Miss Sam’s Storytime goes online

Ken Kellar

A lot of people’s daily routines may have been shut down or otherwise disrupted, but fans of storytime at the Fort Frances Library Technology Centre can still take part in the fun.

Beginning last week and continuing on into the future, the library’s Miss Sam Manty has been filming and posting full storytime sessions to their Facebook page in order to stay connected with the children and parents who would normally be with her in person.

“We really missed our storytime kids who come out every week, and the parents who come out every week and support us, and we just thought that we could do something to reach out to them,” Manty said.

“Then it kind of grew from there and we got all kinds of people watching the video. We’re so excited. Despite the hard times we’re really happy that we can offer this service to people.”

The videos don’t adhere to a specific schedule other than that they are posted up on the Facebook page every Wednesday. After adjusting to the fact that you have to listen to the storys and sing along via video, the experience is almost the same as sitting down in the library itself. Almost.
“Now we’re going to be doing storytime from Miss Sam’s home, that’s a difference,” Manty said.
“Instead of doing it from the library, it’s going to be coming right from Miss Sam’s home, which is interesting. We’re just doing everything we can to reach out to our patrons and let them know that everything’s going to be OK eventually, to get them to hold in there and give the kids something to amuse them, and a familiar face in this hard time too.”

Manty is doing her best to ensure that each storytime is special and entertaining for those who choose to watch the videos as well. Each storytime video has a theme, and Manty said she’s been working on lining up as many as possible in order to keep the videos going for the long term, if that turns out to be necessary.

“We’re going to be doing themes like trains, farms, unicorns, maybe your worries,” she explained.
“We had a special request for Miss Sam to dress up like a construction worker so I want to make that dream become a reality and we’re going to do a construction themed story time, so yeah, we’ve got quite a few planned out that we’re going to do.”

The move is another example of how businesses and organizations are adapting to a socially-restricted world in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, from restaurants and businesses reducing their availability to take-out only, to doctors and nurses holding regular patient appointments over the phone. Social media and the internet are helping to ensure that if people can’t attend their workout classes or kid’s activities in person, there’s still the possibility of taking part separately -but together- online.

“I have kids who come, like I said, every single week they’re there and you get to know them and you get to know their little personalities and I truly miss them,” Manty explained.

“So it’s really nice to be able to reach out to them and then actually see how wide of a reach we get.”

Storytime is just one of the very popular programs that usually runs at the library, and Manty said that she’s also working on figuring out a way to connect her baby time moms together so that they might be able to continue those weekly sessions as well.

“I haven’t come up with a way for that yet, but I’m looking at figuring something out in the near future,” Manty said.

“Maybe a Facetime chat or something like that so our regular moms can get together and still visit with each other over the internet if possible, but right now we’re focusing on storytime because that we’re able to get up quickly.”