Long Line at the Library? It’s Story Time Again

The New York Times (New York, NY), November 1, 2015


Among parents of the under-5 set, spots for story time have become as coveted as seats for a hot Broadway show like “Hamilton.” Lines stretch down the block at some branches, with tickets given out on a first-come-first-served basis because there is not enough room to accommodate all of the children who show up.

Story time is drawing capacity crowds at public libraries across New York and across the country at a time when, more than ever, educators are emphasizing the importance of early literacy in preparing children for school and for developing critical thinking skills. The demand crosses economic lines, with parents at all income levels vying to get in.

Many parents have made story time a fixture in their family routines alongside school pickups and playground outings — and, for those who employ nannies, a nonnegotiable requirement of the job.

In New York, demand for story time has surged across the city’s three library systems — the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library, and the Queens Library — and has posed logistical challenges for some branches, particularly those in small or cramped buildings. Citywide, story time attendance rose to 510,367 people in fiscal year 2015, up nearly 28 percent from 399,751 in fiscal 2013.


Subjects Covered: education

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