Celebrating a Decade of Children’s Storytime

In October 2008 Coffs Harbour, Toormina and Woolgoolga Libraries celebrated a decade of storytime for pre-school aged children and their families with a big birthday party including cake for all to enjoy following storytime.

Although the library had conducted special event and school holiday activities for children previously, 1998 saw the beginning of regular weekly storytime sessions across all three branches for Coffs Harbour Libraries. Over the years the storytime team have used stories, rhymes, songs, games and craft activities to engage children with fun themes such as space exploration (celebrated in 2009 to mark the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11), pirates, pets and teddy bear’s picnics. They have even had some very special visitors including the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the Bananas in Pyjamas!

There have been some great opportunities to collaborate with other organisations for special events including a visit from Police Officers during Child Protection Week, some fascinating sea life brought in during Sea Week by Southern Cross University’s National Marine Science Centre, a Guide Dog during Disability Week, Gumbaynggirr Elder Aunty Bea Ballangarry during NAIDOC week, and a visit from the South Sydney Rabbitohs as a part of their South’s Cares program.

Attendance has steadily increased over time with just over 3,000 people attending 154 storytime sessions in 2006 increasing to over 5,800 attendees across the three branches in 2014.

Storytime sessions are designed to introduce children to the world of books and reading with fun, interactive experiences in a safe environment. The sessions are aimed at two to five year olds and include stories, rhymes, songs and finger plays chosen to develop pre-reading skills including listening and language skills, understanding simple concepts and to foster a desire to learn to read. Simple craft activities are selected to promote imagination and creativity and encourage cooperative behaviour as part of a group.

Storytime sessions continue to be held weekly at each with stories, songs and craft and continue to be one of the most popular programs provided by the library service.

Written by Skye Ravenscroft

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