Thursday, 20 January 2011

Lille English storytime

Yay! I met with the youth librarians of my local bibliothèque to organize the first ever free Lille English storytime.

The library is not allowed to advertize. And since I wouldn't want to get the librarians at my branch in trouble, you'll have to read the fine print to actually find out where it is.

When I first discussed the idea of English storytime with the head librarian in the Wazemmes branch, she told me she was hesitant about actually doing a seperate storytime to their regular once monthly storytime. She told me that they have a hard enough time getting people to their normal storytime so didn't want to take up my busy time if no one actually came.

When I met with them today, I explained my raison d'être : a free, English language storytime to initiate children, reinforce those who know some English and generally expose kids to English in a fun way. It is open to children of all ages, but the main target audience is 4-8 year olds. Some names we tossed around were Maurice Sendak, Mo Willems, Eric Carl and Lucy Cousins.

After discussing different angles, we decided the best way to get an audiance was to do a bilingual format. The librarians and I will find both the French and English versions of fun known books which we will read in both English and French: one page French, one page English, etc. This will 1) allow kids to understand part of the book with them getting bored from hearing the same book twice and 2) get their ears accustomed to the musique of English.

The first date we set is March 9th at 3:30 PM (that's 9 mars à 15h30 for the frenchies). There is a second storytime scheduled for April 13th at the same time. If we get a big enough audience, it will become more frequent. And if all goes well, there is the possibility of doing an English only spin-off! This also means that the library will be ordering some more children's books in English.

So if you are intersted in coming, and want more information, please leave a comment on this blog or email me at rraagg33 at hotmail dot com

Be there or be square.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Aaargh, that's when the 6 year old has an eye appointment. So maybe we'll see you in April.

Good luck!
Rachael

Reb said...

Oh well. I understand about eye appointments. You don't mess with the eye doctor! I'm going to see about getting a Saturday time slot too. It will make it easier for other kids as well.

Sarah said...

Magnifique! I'd come if I lived in Lille....

How strange that the library doesn't actually want to publicize a new program. And how cool that the librarian is working with you to organize it!

Our French storytime here in Colorado is continuing in the new year, and I'm thrilled that we now have two more parents to help. We'll alternate so that each parent only has to cover one storytime a month. Yay!

Reb said...

it's not taht they don't want to publicize, it's that they can't. Since this is not the library staff but a volunteer doing it, they are doing it under the radar. And if all goes well, they will inform the municipality who will then take 20 years to decide how to handle it...

Sarah said...

Ah, I understand. It's similar at our library since the story leaders are all volunteers--we're not an official librarian-led storytime, so it's not included among the offerings publicized on flyers and the website. Part of the issue is that the library doesn't have the staff/funding to offer a storytime in Spanish, even though there are a lot of Spanish-speaking families in our town. So the library doesn't want to come across as unfair to a large part of our population.

Sarah said...

I can't wait to hear how it goes! I especially like the idea of a bilingual storytime with one page at a time in each language. Maybe families who would otherwise love to participate would be frightened away by an English-only format. I plan to use your experience (and yours, too, Sarah from Colorado) if I get around to starting an English storytime in my town. My twins aren't even 1 yet and I'd like them to take part in it so I still have a bit of time to prepare.
Good luck!

Reb said...

Since this is an experiment and we want to attract as many people as possible, we toyed with many ways of including both english and non english speakers. It was the librarian's idea to do the one page-one page thing. that way all of the kids will at least be able to follow part of the story.

I will make sure to report back on it. Thanks for the inspiration Sarah from Colorado!

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