TULSA, Okla. — Storytime is a powerful way to get kids excited about books. The Tulsa City-County Library reports nearly 26,000 children attended its "Build A Reader Storytimes" in the year leading up to the pandemic. While those storytimes went virtual for a while, they're now back in person.
One of the most popular storytimes around is led by Paul Sheckarski, or Mr. Paul as he's known by Tulsa's tiniest bookworms.
For 15 years Mr. Paul's led dynamic, energetic storytimes at Hardesty Regional Library. The University of Tulsa Graduate double majored in English and Performing Arts, so this job is the best of both worlds.
"Getting to talk about books, and perform them as well, it's a dream come true," says Sheckarski.
Books, songs, grins, and giggles fill the room with 30 minutes of magic. The hope is that this time together leads to a lifelong love of reading.
"I want the children to be excited about reading books and hearing stories and telling their own stories, and I want parents to leave feeling empowered to read books aloud to their kids too," says Sheckarski.
While smaller kids mainly attend these free sessions, Mr. Paul makes sure the bigger kids are bookmarked too. He's currently launching a middle school book club.
"To have seen a lot of these kids grow up and continue to come to the library and use our resources, that's very powerful to me," says Sheckarski.
The Library just released another resource for all ages with its new "Build A Reader" app.
"We film Librarian storytellers from all over the city singing songs and doing finger play, and classic and new stuff too," says Sheckarski.
The Tulsa City-County Library reaches readers on screen and once again in person.
"Being back in the room and getting to have kids ask questions in the moment and respond, there's just an energy there that there's nothing like it," says Sheckarski.
You can catch Mr. Paul's storytimes on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. at the Hardesty Regional Library. If those times don't work for you, the Library offers dozens of other storytimes around the area.
The Library also plans to resume its summer programming with lots of free family-focused shows and activities. Look for that to be coming out soon.