Advantages of Storytellers and Activities in The Library

by Lorna Thompson, Librarian

There are several reasons why having one off events in the library are advantageous to the library service. When we have a special activities we draw in a much larger crowd that we would on a normal day, if we invite a class in we can have up to an extra 70 visitors to the library that day. If we hold activities out of school time we have sometimes attracted an extra hundred visitors to the event.

On these occasions more books are always issued, but there are more long term benefits for the libraries than the issue and visitor figures for the day.  

When we invite classes into the library for a storytelling session we always talk to the teacher and suggest that they come to the library again to select books and encourage the children to use the library.

From the individual story sessions that we have had this year we have been able to set up regular visits from three of out local schools. We have been able to issue cards to all the children who visited and they all took out a book. 


From these session not only do we hope that the classes will continue to visit throughout the year to exchange books; we also hope that as they are now members of the library and have seen what the library has to offer the children will persuade their parents to bring them to the library after school, at weekends and during the school holidays. During these times we host a range of events to reinforce the image of the library to parents and children and we hope that while the families take out books on their visit, they also see the library as a place to bring children and spend time as a family learning and enjoying themselves.

We have also found that individual sessions can have a much bigger impact on reluctant library users; they help dispel the old fashioned image of libraries as boring, uninviting to children, quiet and strict. With fun filled sessions children and parents see the real side of libraries, child friendly, fun, energetic places to visit. Once parents see what the library has offer we hope that they come again and again to borrow books and take place in our various activities. 

Storytellers bring stories to life and have the ability to spark a lifelong interest in stories and reading.

Lorna Thompson

is a Branch Librarian 

at Muswell Hill Library  

North London

"Storytellers bring stories to life and have the ability to spark a lifelong interest in stories and reading."

Storytelling sessions are familiar and reassuring to children of all backgrounds and include physical activity and magic tricks to increase the experience of the power of stories.  At the end of the session children ask, 

"Where do these stories come from?" 

"From books!", The Library Champion beams, "Now let's run and find our own book to take out."

New library cards are handed out, which has the added bonus of more than doubling the book issue rate of librarieshelping to secure their future. Children feel they belong somewhere safe outside school and often ask their parents to take them back to the library where the storyteller has given them an experience that ignites the love of reading. 

Far too many children in the UK have never set foot inside a library and don't have books at home. Your local schools probably no longer have strong links to the local library, which for some children is their only introduction to all that libraries have to offer: self study, refuge, the joy of being in an environment that nurtures life-long learning.  The Library is a place to reflect, self-empower and carve out a destiny. 

Our libraries are are going through challenging times. Since April 2011 more than 400 have closed and this year that sum is set to double.  We are all concerned about the current issues surrounding literacy, can we really afford to allow these essential public seats of knowledge and independent learning simply slip away?  

The thinking behind library closures are often over complicated, the solutions are often simple.  

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