The Show Must Go On!

EEEEEKKKK!!!!  Have you heard Miss Ginger scream?  Well you will soon in one of the upcoming Virtual Storytimes!  New Virtual Storytimes are posted every Wednesday and Friday at 10:30 a.m. on our BCPL YouTube channel to enjoy any time, any place.  And you can even catch-up on past Virtual Storytimes!  With the goal of supporting early learning and early literacy, (building the foundations upon which later learning and reading will happen), Boone County Public Library has learned a few things about how to share Storytimes in the time of physical distancing.  Despite the pandemic, the show must go on so Storytime is now an on-demand experience! 

Watch our Virtual Storytime!

So, what can you expect from a Virtual Storytime? Our programmers put the same care, thought, and enthusiasm into planning a virtual storytime as they do a traditional one, selecting great books, songs, and rhymes to share, and then record it so that you can participate in all the learning and fun activities safely and at your convenience. Guided by Every Child Ready to Read @ Your Library and its evidence-based content, Storytimes incorporate The Five Practices that can help young children have later success in reading and learning. 

Watch our Virtual Storytime!

How can you make the most of our Virtual Storytimes? Sometimes it’s nice to be able to simply provide an educational distraction, but if you want to maximize the value of that screen time, get ready to join in. When you actively participate in Storytime, you can sing the songs and do the motions, find new favorite books, pause the recording to ask questions and talk about what is happening, and have a shared experience with your child.

Just as with our in-person Storytimes, we encourage you to enjoy learning with your children all the time. Parents and caregivers are, after all, a child’s first and best teachers. You will find suggestions for different ways to support early literacy skills not only during but also after Storytime is finished. Here are a few ideas you can use to extend learning with our Storytimes:

  • Read together! Use BCPL’s catalog to search for or place a hold on books by your favorite authors and illustrators and check them out at the library. Don’t know what you want? You can request a Book Bundle and someone will pull an assortment of books for you.
  • Talk about the books and songs shared in Storytime. This is a great way for children to learn new vocabulary. Ask questions: What happened? Why do you think that? How does that make you feel?
  • Write or draw your own story. Writing and drawing not only develops fine motor skills, but also helps children learn that letters and words have meaning. If you don’t have paper on hand, you can always use the inside of a box, chalk on a sidewalk, or an old envelope!
  • Play with toys and act out the stories you see in Storytime, or use your imagination to make up your own story.
  • Sing your favorite songs. You can sing the songs you learn in Storytime, but feel free to sing your own favorites as well. If you are looking for even more Storytime songs and rhymes, check out our Rhyme Time videos.

This digital age really does have its benefits, and especially when used in conjunction with your guidance and attention, technology can be a fantastic tool. We hope our recordings not only entertain you, but also inspire you to continue learning with your little ones!

Note: There will not be a new video posted on Friday, August 28.  Enjoy our past videos and check back for new videos beginning Wednesday, September 2.

Miss Candace is our Youth Services Associate – Outreach at BCPL.  Her energy and passion for Virtual Storytime shines through in every book she reads.

Let’s get VIRTUAL with Tabletop Role-Playing Games (TTRPG)!

Being sociable in the age of social distancing is quick and easy with tabletop role-playing games (TTRPG)!  What is a TTRPG, you ask? Good question, o anonymous denizen of the internet!  A TTRPG is any game that involves other people, your imagination, and a given set of rules, in a collaborative, shared environment. What rules? Think of games like Dungeons & Dragons or something from the Old School Renaissance. If you need a compelling argument for why YOU, awesome individual that you are, should be playing a TTRPG, check out our blog about Dungeons & Dragons here. In order to join a TTRPG, there’s really only one thing you need to do: show up. In the “before times,” bringing your own dice, pencils, or snacks to share was classy. But what do you do when you can’t do that bare minimum, of “show up,” because the world won’t let you? It’s time to go VIRTUAL!

How do you go virtual with a TTRPG? It’s easy! You need a device (smartphone, laptop or desktop computer) and a means of connecting to the internet. If you can read and write, and/or speak and listen, you are ready to play! There are countless ways to do this, but we will cover our top three that are, additionally, free.

  • Online Meeting Software. If you’ve attended a webinar, or meeting, from home, you’ve already got the basics for how this works.  You can gather, and meet, through online software like Zoom or Google Hangouts. If you want to see what you’re doing, roll dice, and track character sheets, there are websites like Roll20 to show you what you want.
  • Discord and Voice Chats. Discord, and other voice programs like Skype, offer easy and quick ways to group up and game! Discord is a favorite of ours for its ability to recruit bots, helpful AI that make running games painless and easy. One great example is the Avrae bot, which helps players with Dungeons & Dragons 5e. If you have a Dungeons & Dragons Beyond account, you can link it with Avrae to automate tasks from characters to monsters. CritterDB can be used to make custom content for Discord, like haunted shovels. 
  • . Play-By-Post. Play-By-Post games have been going on for slightly less time than TTRPG have existed (and only less because the game had to exist first). You can play together by posting on forums, sending text messages, through email, or even using good old snail mail (if you have more of an attention span than either of us). Discord is not only for voice, but text as well, and is a popular way to play games when you can’t quite agree on a day and time to meet.

Now that you’re interested, how do you find people for a virtual TTRPG? You can recruit friends and family that you miss for a game over Skype. Kevin, Reference Librarian at the Florence Branch, has been playing “Barbarians of the Ruined Earth” with his brother in California! And D, Teen Librarian at the Scheben Branch, has a server of 15+ players from around the world playing by post. You can visit websites like Dungeons & Dragons Beyond, Reddit, or a local Meet up to find a group. The easiest way, though, is to join the library for our virtual events! We have a monthly Dungeons & Dragons program for teens and a monthly TTRPG program for adults.  Even if we can’t be together in person, we both hope to virtually game with you soon!

D Pina is the Teen Librarian at the Scheben Branch leading Dungeons and Dragons each month for teens. Kevin Wadlow is the Reference Librarian at the Florence Branch leading Old School Gamers of Florence.