Today I "performed outreach to the community," which is a fancy way of saying that I traveled to a local day care and did storytime for two separate classes of kids. There was one class of 3-year-olds and one class of 4 to 5-year-olds and they were all very cute and enthusiastic and engaged in the activities I provided. They also gave me a cute "welcome & thank you" letter signed by all the kids, which kind of made my week. (Believe me, it's always nice to feel appreciated, especially these days.)
However, something happened during the 3-year-old session that made me question my entire approach to children's librarianship. I had sung my opening "Hello" song, did "Open Shut Them" twice (always a crowd pleaser) and had read one of my favorite storytime books, Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes. The kids were with me. We were having a good time. All was well.
It was then time to sing another song. I tried to prepare the group.
Me: "Okay! Can we all sing 'Wheels on the Bus' now?"
Because everyone loves that song right? It's a CLASSIC and no storytime feels complete without it. Kids usually cheer when I say we're going to sing it.
"No!" A tow-headed three-year-old boy shouted with total seriousness. "Sing 'Call Me Maybe'!"
The kids laughed. The teachers laughed. I laughed. But something inside me twisted uncomfortably. This kid was THREE YEARS OLD. Putting aside the issues of musical taste and levels of lyric-appropriateness, he didn't want to sing "Wheels on the Bus."
This rapid loss of musical innocence is happening right before our eyes, people. A couple of (older) kids told me yesterday that they wish they could turn the library into a "rock concert" with Nicki Manaj and Lady Gaga instead of some of the programming we are planning for the summer.
As this guy said:
These interactions make me feel old, my friends. More worrisome, they make me feel like I am perhaps not doing the best job I can as a children's librarian. I mean, is this where storytimes are headed? Are children's librarians going to be expected to throw out the classics for whatever dime-a-dozen pop song is hot that week in order to get higher program stastistics?
Well, FORGET THAT. I'm not going to change my routine. They can pry "The Wheels on the Bus" from my cold, dead hands.
Despite my storytime inflexibility, it's my hope that I will still remain the...