When the beloved Stanley series added Stanley’s Library to the collection of professions and jobs that Stanley the Hamster undertook, the response from our wonderful librarian community was immediate and very excited. So, in celebration of Stanley’s Library and the wonderful work that librarians are doing in their communities, we spoke with several youth services and children’s librarians not only about Stanley, but also the importance of their libraries, and how the youngest readers (like those little ones who enjoy Stanley’s adventures) can take best advantage of their local library. Enjoy their stories, advice, and recommendations below!
“My library is a true community space for my families. Our kids love that they can meet their friends here, including the friends they’ve made within books. Familiar characters like Stanley, Izzy Gizmo, and Arlo the Lion are like spending time with old friends – we’ve had science experiments with Izzy, and we’ve read bedtime stories to our stuffed Arlo! Books like the Stanley series are so important, because it teaches through gentle repetition and familiarity. Toddlers know Stanley and his friends, and are comfortable seeing them do different jobs around their town, but also in Stanley’s routine: he wakes up, heads off to his new career, comes back home to eat dinner, have a bath, and go to bed. Sitting with your little ones to read books like these time and again encourage kids to learn words and put ideas together, and it provides a safe place – on your lap – for kids to explore different ideas, from working in a library (where kids can also ask librarians about what Stanley does, and what they do!) to working on a fire truck. Kathryn O. Galbraith and Adela Pons’ books about the seasons are also great books to introduce the different changes in weather and times of year to toddlers – they’re some of my most popular board books!”―Rosemary Kiladitis, Queens Library, Corona, New York
“During COVID my library was able to take enough precautions near the tail end to be open while also keeping our staff and patrons safe. One day a girl came in, fully masked, carrying a jam jar, full to the brim with pennies, tied with a little ribbon at the top. Zoe, the kid, had desperately been missing the library those months we’d been closed. So, entirely of her own accord, she began collecting pennies. Pennies from the ground. Pennies from other people. Pennies she could donate once the library was open, just to tell us how special we were. It can be easy for us to forget that for the kids, the library can be a second home. One that they’re willing to help out, no matter what. No matter how many pennies they have to collect on our behalf.”―Betsy Bird, Collection Development Manager, Evanston Public Library
“The Matheson Memorial Library in Elkhorn WI is the heart of our community, providing informational, educational, and recreational services, in a friendly and supportive setting, to all families, children, and caregivers of the Elkhorn community and beyond. We are a family gathering place focused on educating, enriching, and entertaining the families, children, teens, and caregivers of the public.
Some of our favorite stories for toddler storytime include the Stanley picture books and board books. Ms. Pattie, Elkhorn Area School District Parent Educator, says she loves to use them in storytime with toddlers because their bold illustrations, simple language, and gentle humor is enjoyed by all, parents and toddlers alike.
When families with toddlers visit our library, we encourage them to hang out in the play area and build socialization skills, to read together on the cushions to model reading behavior, and pick their own books (the board books are handily located in the play area) to build an interest in reading. Don’t forget to stop and chat with our friendly librarians for book recommendations, to find out about library and community programs, and discover new things the library is offering. One tip to make library visits easier is to plan ahead for distractions at stops. We have these built in at our library – the gerbil tank is by the children’s self-check, the wishing well is within sight of the circulation desk if you need some extra help checking out or placing a hold – but you can also bring in a small toy or set up a library ritual so children know what to expect on each part of their library trip.”―Jennifer Wharton, Youth Services Librarian, Matheson Memorial Library
“Stanley’s Library has just the right book for every reader and this delightful new book in the Stanley series is just right for read alouds with young children! From the comfy padded cover, to the bright bold illustrations, to the good humor and generous double page spreads, Stanley’s Library works well to show readers the friendliness and versatility of public libraries. Stanley is also a good spirited librarian. He works hard, appreciates his job, and at the end of the day even enjoys what the library offers himself! Be sure to introduce your young child to your public librarian and like Stanley, they will match their interests and inclinations with just the right books! “―Maria Simon, Head of Youth Services, Wood County District Public Library
“Stanley is a librarian favorite at my library. From the first Stanley book, we all knew it was the perfect storytime series. Since then we have eagerly anticipated every new Stanley release to see what our favorite hamster is up to now. Stanley’s Library might be my favorite adventure yet because it is a wonderful love letter to libraries, librarians and the power of connecting over books. William Bee portrays a day in the life of a librarian so beautifully and Stanley’s adventures showcase everything I love about my job: connecting with the community, matching books with readers, hosting programs and events, and helping everyone find the joy of reading.”―Sarah Bean Thompson, Youth Services Manager, the Library Center