Attendance at our weekly Thursday night storytime sessions has been disappointingly low. I’m sure part of the issue is the fact our 6 p.m. time slot conflicts with many families’ dinner schedules. So, I decided to incorporate food into our storytime programming and get a bit gimmicky in order to attract non-library users, and a larger audience. This gave rise to “Pancake & Pajama Storytime” sessions held on the third Thursday night of every month. I conducted two such events prior to taking a break for our summer programming schedule, and they were HUGE hits! Attendance jumped from an average of 3 parents & children to 21 parents & children—many of whom wore pajamas. As predicted, I’ve had a lot of new faces in the crowd on the third Thursday night of the month.
Pancake & Pajama Storytime sessions follow the same thematic outline as Thursday and Friday morning storytimes, with one exception. Pancakes are provided in lieu of craft. The first Pancake & Pajama Storytime session was a bit chaotic. My co-worker and intern did not start making pancakes until 6:15 p.m. (based on my poor timeline), so we had difficulty keeping up with demand. The second time around, they began frying up pancakes at exactly 6:00 p.m. So we had a couple of nice stacks ready to serve by the time storytime concluded. Based on the advice of our Youth Librarian, I set up two supply tables containing knives, forks, napkins, babywipes and syrup in disposable containers. Then, we had everyone line up to receive their pancakes in an orderly fashion. Most children ate 2 or 3 (4-inch diameter) pancakes. Although, we had a couple of older children who ate more. We also had a couple of children and tweens wander in from elsewhere in the building and ask for pancakes, so we fed them as well.
Overall, Pancake & Pajama Storytime has been a success and I look forward to continuing this program when we resume our typical programming in September. I definitely recommend implementing this program in other libraries (make sure you have help!). I’ll be on the lookout for other gimmicks to increase attendance on the second and fourth Thursday nights of the month. Wish me luck!
Professional book dealer. Getting people hooked on books since 2012. Everyday I’m hustling.