Public Libraries are one of the only places in the country committed to providing free, comprehensive early childhood education activities to families of all ethnicities, sexual orientations, immigrant statuses, socioeconomic statuses…public libraries serve EVERYBODY. Across the country and the world, an army of youth services librarians is providing safe, welcoming spaces for parents to gain skills that will help their children succeed. That army is also growing lifelong readers and lovers of libraries, often in communities that are severely disadvantaged.
This work is often underappreciated or disparaged by our fellow library professionals, but we at Storytime Underground know the truth: if you are out in the storytime trenches you are changing–and sometimes saving–lives with every fingerplay and feltboard. This is not an exaggeration. Literacy is not a luxury. To survive and thrive, a democracy needs a literate populace and we, the army of Children’s Librarians, are the front lines in the battle to deliver literacy to everyone.
In order to be the best we can be, we gather together to share resources, skills, songs, and stories. None of us is the master of storytime, but each of us is a master of one skill, and we can teach that skill. In order to ensure that we are paid what we deserve, that our programs are funded, that our positions remain filled, we present these training sessions in the most public possible shared library spaces and invite librarians of all kinds to participate.
Our work is critical. Children’s programming drives program numbers and circulation stats. The library without us is a very, very quiet place–especially in a couple of generations when no one has grown any new readers. At the Storytime Underground our mission is threefold: We support each other, We promote each other, and We train each other.
Viva la revolucion!