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Storytime: It’s Not Just For Kids!

by on November 3, 2015

As a child, I absolutely loved going to the library; and the best visits were those with storytime. As an adult, a beautifully read story or audiobook still provides fantastic entertainment. Luckily, storytime isn’t just for kids anymore. Libraries across the nation and the world have added programs where adults can come and be entertained by a story. Some libraries have been doing this type of program for several years now. Many of them hold the program over lunch hour and suggest that patrons bring their bag lunch with them, as was done at the Winona Public Library, Winona, Minn. Their first session, which occurred in September 2015, even brought in a patron who hadn’t been to the library in a long time.[1]

And what would storytime be without a little discussion?

As toddlers, we talked about how the dinosaur might roar and how many ducks were on the page. Later in life, many of us still have a desire to discuss what happened in the story. That’s one of the reasons we have book clubs. With storytime for adults, some libraries, like the Berkeley Public Library, Berkeley, Calif., have incorporated a brief discussion of the selected story to the program.[2]

If you’re considering starting this kind of program at your library, but feeling a little anxious about the endeavor, you can find a myriad of tips for reading aloud online. One great entry comes from the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America website. While this article is written more specifically for authors who are doing readings of their works, it has practical advice for anyone reading aloud. Several tips are given for selecting a good work, like making sure you don’t have an overabundance of characters, especially if you’re going to try to do different voices. Other ideas on how to make sure you’re doing a good job of reading the story, like making sure you are speaking at an appropriate volume are also provided.[3]

Most adult storytime programs select short stories to read. With all the wonderful options out there from classic to contemporary, it’s hard to imagine running out of possibilities! But, if you do, there’s still poetry and short plays – maybe you can convince a colleague to be a part of a theatrical piece for two!

[1] The Associated Press. “Winona library debuts story time — for adults.” MPRNews. September 14, 2015. http://www.mprnews.org/story/2015/09/10/winona-library-debuts-story-time–for-adults (accessed September 17, 2015).

[2] Berkeley Public Library. “Events.” Berkeley Public Library. n.d. https://www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org/events/storytime-adults-central (accessed September 17, 2015).

[3] Kowal, Mary Robinette. “Reading Aloud.” Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. August 16, 2009. http://www.sfwa.org/2009/08/reading-aloud/ (accessed September 17, 2015).


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