County libraries offer Story Time in a Bag

With just a little heads up via a phone call or email to any one of the 12 libraries in the Alachua County Library District, Story Time in a Bag could be waiting for you to pick up.

Children’s Librarian Daniel Jones is quick to point out the idea is not original to him.

“I adapted a program that was originally done by Alix Freck, when she was a children’s librarian at the Tower Road Branch,” Jones said. “Parents were offered a craft that they could take with them after the story time programs since many parents had to leave directly after and could not stay for the craft (and for families that could not make it to the program).”

When libraries in Alachua County were closed to browsing during the pandemic, Jones wanted to add content to the Story Time in a Bag program.

“While the library collection was closed to browsing by patrons I wanted to offer parents books and songs on a theme that had a craft that they could do after at home,” Jones explained. “One of the benefits of story time programs is the bonding time between parent and child as they simply enjoy a few books and songs, and then they get to create something together. It is something small and generally not something that will last forever, but the bonding and memories are anything but.”

Mainstreet Daily News ordered a Story Time in a Bag from the Newberry Branch and within 20 minutes branch manager Marlin Day had two ready to choose from.

Here’s what came in them:

Each story bag has a theme. The first one contained three books about dinosaurs.

“How Do Dinosaurs Stay Friends” by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague, “I Wanna Be A Great Big Dinosaur” by Heath McKenzie, and “Dinosaur Vs. Bedtime” by Bob Shea.

Each book is very colorful and offers life lessons through dinosaur characters.

There was a “drive safe” reminder from the Florida Department of Transportation that has safety tips for drivers and scenes to color in with crayons or markers on both sides.

The kit also contains a bookmark that highlights a local learning activity such as a visit to the Florida Museum Butterfly Rainforest and a sheet that contains four songs about dinosaurs to learn and sing.

The craft idea in the dinosaur-themed bag was making dino feet out of tissue boxes, complete with instructions to “Stomp and chomp and romp around using your dino feet.”

The second Story Time in a Bag was tailored for a reader with interests in exploring the ocean.

The books were, “Catastrophe By The Sea” by Brenda Peterson, “The Mermaid” by Jan Brett and “The Storm Whale” by Benji Davies.

The craft involved creating ocean suncatchers using the shape of a whale and a coffee filter and the songs about the ocean included titles such as “Scooping up Sand” and “The Sea” sung to the tune of “Wheels on the Bus.”

For more information on ordering a Story Time in a Bag call your local library (locations here) or contact them via phone or email at ask@aclib.libanswers.com.

The current in-person browsing hours at local libraries is as follows:

  • Headquarters Library and Millhopper, Tower Road, and Alachua branches: Monday, Friday, and Saturday 2-5 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 2-7 p.m.
  • Cone Park, Hawthorne, High Springs, Library Partnership, and Newberry branches: Monday-Saturday 2-5 p.m.
  • Archer, Micanopy, and Waldo branches: Tuesday-Saturday 2-5 p.m.
  • Please reserve the 2-3 p.m. browsing hour for high-risk community members. 
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