At the beginning of April, I was fortunate enough to attend a storytime training program with Jim Gill, a well-known children's musician and child development specialist. The training was put on by the Dallas Public Library and was attended by librarians from all around the metroplex. My system sent seven Youth Services employees to the training.
I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. Of course, I've used Jim Gill's music during my storytimes before, so I was familiar with that much. But I didn't realize that he is also a child development specialist. The training lasted about two and a half hours, the better part of my afternoon. We spent a lot of that time singing and dancing, exploring Mr. Gill's music and learning new ways to incorporate it into our storytimes. Mr. Gill talked a lot about his time working with special needs children and how important the sort of music he performs was to encouraging their development. I won't say that I learned a whole lot that I didn't already know - I'm already a big believer in using music throughout storytimes. I can see how this workshop/training would be beneficial to people who don't really use music in their storytimes. I also think a more specialized workshop, on developing and executing inclusive storytimes (for children with special needs, ASD, etc.) would have been really helpful. Regardless of whether I learned a lot, I did have lots of fun. It was a great way to spend my afternoon - singing and dancing with a roomful of like-minded librarians. If you're not familiar with Mr. Gill's music and you plan on being a children's librarian (or are one already), please get to know his work. It's delightful, fun, and sure to entertain your young patrons.