On the Bookshelf: Storytimes appeal to parents and kids

A family has fun at a recent library storytime.

Toys, musical instruments, crafts and books, and you get to wear your pajamas. That’s what’s in store for families attending the Gilroy library Pajama Storytime and Crafts sessions taking place every Monday evening at 7 p.m.
The special storytime started last June when librarian Elizabeth Munoz-Rosas was asked if she wanted to continue the Saturday morning storytime sessions. She proposed an evening session, because she wanted something parents who worked all day could attend with their children.
“Sometimes it’s the only time when parents can spend some quality time with their kids,” Munoz-Rosas said.
Gilroy resident Adriana Spinoza, who recently made a return visit to Pajamas Storytime with her daughter Natalia Ruiz, 1, said it’s a good program to have in the community.
“That way kids interact and they have something to do, and it’s a good place for parents who work full-time,” Spinoza said. “It gives them a chance to come in and also interact with their kids.”
Although pajamas are encouraged, it’s definitely not a sleepy-time session. Munoz-Rosas produces a program that is a lively jamboree of music, sound, colors and crafts. A play-time session precedes storytime, and Munoz-Rosas introduces parents and kids to the art of sign language.
She also adapts her sessions according to attendees.
“This is an inclusive, organic storytime, so you’re going to hear a little bit of Spanish and see a little bit of sign language,” she said.
Munoz-Rosas doesn’t care why children attend storytime, whether they’re interested in books and reading, playtime or just crafts, as long as they’re spending time at the library.
“They might pick up a book on the way out,” she said.
Bilingual storytime offered in Morgan Hill
Every Saturday morning, rhythmical songs can be heard streaming from the doorway of the program room at Morgan Hill library, as Ray Melendez, an extra-help librarian, practices with his partner librarian for their weekly bilingual storytime program.
Supervising Librarian Saralyn Otter explained that over 30 percent of the Morgan Hill community is Hispanic, so she created the bilingual storytime with the hope of appealing to families with parents who are more comfortable speaking Spanish.
“The two person format is a lot of fun for the audience and the presenters, allowing us to do activities, like puppet shows, that you couldn’t do if you were presenting alone,” Otter said. “And since it’s on Saturday, we’re able to provide a storytime for working parents who can not attend the weekday programs.”
Melendez has witnessed the benefits of the program firsthand.
“The Hispanic communities come to the library now, they check out books, and they know where all the collections are, and they’re not afraid to borrow,” Melendez said. “It’s rewarding for us and for the community.”
Gilroy resident Loraine Hall, and her toddler son Logan love storytime.
“I love how it’s books and music…and the activities,” Hall said. “We love the library.”
Melendez explained that the program is not strictly about increasing reading skills and comprehension levels. It also teaches motor skills and rhythm.
First time attendees Renae Johnston and her daughter Melody James, 2, were more than pleased with the program.
“I like the songs; I like that they’re really active and dancing,” Johnston said. “I think they keep everyone entertained very well.”
Christina Galindo and her daughter, Genevieve Barboa 4, attend bilingual storytime twice every month.
“It’s the highlight of her morning,” Galindo said about her daughter Genevieve. “It’s the best part of her Saturday morning.”
For more about Gilroy and Morgan Hill library programs go to sccl.org.