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This post originally appeared on the ALSC Blog.

At Simsbury Public Library, CT we’re good at collaboration. We have an excellent record of building strong partnerships with local businesses, community organizations, schools, and other town departments. In fact, one of our strategic plan goals revolves around outreach, engaging the community beyond the library’s walls and increasing our number of off site library programs.

We already have regularly scheduled outreach visits to daycares, pre-schools and schools in our area, and were looking for a new way to engage our youngest patrons, out in the community. StoryTown is a fall series of storytimes around Simsbury, CT designed to do just that. It is an ideal way for patrons to meet us in different locations around town and learn a little more about our community in the process. Each of the six StoryTown programs will take place at a different location including:

  • Peachwave (a local business, and sponsor of our Summer Reading Program)

  • the Old Drake Hill Flower Bridge (a partnership with the Parks and Recreation Department)

  • the town Fire Department

  • a Pumpkin Patch (a partnership with a local church/ non-profit)

  • the Police Department

  • the Public Works facility

The format of the program is a shortened storytime. We’ll read a few topically appropriate books, share some stories and rhymes and end with a fun craft or activity. Families love getting out and exploring new places, plus it’s a great opportunity for them to meet local business owners, community leaders, and important town staff members like police officers, fire fighters, and public works employees. It’s truly a win, win for all involved.

Do you partner with local organizations to offer early literacy programs? What’s the craziest place you’ve ever facilitated a storytime? Let us know in the comments below.

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Stephanie C. Prato

is the Director of Play to Learn Services at the Fayetteville Free Library in New York. 

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