Librarians host virtual storytime during coronavirus closures

DANE COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV) - With libraries across South Central Wisconsin closing their doors because of coronavirus concerns, library staff are quickly finding ways to make children’s programming accessible in the digital space.

“It all just happened so fast and when we decided that the library needed to close to keep everybody safe, we immediately just went into plan mode,” said Waunakee Library Youth Service Manager Brittany Gitzlaff. “It really came together pretty quickly and pretty easily.”

The Waunakee Public Library is hosting story times via Facebook live and the librarians are seeing great feedback from patrons young and old.

“Storytime is something that’s just so familiar to people,” said Gitzlaff. “It’s real people that hopefully they’ve seen us before in person and they feel comfortable with us.”

Verona Public Library is posting videos to their YouTube page.

“We thought that even though there’s a lot of content out there, we wanted to record some storytimes, some books and some songs so that the kids who are at home can still see our faces and hear our voices and feel connection to us and the library,” said Julie Harrison, the Verona Library Head of Youth Services.

The librarians say many storytime toddlers or preschoolers are familiar with a routine trip to the library.

“I think we do have a special role in our lives,” Harrison said. “That makes it really fun to see them every week and now to hopefully have them see us online too.”

Gitzlaff says the librarians are happy to also have something to do too.

“This just felt like a form of therapy for both of us,” she said. “It just felt like to be able to do something useful and helpful and to just have all that great energy come back at us was just incredible.”

The Middleton Public Library has compiled a list of children’s activities of other things to do while at home.

Click on the links below to find other organizations hosting online storytime:

To submit one, send Gabriella Rusk a message.