Thursday, May 28, 2009

MLA Session: A Box Full of Tales

This session was sponsored by the Children's Services Division of the Maryland Library Association and presented by author and Children's Services person, Kathy MacMillan and is based on her book, A Box Full of Tales: Easy Ways to Share Library Resources Using Story Boxes (ALA Editions, 2008, ISBN 0838909604. The book shares ways to set up Story Boxes and includes 50 ready to go themes to help take the guess work out of establishing such a program.

Here are some important info/notes Kathy gaves us at the program:

Why Story Boxes?
Story Boxes...
  • save time
  • give you new persepctives
  • bridge the gap between staff members
  • provide thematic unity for your programs
  • set a programming standard for your system
  • increase your program quality
  • are perfect for training and cross-training
  • change and grow with your needs

When starting the program think about:

  • Who will participate?
  • How many weeks the Story Box cycle with encompass?
  • How many Story Boxes you will need?
  • Who will create the Story Boxes?
  • How will you rotate them?
  • How will you get buy-in from staff?

Story Boxes include books, music, flannel boards, games, and fingerplays for a specific theme and age group. The box is loaded with the necessary materials and instructions and then rotated around to library story-times for use. These are especially handy for subs and when a group is scheduled at last minute.

Right now, BCPL does something very similar with Teen Programs in a box. I think this idea could work for any age group and programming i.e. Storytime, Homeschoolers, Teens, Reading Clubs, etc.

Most importantly, it is necessary to have buy in from the group using them and that everyone using them be responsible for the set-up and upkeep. Many heads are better than one. And, it is okay to update and change the boxes as time goes by.

Some examples of themes are:

Sounds All Around

Eric Carle

Hop, Skip, and Jump

At the Zoo

For more information check out Kathy's book or contact her at


Anonymous said...

nice post and thanks for sharing....

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Anonymous said...

awesome story boxes...
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