I've been a Flannel Fridayer since the beginning, and it has had an amazing impact on my professional development and on my career in general. My desire to continue participating in Flannel Friday has led to me continually trying to outdo myself. I always want to step my game up for storytelling. I started doing felt and magnet boards. Now I've tried making my own shadow puppets and writing my own draw and tell stories. I'm happier because I love being creative and trying new things. My storytime families love seeing something different too.
I have learned a lot about using social media for professional purposes too. Way back in 2011, we started the Flannel Friday Pinterest boards, almost by accident. Now that account has over 4,000 followers! I love that we are reaching librarians, daycare providers, preschool teachers, and students who are interested in working in these fields. Most importantly, people are being inspired to introduce storytelling to the children in their communities. I see a lot of job ads in youth services that are looking for skills in the social media arena, and being involved in Flannel Friday is a great way to develop your resume.
Flannel Friday is a fun marriage of traditional storytelling and contemporary communication. We have people who have used iPhone/iPad apps in their storytimes, and then we have people who stick to felt. I love the combination of the tactile experience for the kids of touching the felt while also appealing to the 21st century love of gadgets. I am very curious to see what the future holds for digital storytelling.
On a personal level, I have made a lot of friends through the Flannel Friday group. I am so excited to get together with them in Chicago for ALA this summer. I have been able to celebrate many successes (my own and those of others) with some very incredible people. I have been able to work through some of my frustrations as well to the most sympathetic of ears.