Deliver a great BookTrust Storytime

Based on feedback from families last year, here are some suggestions to make sure people hear about your BookTrust Storytime activities and have a great experience when they visit your library!

Families enjoying a BookTrust Storytime session

Myth busting for new families

This pilot aims to encourage new families to visit the library. We know there are barriers, which could include:

  • Physical barriers, like transport or location
  • Social barriers, like feeling nervous entering the library for the first time (which our research shows is very common!)
  • Economic barriers, like being worried about paying surprise fees
  • The fear that their child might be disruptive or unfocused.

We found that reassuring families once they got into the library encouraged them to visit again! This is also a subject you can bring up when talking to community partners.

Read our Storytime Report

We have always struggled to get a well-attended Storytime. By contacting our local nursery to join in the BookTrust Storytime, we have now got a regular Storytime going even though we have finished the six books, which has encouraged a positive link with the nursery for other events


Working with partners (like children's centres and nurseries) to reach new families

  • We know that building relationships with new families can take a while. That's why we've extended the BookTrust Storytime pilot from September 2023 until May 2024 to help you build important relationships with your local community.
  • Last year, libraries found success in reaching out to local nurseries, children centres, local baby and toddler groups and more. Library staff last year found this worked because the partners have already built trust with families, giving you a head start when you're promoting your events.

The BookTrust Storytime owl

  • Here's how a library in Leicestershire organised pick-ups and drop-offs when working with a new community partner:

Getting the word out

The BookTrust Storytime owl

We found out about the library on social media. We enjoyed the session as we've never been before. Looking forward to coming back next week. Yes, I would recommend it to others.


BookTrust Storytime displays at Wisbech and Nelson librariesExcitement from the beginning

  • We saw some great displays in entrance ways and crafty use of stickers to direct people to the children's library. We have posters for you to use inside the library (you can download these from our resources page). You could create a BookTrust Storytime display, or even put up some balloons!

The BookTrust Storytime sticker bookFlexible resources

  • We've designed the BookTrust Storytime resources to be flexible - for example, the sticker books can be used when a child takes out their first book, and when they are invited to a Storytime event, they could collect a sticker for each book. It's up to you to decide how to use the resources as you know your community best - but we'd love to hear what's worked for you! Let us know by taking part in our learning activities.
  • Sign up to our newsletter to hear about BookTrust webinars to get inspiration from other libraries and partners, share your ideas, and give us feedback.
Library staff holding a BookTrust Storytime session for families

Interactive sessions

  • Make families feel at ease. Set expectations early. For example, make sure that parents and carers know it's fine if their children aren't sitting still quietly.
  • Think about the age range of the children at the session. If you have a lot of younger children attending, try sharing shorter stories.
  • Mix it up. Be flexible - include a combination of interactive rhymes and stories to keep the energy levels up.
  • Involve the children as much as possible. Whether it's getting them to sing along with a rhyme, do some fun actions or even turn the pages of the book you're reading, they'll love being asked to participate. On our resources page, you can find paddles that you can print off that are relevant to each story to encourage children to participate.

Permissions guide

What you can do with the books

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