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Storytime Surprise! Solving the Puzzle of Distracted Adults

Ann Hotta


It’s not hard to find library staff complaining about distracted adults at storytime. Still, as a person who began her library career before the invention of the personal computer, I can say that being distracted is nothing new. It has simply become more convenient and obvious.

Regardless, I acknowledge the struggle. We make rules and announce them intently. This sometimes leads to confrontations or shaming. Public relations can suffer. Or perhaps we hear that we are to be more “engaging.” But what is this supposed to mean? Wear a funny hat? Slip on a banana peel? With all due respect, many of us don’t feel comfortable being clowns. And storytime should be about the stories, not us.

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