For my whole professional life, I have folded the Arts into "what I do for a Living." What I do for a living is to be a Librarian and an advocate for the rights of young people to have freedom of access to whatever information or pleasure reading they need... ok, truth be told--after a long career in Youth Services...these days I am more of a manager. I no longer do storytimes or Young Adult work( unless the happy circumstance of staff shortage allows me to once again "play" for a living,) but I like to think that I contribute to the greater good by making time and resources available to the up-and-coming Youth Services librarians I now supervise and mentor.
My lifelong passion has always been Art. My "ninja librarianship" role has always been to enhance and extend the literary experience of a great storytelling session with the physical act of creating some small art expression (usually a craft) that will reinforce the story themes, thereby reinforcing the literary experience.there
Lately, I have been reading a lot in education materials about the role of Art in language development and in enhancing learning in general. A lot of what Youth Services Librarians and teachers instinctively knew has, in recent years, been supported by research that shows Art enhances learning. There also have been articles written about the importance of incorporating the vocabluary of the arts into language development.
This has got me thinking: What is missing in Youth Services Librarianship regarding the formalization of art experiences as pivotal in enhancing not only language development, but also in stimulating learning in many areas of the brain?
Youth Services Librarians almost always utilize theme-related crafts, music, dance, or other activities to reinforce the literature themes shared in a storytime. What if we formalized this with the same sort of approach that art teachers are now taking in pressing the incorporation of arts-awareness into many curriculum areas? There is now a plethora of documentations regarding the learning enhancements in using multiple art techniques in language development, as well as in enhancement in many other areas of learning.
In coming posts, I will explore my thoughts on how this can be easily applied and implemented in traditional library literature ("Storytime") experiences.