Baby storytimes provide libraries with the chance to serve our youngest patrons, and their parents and caregivers, too! Read this great testimonial from a Douglas County Libraries patron about storytime benefits for babies AND adults. You can also hear about the benefits of baby storytime from a librarian's perspective, from Southern Peaks Public Library's Babette Reeves.
Baby storytimes tend to be shorter than toddler and preschool storytimes. They tend to emphasize bounces, songs, rhymes, and oral language. Reading a book is one component of baby storytime, but not perhaps the primary focus, and the format varies from library to library. Since caregivers attend baby storytimes with their children, baby storytimes are also excellent opportunities to provide caregivers with information about early literacy.
The age groups for baby storytimes vary; some programs include infants from birth, while others request that babies be at least 3 months old, or even 6 months old. Some libraries have a baby storytime for children up to 24 months, with a toddler storytime for 2-3 year olds. Others hold baby storytime for children up to 18 months, and provide toddler storytimes for 18 to 30-month olds. Still others divide their baby storytimes into two groups, one for the youngest babies and one for 1-year-olds; families transition from one group to the other when their children become walkers. Consider your library's community--as well as your staff time and resources--when planning your baby storytimes.
Just like any other storytime or program, baby storytimes require thought and planning to be successful! Try these resources to help get started or to rejuvenate an existing program. When searching the web for more information, remember that these programs have a variety of names, including Infant Storytimes, Lapsits, Mother Goose Time, and others.