While almost every library, no matter the size and location, offers a (or many) preschool storytime(s), far fewer offer content beyond that. Sometimes it's because of staffing issues, sometimes because a staffer is unaware of the possibilities, sometimes because there is very real pushback from management if something is suggested outside of the silo of comfort or expectation ("We've always just done storytimes; why rock the boat?").
We questioned whether encouraging staff to go outside those silos represented a bridge too far. We also noodled around with the fact that staff may be reluctant to try newer programming avenues because many thought the prep work/planning should mirror the intentionality of a storytime prep.
Over preparation for non-storytime programs is a huge problem at many libraries. We sketched out more thoughts on unprogramming. We explored ideas and solutions.... and then we started doing! The first Conversation Starter presentation at ALA 2013 on Unprogramming and subsequent presentations, webinars and blog posts evolved from this kismet meet-up.
We are including research links to help youth librarians make the case for the importance of these programs with management (or yourselves!). We've also created a Pinterest board with examples of many programs from many people to keep those creative juices flowing. And here is the conference handout for specific how-to posts about the programs presented and links here and here to their conference wrap-ups.
Whether you could be at the Institute or not, with these resources you can explore, experiment, build on your already successful outside-the-storytime-box ideas, and, you know, be mighty!