Creating a Connected Community of Readers: Intergenerational Storytime
After seeing a handful of articles about nursing homes opening up preschools in a shared space, as well as the benefits from this partnership, I wanted to find a way to create the same intergenerational connection in a library setting. We already had a relationship with our local retirement home as our Circulation Supervisor does monthly outreach and book checkouts for the residents, so I approached their staff with the idea.
I was fortunate to have a very willing community partner in Franciscan Village Assisted Living at Our Lady of Victory Convent, who could not have been more supportive of my vision for bringing family storytime to their facility. Working with their staff, we planned a day that worked well both for them and for our storytime families. The majority of our program participants are preschool aged and younger. We also chose to have me present to their memory care residents.
We advertised the program in our newsletter with the following description: “Enjoy stories, songs, crafts, and a special treat at an intergenerational storytime with the residents of Franciscan Village. Join us offsite at the Assisted Living at Our Lady of Victory Convent.” We posted flyers in the library and on our digital signage, created Facebook events, and had the events listed on our online calendar. We are lucky to have a very involved patron base of families so with those promotional items and word of mouth at other programs, word spread easily.
At this once-a-month program, I plan a regular storytime with a craft, aimed at the kids that are going to be participating (because this is a registered program, I have a general idea of the ages of the participants). So far our registration has been full for all sessions, but I do have a contingency should no families show up. This would consist of reading longer picture books to the residents, so that they will still be presented with a program.
For our December session, I chose four wintry stories and we decorated wooden ornaments with markers and stick on gems. It was heartwarming to see how quickly all the children took to the residents and how easy the interactions were. When it came time for the craft, the kids and residents worked side by side, and any resident that needed help with the fine motor skills, the kids would step in and assist. There were some that even made the craft outright for the residents so that they would leave with a finished product.
Both our library and Franciscan Village are very encouraged by the start of this program and have dates planned into the Spring.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions about the program: Rachel Snyder, Children’s Services Manager, Lemont Public Library, firstname.lastname@example.org.