Virtual Guerrilla Storytime- January 2017



Back in January, the joint chiefs hosted a virtual Guerrilla Storytime via Facebook and Twitter. During the event, we introduced our new social justice-focused questions, which you can find here.


Below are a few teaser questions, but please do read through all of the thoughtful responses by clicking here.




  1. What is your favorite storytime book featuring a main character of color?



  • The Snowy Day
  • I Got the Rhythm
  • One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree
  • Lola At the Library
  • Lottie Paris and the Best Place
  • Ada Twist, Scientist
  • I Love My Hair
  • Whose Toes Are Those?
  • All Different Now
  • Big Snow
  • Show Way
  • Big Red Lollipop
  • I Like Myself
  • My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood
  • Dim Sum for Everyone
  • Princess Hair
  • How to Find a Fox
  • Super Hair-O and the Barber of Doom
  • Jazz Baby
  • Peekaboo Morning
  • Bee Bim Bop
  • Last Stop on Market Street
  • Looking for Bongo
  • Love Is a Truck
  • Thunderboy, Jr.
  • Say Hello
  • A Chair For My Mother
  • Pumpkin Eye
  • Every Little Thing
  • The Bus For Us
  • Lenny in the Garden
  • When Louis Armstrong Taught Me Scat


  1. How would you accommodate a family in the disability community in your regular storytime?


  • Wearing a mic for families with a hearing impairment
  • Having rhymes and modifications for children in wheelchairs (upper body movements).
  • Let everyone know they can step out for a break.
  • Offer noise-cancelling headphones and warn of extra loud noises.
  • Including a variety of activities–things to touch, different volumes, options for seating.
  • Ask families about accommodations or welcome feedback to make them more comfortable.


  1. How do you address diversity in your welcome message?


  • “Today we’re celebrating all the different ways young children learn. We’re going to be singing and playing, laughing and talking, and, of course, reading together. Since our storytime reflects our community, that means we also have some songs to learn in different languages. Sometimes our little listeners like one activity more than another or maybe they find an activity overstimulating and upsetting. Please stay close to your child during storytime so you can respond if they become upset. I do have some fidget toys that you can take for your child to hold and there’s lots of diversions in the children’s area if you need to take a break.”
  • I make a note for accommodations. “Miss Julie will be jumping and clapping today, but please modifying if you need to.” Then I give examples based on what I may be doing. “You can lift arms instead of jumping, say ‘clap’ instead of clapping!”
  • I welcome everyone at the door as they come in and then as a big group by saying “Welcome, friends!” And then we go into calendar time and talk about all the different holidays we have that month. And I say “Do we have any friends that celebrate any of these holidays?” And then I’ll say, “But it’s okay if we don’t celebrate any of these holidays too. We might have friends that don’t.”
  • We add hello and goodbye in each language represented in the room. It’s very quick and very sweet, especially when the children start to do it rather than the grown-up.


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Social Justice Meets Guerrilla Storytime



Did you know that we have new questions for Guerrilla Storytime that relate to social justice in our practices? No? Stop everything you’re doing and take a look at them right now. Click here for a list of the questions in a straight text format.


Love them? Want to stand on a rooftop and shout about them? Us, too! If you were checked into Facebook or Twitter with us back in January, you may have noticed that we had a virtual Guerrilla Storytime featuring these new questions. The answers were beautiful and inspiring and we’ll have a round-up up on the blog soon.


We wanted to re-introduce the questions today, though, because we have a lot of hopes for them. Hopes like the following:


  • Our peers could explore any unfamiliar terms and topics brought up by these questions and become more knowledgeable on the issues.
  • Individuals might have informal conversations with their co-workers and raise awareness for these topics.
  • Supervisors can take the initiative to use these questions in their own guerrilla training.
  • They might make an appearance at more public Guerrilla Storytimes, like the ones at conferences, and raise the profile of public libraries as places for critical analysis and perspectives.


And maybe we’re shooting for the stars a little, but we’re so pleased that one library system has already taken up the challenge. Back in January, Enoch Pratt Free Library incorporated these questions into a Guerrilla Storytime training for internal staff. It challenged the team to come together and talk about the issues, sharing thoughts and concerns and working out how to address them.


EPFL mixed these new social justice questions with those from our original kit using images on a powerpoint. The mixture helped to keep the conversation moving and fun and to help develop answers to these deeper questions, they sent the list to staff ahead of time for reflection.


Follow this link to read the notes from EPFL.


As you review the notes for their meeting, we invite you to think about how you may be able to discuss these topics with your own teammates and staff and we hope that you’ll feel free to incorporate these questions into your next meeting. If you’re interested in making your own powerpoint with the images from our January virtual Guerrilla Storytime, here is a link to our file.



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It’s Survey Time!

Hello dear readers! We here at Storytime Underground have been doing some behind-the-scenes work on this blog, and we are anxious to hear how you use this community!


So please please please take this short survey to help us build a better community! Oh, and bonus, if you take the survey you will be entered to win some sweet swag!


Thanks from all of us!




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We Stand with Transgender Patrons

Transgender and gender nonconforming children are at an increased risk for harassment, depression, self-harm, and suicide. In light of this vulnerability  it is our responsibility to ensure that our collections, spaces, and programs reflect, honor, and validate the experiences of transgender, genderfluid, non-binary, and gender nonconforming children. We must not stand silent as those in power attempt to dismantle protections for transgender students. As youth services professionals, we will fight for the rights of all children, especially for the marginalized and at-risk populations who need us most.  We entreat members of the Storytime Underground community to take specific, targeted actions against intolerance and we pledge to do the same.

We will be following up with ideas for concrete actions to take.

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Local Chapter of the Month: Colorado’s CLEL

This month, we’re highlighting another outstanding local chapter by giving them a shout-out on the blog.


Have you always wanted a group of mentors and friends IRL? Make sure you’re connected with your local chapter for online discussions and in-person meet-ups. Not only are they a great way to learn from your peers, but they’re also fun. Find your local chapter here, or learn more about what it takes to be a chapter leader.






This month we’re so proud to announce our partnership with CLEL (Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy)! They will be serving as our local chapter for Colorado residents and SU followers.


If you’re not already a member, please do join the Facebook group, here. Also, make sure you take a look at their website and join the organization. It’s free and you don’t have to be a Colorado resident to be a member! CLEL closely aligns with the goals of the SU community, but they provide even more concrete services in your area. You definitely don’t want to miss out on some of these free resources:


  • StoryBlocks- We love these recordings of rhymes and songs that Colorado libraries are creating in many languages. You can browse by age group or language and each comes with written lyrics and an early literacy tip. For extra fun, try to spot Joint Chief Mary Kuehner. (Hint: She’s fluent in Spanish.)
  • Early Literacy Tips- If you like our Fast Facts, you’ll love these tips! They’re organized by ECRR practices and ready to implement.
  • CLEL Bell Nominees and Winners- Wish it was easier to find books that tie in ECRR practices like writing and talking? The CLEL Bell awards are designed to do just that! Pro tip: You don’t have to be a Colorado resident to make a nomination for these awards.
  • Yearly conferences and learning opportunities- Members have a chance to get together and learn at least once a year with a very affordable conference.


And the most exciting part for us? With CLEL’s agreement to become a local chapter, they are bringing a renewed focus on hosting free events and opportunities for you to get together for learning, networking, and fun.


So, Colorado library friends, we hope you’re reading and taking advantage.



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