Possibly The Worst Story Time Ever

I drafted a few posts from our recent trip and am scheduling them to post when we get home. These will not count for NaBloPoMo, since I use that as a write-every-day exercise.

24 October 2013

I have been taking notes of our every move -- for my own record keeping, for sharing in The Weekly Jane and for blogging purposes if I decide to detail this trip in bullets like our Minneapolis trip (and/or I may need the ideas for NaBloPoMo!). But I wanted to write this while it is fresh. When I told someone this story today she said it sounded like the start of a sitcom. (Arguably a BAD sitcom, but there you go.)

Jane and I love story time at our Baton Rouge library. We really loved the one we tried out in Minneapolis, and I hoped that one in the DC suburbs would be as good. I was so wrong. It was just a waste of time.

I knew from the website that you needed a ticket to get into the program, so we arrived about 30 minutes early to get them. The idea is to limit the number to 20 -- but that 20 includes parents! We didn't need to be there as early as we were, but we passed the time reading books and Jane pretending to play on the computers (oh that girl loves her screens -- she is her mother's daughter!).

Finally at 10:30 the librarian rings a bell signaling the children to come into the story time room. About three toddlers and their caregivers follow her in, handing over the tickets. The librarian shuts the door and starts to read a very long not-so-toddler-friendly book about fire safety, which is the theme of this story time.

Every other page she is stopped by a late comer at the door. She won't let another parent open the door because she needs to be sure they have tickets and collect them. Inevitably they don't have a ticket so she sends them back to the front desk to get one. She resumes reading and does the same thing all over again when they come back with their ticket. It happened about five times for a total of 10 interruptions. It was just a ridiculously stupid system -- and they didn't seem to be overrun with patrons anyway. If nothing else they should have had another librarian or shelver or something collect the tickets and let people in once the story time started.

That was bad, but it wasn't the worst part. This librarian clearly didn't really like kids. She had a sour puss look while she read and seemed somewhat agitated by the toddlers running around. Part of the room was off limits, as it had a small stage area. And there was a boom box (literally) at toddler level that we had to keep redirecting the kids from. She read three long books that were too complicated for the young audience, in my opinion anyway. There were two or three song/movement things, but they were very short. I think everyone wanted to shake and dance some more (Jane kept asking for "songs, songs").

Lest I sound too gripe-y, there was one good part -- she had a felt board and handed the kids pictures to stick on. Some were fire fighter pictures and others were police officer pictures (Dalmatian vs. German shepherd, fire hose vs. flashlight, fire hat vs. police hat, etc.) so they had to put them on the correct column. Jane really liked that interactivity even though she didn't know where things went and had to be told.

We needed a low key activity anyway because we'd gone to the zoo the day before and stayed out way too late so were exhausted. So I guess it wasn't a total loss. I guess there's no way to tell how a library will do its programming without trying it out. I give this one a big thumbs down.

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