Library storytimes are often a child's first group experience. Attending a storytime is different than watching TV, going to a movie, or watching a sports event. The behavior of the audience can positively or negatively affect the program. A helpful audience enables the storyteller to give the best presentation possible.
With this in mind, we would appreciate parents and caregivers taking time to think about and discuss storytime behavior before the library program. Our goal is a happy and worthwhile experience for all.
So what IS appropriate audience behavior during storytime?
1. When it comes to noise . . .
- Helpful: Verbally responding to the story, soft sounds (happy or unhappy), talking in an undertone, joyful reactions.
- Not helpful: Loud speech or shouting that is unrelated to the story, scolding a child loudly, private conversations between adults, ringing cell phones, crying that drowns out the story (ok to leave and return).
2. When it comes to movement . . .
- Helpful: Clapping, tapping, jumping, etc. when part of the story or song; going forward when invited to participate; toddlers toddling around close to parent or caregiver; quietly leaving and re-entering; joyful reactions.
- Not helpful: Running during the program, unsupervised toddlers in away-from-program areas, taking away books and materials that are part of the presentation, touching (tickling, poking, etc.) other children during a story, blocking the view of others by standing directly in front of the presentation.
3. When it comes to general behavior . . .
- Adults model good audience behavior for children by being attentive and participating.
- Sitting with a parent or caregiver helps a child under the age of three to focus upon the program.
- Arriving on time is important. It is a good idea to allow extra time for parking and visits to the bathroom.
- If you do arrive late, please wait for a break between stories, songs or acts before joining the group, otherwise you may replace the story presenter as the main focus and break the spell of the story.
- Please do not bring snacks, drinks or toys; their presence provides a diversion for all from the program.
- If the children in your care become upset please remove them until they are comfortable and ready to listen, then quietly re-enter and try again.
- It is not advisable to force children to remain in storytime while they are distraught or having a tantrum.
- If you do not enjoy the program or must leave, please do so in a manner that is least disruptive to others.
Please remember: Storytimes are carefully planned presentations that are neither school lessons nor stage performances, but completely unique literary experiences for the child. Each storytime is designed to incorporate pre-literacy skills with delightful children’s books to encourage children’s early love of reading. We appreciate your help in preserving an enjoyable and beneficial storytime experience for all.
Thank you! Oshkosh Public Library Children’s Department