Guerrilla Storytimes are 1 Year Old. How Did This Happen?!?!

It’s been a little more than a year since I started my mad scheme to steal all your storytime ideas, and a little bit less than a year since we started planning Guerrilla Storytimes in earnest. Now that Guerrilla Storytimes have become not just an international phenomenon but a training methodology that other types of librarians are using (!!!!! More on this in Coolest Thing) I thought it would be awesome to look back on my own genius. . .er, the amazing journey my little idea has taken over the past year.


3/19/13 I tweeted this series:

@MelissaZD @sotomorrow I feel like there’s a bit of storytime magic in things like transitioning smoothly to a new activity or incorporating

@MelissaZD @sotomorrow learning opportunities into a book (what color is this? What shape is this? etc) that feels overwhelming to new ppl

@MelissaZD @sotomorrow and that’s why I’d like to watch a few whole successful sotrytimes start to finish, although obvs copyright issues

@MelissaZD @sotomorrow Um. . .could we stage guerilla storytimes in the uncommons? I just want to watch y’all make magic + steal it.

chris greatest idea


Thanks, Chris! I liked it, too.

The next day, I hashed out the idea.


@meghancnyc @MelissaZD @klmpeace @sotomorrow Oh that’s true. I just love the idea off ppl walking by uncommons mid-shaking sillies out

@MelissaZD @meghancnyc @klmpeace @sotomorrow I have this mad idea abt a battledecks format. Here’s Donald Crews’ Freight Train, incorporate

@MelissaZD @meghancnyc @klmpeace @sotomorrow 5 learning tips, 3 body movements and 2 audience participation noises, GO!

@MelissaZD @opinionsbyanna @meghancnyc @klmpeace @sotomorrow So maybe a little of both? “A kid wants to tell you 85 stories about his cat. .

@MelissaZD @opinionsbyanna @meghancnyc @klmpeace @sotomorrow . . .what do you say? GO! + Each person acts out the response?

This is almost exactly the format we ended up running with.

Melissa got on board RIGHT AWAY and was really excited and retweeted like crazy. Because she had just gotten Movers and Shakers, and had been building her PLN for a lot longer than I had, she had a much wider audience than I did. People started getting excited.


At the beginning of May, Anna Haase Krueger (@opinionsbyanna) started a Google group for us to plot this thing out. Amy, Kendra, Katie Salo, Meghan Cirrito all joined. . . basically a dream team. We got ourselves on the Uncommons Schedule. Amy made blog badges. We got into the ALSC blog. THINGS MOVED FAST.

During the Google group conversations, I brought up that I wanted to start a grassroots advocacy network, called the Storytime Underground. Amy and Kendra were like

bring it on

We had our first Guerrilla Storytime at ALA 2013, and as you know, the rest is history.

I adore and am infinitely gratefuly for each and every one of you who has made this phenomenon possible. In the words of another Cory,

emotional rollercoaster gif

But in a really great way. Let’s see what happens THIS year. Are you with me?


Posted on April 23, 2014, in Guerrilla Storytime. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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