My storytimes require a lot of…stuff, as I’m sure yours do as well. There’s a flannel board, one or two sets of pieces to go with it, maybe a puppet, at least three books, a stamp and ink-pad, handouts, signage, some sort of prop like scarves or shakers, and sometimes a boombox and/or MP3 player. I load my arms up with all that nonsense, then trek to the other side of the Youth Wing, and often up a flight of stairs, where I try to wrestle with the lock on the program-room door. It typically takes two trips and it usually ends up with me dropping everything on the floor while some super-hip Brooklyn dad says, “Do you need help?” and I’m like, “No, no, I’m cool. I’m TOTALLY fine!”
I made a couple of make-shift storytime boxes out of cardboard with shiny paper stapled on, but they weren’t very sturdy and/or cute. I was simply trading an arm full of crap for a box full of crap!
I still didn’t have my hands free to open doors and wave to babies, and objects were still feeling pretty precarious. Sure, I could throw all the storytime supplies on a cart, but that didn’t sound very fancy, and how was I going to lug said cart up the stairs? #childrenslibrarianproblems
One night, my partner/euphemism and I were at a show his friend’s band was playing in, and I saw a dude carrying a bass drum/floor tom case. It looked perfect! It was sort of circular, sturdy-looking, and it had a handle. A HANDLE! I could throw all my crap in it AND still have one hand free. It reminded me of the hat-box in that Shania Twain “That Don’t Impress Me Much” video. Yes! That video! I’m old! Whatever!
Tim, being the good boyfriend/euphemism he is, got me a drum case for Hanukkah:
I, of course, hauled over to the craft store to pick up some stuff to gussy up my new storytime box. I came back with plastic dinosaurs, keychains, eye screws (screw eyes? These things.), gold spray paint, two kinds of glitter spray paint (in “Posh Pink” and “Sparkling Waters”), glitter letter stickers (are we sensing a pattern here?), and sealant.
First, I sprayed down all the dinosaurs with gold spray paint and laid them out to dry. Once they were unsticky, I screwed the eye screws into their little dinosaur bodies. I attached the dinosaurs to the keychains and they now hang from the handles.
Next, since we’re New Yorkers who don’t have a backyard, Tim and I went out to our sidewalk to spray down the case (people were valet-parking on our street for a Hasidic wedding, so no one noticed/cared). I was glad that I got the gold spray paint, because the glitter spray paint applied straight to the black plastic case didn’t look that great. The front parts are a gold base covered in blue glitter, while the sides are just pink glitter sprayed over the black plastic base (in an ideal world, I’ll buy another can of Posh Pink and get the sides with another layer of paint).
We got glitter all over ourselves and the sidewalk. You’re welcome, Brooklyn.
Once everything was dry, I spelled STORYTIME out in glitter letters and covered the whole thing in Krylon spray sealant.
So, here’s the finished project and I’m pretty psyched!
In addition to being practical, I think the dinosaurs and glitter convey to everyone that storytime is awesome, don’t you think?
Do you have your own special storytime box? Tell me about it!
Do you hate what I came up with? Aw, I’m sorry to hear it! I’m going to go cry in the corner.
~Love and Libraries, Ingrid