Sunday Storytime Challenge

Welcome to another Sunday Storytime Challenge! Our goal is to encourage the SU community to try new things and share out those adventures. Challenges will vary widely and can include craftiness, elevator speeches, networking, professional development and beyond!


So here is this week’s challenge!




Recently, we held a Virtual Guerrilla Storytime on Twitter and Facebook with a focus in discussing social justice issues for Storytime.


We were happy to receive some fantastic responses, but the experience also left the Joint Chiefs feeling like we came on too strong. Honestly, there were questions posed that I couldn’t answer. We wanted to take a step back. What would social justice 101 look like?


  • Understanding that the library is a portal to knowledge. If we don’t help to change our communities, who will?
  • Using diverse books in your Storytime, displays, book talks, reader’s advisory, and lists.
  • Don’t use gender stereotypes in your library. Offer boys ballet picture books even if their caregiver gives you a look.
  • Please ditch your holiday programming.
  • Recognize that families do not look the same. Rethink offering Mom and Dad based programming.
  • Work on your terminology. Instead of saying mom, dad, girls, and boys try grown-ups and friends!
  • Go beyond ADA compliance at your library. Do you use large print in your Storytime signage? Do you offer chairs in your Storytime room for those that cannot sit on the floor? Be sure to discuss the use of modifications for lifting and bouncing songs and other problematic rhymes.
  • Make some POC flannel sets like Storytime Katie’s babies or Mr. Lou’s mustache from Literary Hoots!
  • Move away from only comfortable workplace conversations. Be a little more badass and take your professional discussions to a new place. There are behaviors, attitudes, and environments that we must address, no matter how uncomfortable or unpopular we may become.


As an early literacy provider, we present ourselves to the next generation of leaders. No, your Storytime toddlers will not be able to define social justice for you, but they can take in concepts of fairness, caring, kindness, love, friendship, equality, and respect. I feel like social justice 101 is all about recognizing that you may be doing it wrong. Your ideas, especially if they haven’t evolved in 20 years, may need a refresher. If you think social justice isn’t for your community, you are sadly mistaken.


Take this week (and your whole life I hope) to reach out to those around you and discuss these issues. Talk about what you can feasibly do and what you can strive for. Very few of us hold all the power to make changes in our systems. Request a meeting with your supervisor. Send this post in an email to your youth services staff. No one will know that this is important to you until you tell them.


Did you sit down with your supervisor to see if they would back you up if you read Mommy, Mama, and Me in Storytime? Did you take an opportunity in a staff meeting to discuss putting diverse titles on all displays? Maybe you went straight to the director to address the lack of diverse stock photos in your marketing. Make sure to come back and share with us! There are so many ways you can share:


  • Simply comment to this post!
  • Email us at
  • Tweet it out using #storytimechallenge
  • Do you have a kick-ass blog? Share your challenge story there and send us the link!


There is no concrete timeline for you to complete the challenges and they will always remain open.


We can’t wait to see what you can accomplish!

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