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Choo Choo! Pajama Jam @MVPublicLibrary and CAC CAC! Customer Acquisition Cost!

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Note the inclusion of analog AND digital storytelling tools; the inclusion of one does not entail the exclusion of the other.

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)
Hello Song
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
App: Trains
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

AppleTV
iPad
Keynote App
HDMI Cable
Nexus S (for portable Wifi and Bluetooth)
Samsung 32 inchish TV

Music Together Books/Video

In a storytelling meeting today at MVPL we talked (among other things) about ways that I can further incorporate music into my programs (I play various woodwinds, sing and I’m a certified Music Together teacher).  Music Together has developed two of their songs into books, and there’s an accompanying video (below).  There are some great parent education techniques in here! I can’t wait to try these two books out in my programs!

Final MVPL Pajama Jam until January

I did the last of my 3 Pajama Jam sessions last night at the Mountain View Public Library.  It was one of those programs that I wish I could erase and do over, but it was not the technology that got in my way of delivering a stellar early literacy program: it was my ability to focus the crowd.  There were some factors that I should have taken into account beforehand, like the fact that it’s a week after Halloween and we just put the clocks back, so all of the kids there were tired and wired. The fabulous Sharon McClintock was there to give me some pointers and help me not feel so bad after the program, and I’ve included her feedback below.  I’m trying not to feel like a complete failure as a storyteller and focus on what I can do better next time, though most of what I need to work on is NOT technology related. We had 48 in the audience.

What I did

Come and Follow Me (recorder)
Storytime Rules (Sit with your kids, Sing, turn off phones, save snacks til later)
Hello Song
Early literacy tip: print awareness: point out text to your kids where you see it!
Wiggle my fingers
Book: Shark in the Park
May there always be sunshine (Felt Board Slide/Lyrics)
Book: Wide Mouth Frog Pop-up
Book: Caps for Sale iBook
Book/Song: Down by the Station (from My Very First Mother Goose)
Sailing Song (recorder/ lyrics on Smoothie Felt Board/Keynote)
Book: Sleep Big Bear
Clap up high goodbye rhyme

Feedback 

  1. More interaction: more explicit instructions when introducing new song with image and lyrics; in “May there always be sunshine” make sure to take suggestions from the crowd for things to swap into the song; “Down by the Station” could have specific hand actions.
  2. Sit in a chair [I was moving around while telling my stories and it probably raised the energy of the kids in the room but I didn’t give them enough activities to do]
  3. The musical sections of the program could be more interactive and less performance-y [this is what I’m going to concentrate on most for the next session of Pajama Jam]
  4. Include 2 piles of “extra” books; one older, one younger, and swap out as needed. Drop the book altogether and direct the energy into movement, breathing etc
  5. Some pictures in “Sleep, Big Bear” too small for such a large audience
  6. “Caps for Sale” on the bright board was difficult to see [as reported by my mom, sitting at the back of the room]
  7. Tell adults who are talking to zip it (nicely)

What I used

AppleTV
iPad
Keynote App
HDMI Cable
Nexus S (for portable Wifi and Bluetooth)
Logitech Mini boombox
PopAdvisions Brightboard (42 inches-ish)

MVPL Pajama Jam!

Tonight the story fairy (me!) lead a musical romp through some not-too-spooky stories and songs. We had numerous princesses, a dragon, a strawberry, a few pumpkins, a ladybug and some other creatures in the audience tonight (50 people total). I played my fife for the walk-in song, and I took a leap of faith (rely on your training!) and played my recorder to introduce a new lullaby.

Karin Bricker, the supervising librarian in MVPL‘s Children’s department, was able to make it for the program tonight and gave me some really great feedback.  Thanks, Karin, for your continued support and enthusiasm! Thanks also to Laurie Peck, who is always willing to sing and dance with me, and Judy Atterholt, who lead the first 3 Pajama Jam sessions.

What I did

Come and Follow Me (Fife)
Storytime Rules (Sit with your kids, Sing, turn off phones, save snacks til later)
Hello Song
Early literacy tip: repetition is good!
Wiggle my fingers
Book: I’m Not Scared!
5 Little Pumpkins Rhyme/Fingerplay
5 Little Pumpkins iBook
Book: Peas Porridge Hot, Mary Mary Quite Contrary (from Here Comes Mother Goose)
Shakers: Shake a Little Shaker, Hey-Ho the Rattle-o
Book: Peek-a-Boo
Sailing Song (recorder/ lyrics on Smoothie Felt Board/Keynote)
Book: It’s Pumpkin Time!
Movement song: Hot Potato
Clap up high goodbye rhyme

Feedback 

  1. Channel the focus of the audience to the book on the screen with eye contact, body position and music; stay as close to the screen as possible and read from the same screen the audience is looking at, not the iPad
  2. iPad looks too big.  Try it with an iPhone?
  3. Is there a way to remove the menu from the iBooks?
  4. Extend the amount of time before the screen saver kicks in.

What I used

AppleTV
iPad
Five Little Pumpkins iBook
Keynote App
HDMI Cable
Nexus S (for portable Wifi and Bluetooth)
Logitech Mini boombox
PopAdvisions Brightboard (42 inches-ish)

First MVPL Pajama Jam!

We had 49 people total, which was a great turnout considering there was some kind of sporting event tonight (Don’t ask me what. Something that makes non-athletes get really worked up, drink beer and eat deep fried food. Or something.) and a presidential debate.

What I did

Come and Follow Me (Fife)
Storytime Rules (Sit with your kids, Sing, turn off phones, save snacks til later)
Hello Song
Early literacy skill: Phonological Awareness
Wiggle my fingers
Book: Click Clack Moo
I like to ride my horse
Flannel Board: Five green and speckled frogs (Smoothie Felt Board App)
Balloon calm-down rhyme
Book: Peas Porridge Hot (from Here Comes Mother Goose, pg 74)
Book: Dinosaur vs Bedtime
Flannel Board: Blue bird (Smoothie Felt Board App; image, then lyrics in Keynote)
Movement song: Hot Potato
Book: Five Little Chicks
Clap up high goodbye rhyme

What I learned

  1. I can use my phone as a portable hotspot to connect the AppleTV and the iPad even in a place where the Wifi never works and my phone rarely has reception.  Not only that, I can simultaneously pair it with Bluetooth speakers and have it play just fine.  The phone needs to be plugged in when doing either/both of those things though because it depletes the battery really quickly.
  2. I have to change the lenth of time that the iPad/AppleTV can be dormant before the screen saver pops up.  It’s distracting to have lovely pictures of grizzly bears floating across the screen when I’m trying to wow people with my mad dinosaur roaring skills.

What I used

AppleTV
iPad
Smoothie Felt Board App
Keynote App
HDMI Cable
Nexus S (for portable Wifi and Bluetooth)
Logitech Mini boombox
PopAdvisions Brightboard (42 inches-ish)

Pajama Jam at MVPL

I’ll be doing a few evening storytimes at the Mountain View Public Library.  The program is called Pajama Jam and it’s going to rock your little bunny slippers off. Check out the flyer here.  It’s a series of 6 and I’ll be leading the last 3 sessions (10/22, 10/29 and 11/5). Come ready to sing, dance and revel in the joys of literacy.  For kids 2-5 and those who love them.