days, but also brings back families who are scared away by large groups. The quality of the experience for the end user (the families) goes up, and they’re more likely to return, tell their friends, and acquire new customers for the library.
As I begin to bridge the gap between the public and private sectors it is more and more clear to me that libraries DO need to view the resources and services they offer (storytime included) as products to be marketed in order to stay relevant in today’s rapidly changing media market (and YES! the library is a part of the media market, which is completely tossed on its ear right now and thus offers huge opportunities for innovative children’s librarians!)
The staff time you put into developing more programming is a long-term Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). The kids you delight and inspire at storytime will develop fond memories of being at the library, their parents will be likely to bring their kids back, everybody will be more willing to vote for library supporting bond measures should they arise, and you achieve what *should* be your goal as a children’s librarian; to offer the highest quality services, collections and programs to the most people in the community you serve.
Tonight’s storytime was designed with the customer in mind: 2-5 year olds and their families (we had 40 people total). And what do 2-5 year olds and their families love? That’s right. Trains.
Feedback from last week
Used TV sitting on table instead of brightboard attached to stand and fiddled with the settings until the image took up the entire screen (it was a little stretched, but I don’t think anyone noticed)
What I did
Come and Follow Me (Recorder)
Storytime Rules (Sit with your kids, Sing, turn off phones, save snacks til later)
Early literacy tip: Phonological awareness: smaller parts of language. Playing with sounds helps your child to figure out how sounds work together in the language you speak with them.
Wiggle my fingers
Book: Down by the Station (I sang this and got them all to pull the lever and go “toot toot!”)
Fingerplays: Here’s a little bunny
Felt Board: This train is going to the city (see image!)
Book: Freight Train
Fais Do Do (lyrics on Smoothie Felt Board/Keynote)
Book: Morningtown Ride
**At this point I looked at the clock and realized we’d only used 20 of our 30 minutes (one of my struggles is getting really excited and going too fast through the material), and I was going to bring out my felt board again and do some more chugga chugga chooing, but one of the regulars piped up and said “Let’s sing I’ve been working on the railroad!” At which point we all stood up, slapped our knees and had the best darned singalong I’ve had since summercamp. With all the buzzing around I do going from venue to venue to workshop to webinar, I miss the regularly and sweetness of getting to know a storytime group and working WITH them to create a fun, inspirational early literacy program.**
Clap up high goodbye rhyme
What I used