Preschool Storytime in Auckland’s public libraries: A qualitative study of book selection practices
Research problem: Anecdotal evidence suggested a lack of uniformity across Auckland Libraries, in that Preschool Storytime sessions were being delivered by a range of different people with varying levels of training and experience. The purpose of the research was to gain an understanding of their book selection practices and the nature of the books selected for reading aloud. Methodology: The researcher took a qualitative approach, using a purposive sampling technique to select 10 participants from nine different libraries across the Auckland region. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to collect the required data. Results: Seven main factors were found to influence the book selection process: length; illustrations; subjects, concepts and themes; use of language; the potential for audience participation; the potential for emotional engagement and personal preference. Participants employed various strategies to assist them in finding suitable books. These included physical browsing, online browsing, searching the library catalogue and seeking recommendations. Toy and movable books and picture storybooks were popular with participants. Implications: The findings from this study may be of interest to librarians working with children in public libraries elsewhere in New Zealand. The results could potentially be used as a tool to guide and inform their storytime practices, and as a basis for training and development. A subsequent study involving content analysis could be undertaken at a later date, with a view to describing in detail the books shared with children during Preschool Storytime sessions.