Creativity for Sale?

A co-worker and I were preparing for the new session of storytimes coming up. She mentioned that she had been looking on the Internet for a while for a flannelboard pattern where kids add feathers to a turkey’s tail. Turns out, we already had just such a flannelboard made from a pattern from a book. My co-worker commented that it was “exactly what she was looking for” and was frustrated by trying to find similar materials on the Internet.

I, too, find that it can be difficult to find planning materials for storytime on the Internet. Of course, there are no end to storytime websites, including Bayviews, The Best Kids Book Site, and the newest offering from Hennepin County: ELSIE.

But storytimes are about more than books. They may also include rhymes, songs, fingerplays, flannelboards, crafts, games and music. These elements can be harder to find online. Finding flannelboards and crafts that are of high quality can be even harder. Because the truth remains that it can be hard to make money from your ideas when you make them freely available on the web, but people are generally reluctant to pay for web content. The best way to get credit (and benefit financially) from your ideas is to put them in a book. However, I never think to look for rhymes or flannelboards in books anymore.

I do use DLTK for crafts and the occasional flannelboard, and I have found some rhymes on The Best Kids Book Site, but I wonder if other have any good ideas for flannelboards, rhymes or crafts.

This also brings up a bit of the arguement about creative commons and copyright. If a person has a talent, they deserve to be recognized for that talent and, in many cases, compensated.  My talent as a singer is a commodity. I choose to donate my talent or use it in return for compensation. It seems however that there is a stigma in the library world against those who expect to be compensated for their abilities.

I am, of course, a fan of the creative commons and of the open source movement. But sometimes I pause before I put my ideas up on a listserv, thinking “what if I put these ideas into a book and made some money off of them instead of just giving them away?” Is there still a market for books containing storytime ideas? Should these ideas be freely available on the internet, even if it affects the quality of ideas available? What do people think?



  1. funfelt said,

    November 2, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Have you seen the flannelboard stories from Story Time Felts? I linked to it in my name. 🙂

    I can see where you are coming from. The internet sure has changed things hasn’t it, not always for the best! I think if people can put their ideas online and find a way to monetize them, say by putting them on a blog that also sells something else or has paid ads, it would be great. Or convert the book to an ebook and charge $5 to download, I am finding a lot of people wouldn’t mind doing that. Honestly I am more about the convenience of the internet than the ‘free’ part so if someone can find a way to make a little as well as share with more people, it could be a win-win!

  2. November 2, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    To be honest, I think most of the storytime ideas in books are bad. I’ve found wiki’s, e-mails to other libraries, e-mail lists, and other online sources for storytimes more helpful. Every once in a while i find a gem in a book, but I do not run out for the latest storytime books. I feel they are a bit old fashioned, and I like a more modern storytime – I am anti-Raffi and pro-Laurie Berkner. I honestly would rather find the ideas on the Internet, and would never expect to be paid outside of my library paycheck for storytime and programming ideas.

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