Demand for in-person story times at local libraries soars

Posted at 4:46 PM, Mar 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-23 18:27:32-04

BRUNSWICK, Ohio — With there being more consistency in the classroom now than we saw during the beginning of the pandemic, children are starting to make up for the academic ground lost during school shutdowns. However, there's still major concern when it comes to literacy skills for students in Kindergarten through third grade.

Songs, socialization and stories are bringing life back to the children's section of the Brunswick Library after a year-long pandemic pause.

"The demand is really high right now," said librarian Kelly Halleen.


Halleen said since re-launching in-person storytime, parents have been asking the same question: “Is my child behind?”

"A lot of it has to do with speech development," said Halleen.

According to a study by a curriculum and assessment group, more than one in three children in Kindergarten through third grade will struggle to read at their grade level by the end of this school year. The research shows big holes remain in students' fundamental reading skills.

Parents, in record numbers, are tapping into opportunities like their local library’s storytime to help close the gap.


"We're doing songs, we're doing movement, we're doing fingerplays, all of this gets children ready to read," said Halleen. “What can we do as librarians to help children or help parents who feel like speech is an issue?"

Halleen brought in a speech pathologist to talk to the staff so they could better address parents' concerns about speech delays.

As families emerge from this often-stressful time, Halleen shares this reassuring message with moms and dads.

"The kids will be okay. You are doing okay. You are coming into the library. Even if you don't read to them every night, like yes, that is a wonderful goal, I haven't reached that and I'm a librarian and I know how important it is," said Halleen.

For Brianne Middendorf's 3-year-old son Aiden, storytime is enhancing his socialization and language skills.


"It’s wonderful to be back. He asks to come to the library, it’s his favorite place. We can sort of repeat at home what they’ve done at storytime,” said Middendorf.

Klaire Basel's mom Katie is happy to see the change in her 3-year-old daughter since coming back to storytime.

"Knowing she was missing out for a year was hard for me. Just to see her personality come out and see her sharing with other kids, it was very sweet," said Basel.


We would like to thank the backpack journalists at Brunswick High School for tipping us off on how storytime is helping parents and their children bounce back. Theerthaa Krishnan, a tenth-grader at Brunswick High School, is one of over 50 student “backpack journalists” (grades 6-12) in the award-winning BEAT Video Program. The program is sponsored by Scene75, Plum Creek Assisted Living Community, Baskets Galore, Medina County Women’s Endowment Fund, Medina County Community Fund, Brunswick University Center, Brunswick Eagles 3505, 100+ Women Who Care Medina, and the Brunswick Rotary Club. Go to to learn more about the Program, or visit to view videos produced by the students.