Storytimes- Take a Break!

Creating breaks in storytime series is a practice I have long advocated.  If your community is like ours, people would love to have a full 52 weeks of continuous storytimes.  And even though I like to give our families what they want, this is one area where I always draw the line.

All of us need quiet mind-break times to recharge, plan, think and imagine other services we want to bring to our public (see yesterday's post for the kinds of things I mean).  Breaks allow time for staff to address the many parts of our job like collection development, weeding, outreach planning and developing new initiatives that are hard to squeeze in during storytime sessions.

Librarians often worry that breaks will mean people will stop coming to the library or go somewhere else.  I don't worry about that - if your storytimes have value because what you offer is rich, vibrant and supportive of pre-literacy skills, families will be back. For all the years we've done storytimes with breaks in the sessions, we have maintained outstanding returns by our families.

Our breaks vary from three weeks to up to two months during  December and January.  We try not to leave our families high and dry, though. We build in a preschool program or two (dance parties; bubble party; book character party) during storytime hiatus.  We also might offer a passive program like Cookie Club to encourage use of the library.

We sometimes create mini-coupon books with coupons to redeem between the storyimes ("Get $.50 of your family's fines"; Get a free used book at our Friend's Bookshop"; "Get a high five and a Hershey kiss at the YS desk"; "Good for a book picked especially for you by your librarian). They are quick to make and remind our families that we hope to see them often.

Interestingly enough, when we talk to our families and explain what we do with our time, most understand why we are creating breaks. They look forward of the resumption of storytime, knowing that their librarian is rested, ready - and may even have a new trick or two up her sleeve!


  1. thanks! this is great. I have always done breaks, as advised by older, wiser librarians, but I don't feel I've organized them well. Lots of good ideas!

  2. This is great! You have made me realize how valuable breaks are, and I am totally on board.

  3. Do you have coupon book templates you'd be willing to share digitally?

    1. Sadly, we don't. The librarian who developed these retired. We went on to book bundles and other programs and the coupon files look like they are goners!