Author Archives: Cory Eckert

The Coolest Thing on the Internet (and in Canada)!

OMG JBRARY DID GUERRILLA STORYTIME AND IT WAS INSANE!!!! We here are Storytime Underground LOVE our adorable and highly productive Canadian sisters Dana and Lindsey. They have made a huge contribution to our profession with their video library and also, are great. This past week, at the British Columbia Library Conference, they facilitated Guerrilla Storytime and then they posted really, really killer notes about it on Jbrary. Like, they rival Amy in note-taking awesomry. You need to go check it out. It is ALMOST like you are AT a Guerrilla Storytime, but with less ukulele. 

You know who’s been rocking it this week? The ALSC blog. From Katie’s post about unconventional storytime prep (“Does this shirt ride up when I shake my sillies out?”) to this post about whether or not you’re a mandatory reporter (you need to know!), there is no shortage of bad-assery happening. 

Also rocking it hard (I know you’re SHOCKED) is Melissa. She’s been surveying youth services librarians about their storytime workload. I think this is so vitally important. Often administrators see storytime as something we do for 30 minutes/week (x however many storytimes you do) and don’t take into account how much program prep is required to truly do a spectacular storytime that incorporates ECRR and props and flannels and new songs and. . .  So, it’s great for us as a community to have some evidence of just how much time we’re spending. 

Do you follow @lizinthelibrary on Twitter? You should, because she’s rad. Also she has a rad blog called Born Librarian. Recently she posted about modifying songs to make them about Alaska AND about modifying storytime for when you’re pregnant. The latter is probably useful to many of you (everyone seems to be pregnant!!) and the former is a very smart early literacy trick. piggybacking new rhymes onto familiar rhythms helps kids learn about rhyme and makes them feel more comfortable with new songs. 

It’s not storytime PER SE but you could use Angie’s incredible posts about how she rebooted her American Girl program to reboot some pre-k programs, too. Or, you could just marvel at the genius that is @misskubelik. 

It’s been a pretty great week, you guys. Have a squirrel. 


Also the Red Wings have secured their spot in their 23rd consecutive playoffs, so. 



Things On The Internet, they are really cool

Cool thing one is getting to hang out with Curtis Acosta (@CurtisAcostaLLP), my maestro and friend. Acosta taught me to love Sherman Alexie and Langston Hughes, that it was okay to hate The Scarlet Letter, and that a teacher can save a life. Later, he taught the world about how an ethnic studies program can completely change a community, make broken kids feel whole and wanted and important and seen, terrify racists and draw out book censors and bigots in ways that had to be seen to be believed. I could (and probably someday will) talk about how his pedagogy changed the course of my life, but for now know that for real, Storytime Underground would never have become a thing if I’d never been assigned to that dude’s class junior year of high school. I probably also would not have my BFF, which is a BFD.


(15 years later, we are looking good)

Other Cool Things!


I am reallllly into this post over at 3 Dinosaurs about building gross motor skills and letter knowledge at the same time. Taping down letters, having kids walk over them, tiptoe over them, push balls over them. . .it’s just really smart on multiple levels. Plus, it takes advantage of whatever is available, and could easily be adapted to larger groups.

How cool is it to see the importance of talking to babies being featured in the NYT? Also, PROVIDENCE YO. Way to be pioneer ways to serve the least served, get early childhood brain development information to poor parents and generally believe that people want to be the best possible parents they can be.

Cate at Storytiming is doing a super cool and super easy to replicate program she describes as “astronomy storytime,” which is right up my alley.

Abby wrote a great round up of posts describing how to reimagine programs. She namechecks all my friends! But also I think we all have tired programs that don’t quite work as well as we want them too and it’s important to hear that other people have had success fixing that.

Katie at Storytime Secrets has a killer list of ways to incorporate nursery rhymes into storytime in new ways. I love nursery rhymes. I cut my storytime teeth on Mother Goose on the Loose and I think short well-known rhymes that parents can feel comfortable taking home and sharing with their kids over and over are a pretty big deal when it comes to charing brain development skills.

Carol Simon Levin at Program Palooza has a really fun cat storytime going on. What I LOVE about this blog post is that every element of the storytime plan has a corresponding educational element. You can tell that Carol’s storyime plans are incredibly purposeful.

Please watch this video from Zooborns about this baby gorilla who was born by emergency c-section and had to be on oxygen and is literally the cutest thing that has ever happened.

the coolest thing I saw. . . tomorrow

There is a new coolest thing coming! Tonight I went to a lecture by bad ass teacher and advocate Curtis Acosta, who is also am old friends (I had him for English junior year), and we had dinner after. Tomorrow, I’ll tell you guys all about the amazing work he is doing, plus I have some really fracking cool links. 

Michigan’s Awesome Guerrilla Storytime, and a Big Community Milestone

I loooooove me some Michigan librarians (also: Vernor’s, Hamtramck, legalized same sex marriage and the Red Wings, so basically, all of Michigan except the snow), and some of my favorites just put on a Guerrilla Storytime at MLA’s Spring Institute. AND THEY TOOK GREAT NOTES, and Lisa @ Libraryland has posted this extensive recap post, because she rocks. AND AND AND AND they made a Pinterest page! Whut? I think this idea has legs, y’all. 

In other News of Note, this weekend the Facebook community hit 1000 members!!!!!!!!!! This is amazing. I asked ninjas to share what awesomeness they are doing, and some GIFs, and here are some responses: 

“I’ve revamped our weekly storytime structure to include more developmentally appropriate story groups, we now do tradition storytimes. . . but we also offer Hop, Skip & Jump (a gross motor playtime that incorporates stories, rhymes & songs), Little Scientists . . .Silly Sensory (a messy playtime that incorporates stories, rhymes & songs-the kids get to play in sensory bins with things like rice, playdoh, gelatine, cooked spaghetti, sand, etc) and Multicultural Music & Me.” -Wendy Lehman


“We’ve required registrations for our storytimes and they always filled up quickly with a huge waiting list. We had a great group of loyal regulars but we felt as though vwe weren’t connecting with new families. We added a walk in storytime on Friday morning that’s been filled with new faces. We’re also doing walking crafts that are based on picture books and are developmentally appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers. We give parents a list of questions and prompts that they can use to enhance their child’s crafting experience and encourage that growing vocabulary. We’re also doing toddler dance parties and parachute playtimes to encourage gross motor skill development.” -Katie Kiekhaefer


 Introduced a new program a week ago after months of planning. Common Ground – outreach to the community. Using the pre-k and K CCSS books combined with the principles of ECRR and bringing tablets along (to close the digital divide) I meet once a week with an amazing multi-cultural group of moms and dads and their preschoolers for stories, songs, flannels and fun ” -Jane Breen

“As part of a special statewide early literacy initiative rolling out next month, we have chicken eggs incubating at our library (initiative has a bird theme). The baby chicks should arrive by April 5 when one of our state senators will be onsite to read a story to the kids and we distribute free books. Because it is never to early to read to your babies, I read “The Little Red Hen” to the eggs yesterday. I think they were very inspired!” -Jean Bosch


 In the process of revamping my Saturday storytimes to focus on bringing families together. It’s now a short family storytime with board games and card games afterward and I’m extending invitations to our local ESL tutors to hang out too! Yay! ” -Brytani Fraser





The Coolest Thing I Saw on the — NEW JOINT CHIEF!!!

I am SO EXCITED to announce that we, the Joint Chiefs, after a long search, have finally found our Michelangelo, our Ringo Starr, our. . . I don’t really know. People, start naming famous groups of four in the comments. Help me out here. 

We are all thrilled to officially announce that Brooke Rasche has become a Storytime Underground Joint Chief. WELCOME TO THE TEAM, BROOKE!!!



You. Yes. You.

One of the things we’ve been talking about a lot, as Joint Chiefs and as a community (THANKS ANNA!) is incorporating diversity in storytime, all the time. Do you feel like all your tried and true storytime go-tos are. . .not so diverse? Do you know about Black Threads in Kids Lit yet? Thanks to HiMissJulie for the link. 

Carol Simon Levin is doing a series of storytimes on art, and they are all really cool. This one has fantastic ideas for teaching different types of to kids through crafts. 

I love this post on Miss Mary Liberry about Going On a Picnic. It’s really smart to use the fruit to talk about letter sounds, colors and, well, fruit. 

Liz at Getting Giggles has an excellent idea for a “drive in movie.” There’s so much opportunity here for learning by touch and vocabulary building. She recently posted about a similar program with trains, and gives a great explanation for how she gets the kids to tell her stories (narrative!) and connect storytime back to their lives. 

So many good ideas over at Tippytoe crafts for incorporating books and STEAM! I’m especially fond of the chameleon. The seamless integration of literacy, art, science and fun is perfect. 


The Coolest Things Moving and Shaking on the Internet This Week

Yes, friends, I did get named a Library Journal 2014 Mover and Shaker (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) for Guerrilla Storytime. Which is really about YOU, because I only thought up Guerrilla Storytime, I didn’t make it into a crazy international movement. You did that. I love you. 

HEY speaking of Guerrilla Storytime, there is one THIS SATURDAY in Indy as part of PLA. It is at 9:15. Amy and Brooke are co-facilitating. I fully expect magic will happen. 

The inaugural Michigan KidLit UnCon, which I’m pretty sure is the professional event I’ll most regret missing this year, held a Guerrilla Storytime and Annie blogged about it, and it sounds incredible. Which, duh, look at who put it on. 

ALSO speaking of Guerrilla Storytime, thanks for this great write up of the one at Midwinter, Anne!

What are we up to next, over here in the Underground? We have a couple of bigBIGbig ideas we are brewing (OH MAN YOU GUYS), but the official things happening are: ALSC student session webinar (FREE!) on building your PLN, March 25 and possibly a Conversation Starter at Annual IFFFFF you all vote for it:

This post on wordless picture books is a MUST READ. Use them! They’re not scary! They’re important for developing imagination and awareness of narrative structure!

One of our readers emailed me about her blog, Kidlit Celebrates Women’s History Month, and it’s full of cook reviews and program ideas for bringing Women’s History Month to your patrons, which is a highly excellent idea. 

Thanks to the Jbrary gals for linking to this AWESOME resource from an apparently amazing Canadian library featuring videos of storytime songs in 15 different languages. ❤

I know, I know, I am breaking my own rule about not linking to stuff my fellow joint chiefs are blogging about, but did you see Amy’s post about World Read Aloud day? It’s such a smart way to do a fairly low-staff time community partnership program with big pay off. Plus, literacy. And Kendra is painting with balloons, because she’s a mad genius!

Abby shouts us out in a great article on ways to get that storytime training you feel like you missed out on, and also has a super useful related article on what she’s learned on the job about preparing for readalouds (bonus picture of my future wife. Hi honey!).

The picture this week is ME in LIBRARY JOURNAL. Because. 


The Single Fracking Coolest Damn Thing on the Internet

Three out of three Storytime Underground Joint Chiefs have been waiting rather impatiently for quite some time for the reveal of Anna HK’s Everyday Diversity project. And now it has been revealed, and it is uhfrackingmazing. It is all the things SU is about. It is all the things we aspire to help the Youth Services Internet Ninja Mafia be about. It is perfect and I could not be more excited to support it in any way possible.

You should help!

And that, friends, is the coolest thing I saw on the internet this week.*

(Also this, courtesy of Sophie Brookover and the Calming Manatee):


Go in peace, my beloved Ninja Mafia. Let’s be careful out there.

*There may be some relation between the brevity of this post and the fact that I lost my adored Gram on Thursday night, and spent all weekend travelling/doing family funeral crud/travelling/recuperating and hence did not actually read that much of the internet this week, but I think Anna’s project deserves to stand alone anyway, because it is cool beyond measure.

The Internet is For Cat Videos

As I was about to start this post, one of my best friends sent me a link to a 25 minute compilation of the internet’s best cat vines. It’s fine, go, I’ll wait here. 

 Now that I’ve destroyed your productivity. . . I must direct you to the ALSC blog where they have made the EXCELLENT DECISION to feature Angie (@misskubelik), dear member of both my professional posse and personal Team Me, as their ALSC member of the month. Well played, ALSC. Well played. It is of course a charming interview and you will probably come away from it wishing Angie were in your PLN and that YOU could kick ass at trivia with her and get shushed on an airplane while discussing the Love Curse of the Rumbaughs. This is not an impossible dream. Through the power of the internet, you can become friends with all sorts of famous people. 

Miss Meg (at Miss Meg’s Storytime) has a great shapes “workshop.” Shapes are key! They promote letter knowledge! She incorporates yoga and matching and real life examples and all sorts of fun stuff. Another great way to add a STEAM element to storytime. 

Head over to Thrive After Three for this SUPPPPPPPER SMART post on how to use scarves in early literacy contexts, and pair them with books. For real, if you haven’t seen this post yet, it’s going to blow your mind wide open with scarfy possibilities. 

Did you know that Annie Clark (@sotomorrow) is a genius? A genius with a kid SO CUTE it is difficult to fathom? It’s all true. In honor of the Olympics, Annie put on a Mother Goose Olympics (that I’m pretty sure is a lot more gay friendly than Sochi) and it is seriously cool beyond words. What a great way to introduce kids (and parents!), in a physical way, to older nursery rhymes where the vocabulary is difficult or unfamiliar. 

Did y’all have kind of a rough week? I had a rough couple of them, and I’ve been relying on music to get me through. Here is a surefire get-through-a-bad-day winner:

(Are you ready? Are you ready?)

The Coolest Thing I Saw On The Internet This Week

The internet was not disappointing this week. What was the BEST thing I saw? MYSELF (and Guerrilla Storytime) IN AL DIRECT! (With a photo of Amy, which is great for me, because Amy is so absurdly pretty, you guys, for real, how is it even allowed?). It’s down in the Tips and Tricks section. THIS IS BRILLIANT. Our whole point of having this site is to get YS news out into the wider librarian internet.

Thanks to Marge for summing up why it’s so important to us to get our (amazing) ideas out beyond the youth services bubble.

I love this Letter of The Week storytime that Miss Sue posted at Library Village (formerly Let The Wild Rumpus Start). The mailbag is a great way to reveal the theme, while incorporating new information about TWO ECRR2 skills (reading + writing) and teaching about mail! Her Old McDonald is hilarious and easy to replicate. It’s so smart to take a song every kid knows and tweak it just a little. It makes the kids (and parents) feel comfortable. She also HAS an ECRR tip and talks about picking books for skills they teach kids. So awesome.

You know what we’re about? (Ninjas? Tacos? Dolly Parton?) Advocacy! This post from Lisa Taylor at the ALSC blog is really key. What would your libraries circ stats, or program numbers, look like without you? YOU MATTER.

Brytani has an excellent write up on getting families acquainted with a new storytime provider — which I feel like someone is always asking about.

Carrie over at The Lion is a Bookworm has a super cute Ps and Qs storytime about Princes and Queens! What a smart way to do letter knowledge and play into the popularity of the princess craze. She manages to pack a LOT of educational elements.

I’m pretty excited that Sarah is back to blogging and also that she takes the WORLDS CUTEST baby pics.

It’s Valentine’s Day! I’m posting a picture of one of the things I love best in the world. . .



The Rockford Peaches. What do YOU love most? Leave me pics in the comments!

The Coolest Thing I Saw On The Internet, What Day Is It? Edition

I legit forgot that yesterday was Wednesday. My new job, the learning curve is steep.

People blogged about Guerrilla Storytime at Midwinter! Not even just youth services bloggers!

The wonderful Kate Kosturski, tiny hat owner extraordinaire, happened to be at the UnCommons on Sunday and wound up taking video and blogging about it for INALJ (I assume you know INALJ, because it is seriously the greatest thing).

Michelle at Lit Chat For Kids recapped her experiences at MW and gave GS some great feedback.

Of course Amy blogged about it, and also wrote up some of her other crazy adventures of late (I, for one, have never been so glad for the Newbery committee to finish their work).

If you blogged about GS, or saw it mentioned somewhere, please send the link! We like to read about how great we are.

I really love With Kiddos At The Library, which is written by some amazing Vancouver librarians. They have a ton of new cool stuff in January, but my personal favorite is the GIANT SHADOW PUPPET WORKSHOP they set up. So cool.

What is Bridget Reading? WINNIE THE POOH. I grew up on Milne, and I think his original stories are so flipping charming, and are so perfect at conveying childhood, and hold up really strongly, and I just think more people should still be reading them. And throwing birthday parties for Pooh.

Molly at What Happens In Storytime has some really cool ideas this week, like a rain circle. I also love how active/song based her storytimes are!

I love how explicitly Kendra spells out the nuts and bolts of her storytime plan, and how precise is she with her choices. I’m linking to Storytime for Twos, but go back and read her recent posts on her new year’s resolution. So full of goodness.

If, like me, you love Harry Potter as if you actually knew the characters personally, this diary from Ron will make your life.

Speaking of fictional characters with whom I am real life friends, this picture makes me think of Cat the Cat meeting Piggy, and then I go down a mental wormhole of Mo Willems crossovers.


What did you guys see this week that I missed?

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