On Wednesday February 6th, CYA had the pleasure to host the Mississauga Public Library at the “Stellar Storytelling and Brilliant Booktalking iTea!” Daria Sharanewych, the Manager of Children’s Services at the Mississauga Library, and the rest of her team shared their wisdom about providing children’s programming. If you were in the Inforum or just passing by you probably heard funny voices, great stories, and tons of giggles! The Mississauga storytelling team brought smiles to everyone’s faces and let us remember what it is like to be a child, including being extremely silly!
Programming for children is not a specific skill that is taught at the iSchool. The iTea was a great way to observe and understand the process behind storytelling and booktalking. The staff of Mississauga Public Library presented their favourite programming ideas that they incorporate on a regular basis. There were stories with books, stories without books, songs with books, and songs without books! Many of the staff engaged the audience by including them in the stories, which felt awkward at first, but everyone was quick to reignite the kid inside them.
The biggest recommendations from the children’s services team were to just be yourself, and do what feels comfortable! Picking stories you actually love will invest your performance with that love, and the children will feed off of it. One of the children’s staff even recommended practicing in front of the mirror! Another piece of advice was to not worry about being silly in front of your audience, because children want to have fun. Engaging children in the performance also makes the experience more personal.
The hour iSchool students spent with the Mississauga Public Library was a memorable experience that will help many future children and youth librarians. Many students left with smiles on their faces, and with many ideas for programming!
Now that the iTea is over, a great idea is to start reading lots children’s books and find out what your preferences are. Even practicing your performances with friends, family, or a mirror is a great idea. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or ideas too! Many children’s librarians are experts and are always willing to share programs that have been successful. Overall, the “Stellar Storytelling and Brilliant Booktalking iTea” was a great success!
-- Contributed by Sarah Gauthier, CYA member, 2013-14 Co-Chair