Guess what some parents like to do besides bring babies to bars? They take them to the library for toddler time—and at one Upper East Side branch, some have actually created counterfeit tickets. The Post exposed the frenzy at the Webster Library (York near East 78th) yesterday, "The matinee story time every Wednesday at the NYPL's Webster branch is so popular with toddlers that organizers had to switch to a color-coded ticket system because desperate mommies and nannies had started counterfeiting the numbered tickets."
The problem: Toddler time is only open to 20 tots (who get a plus one—their parent or nanny). One mother complained, "This is the second week in a row. How early do I have to get here?" when she was turned away last week. Apparently the in-the-know adults wait 90 minutes before toddler time, in hopes of getting a coveted entrance ticket, which are handed out 30 minutes before the program. Why? Perhaps it's because librarian Kristy Raffensberger's "spirited renditions of the 'Hello Song' and 'Three Blind Mice' bring down the house, and her interpretation of the kiddie book 'Potato Joe' somehow manages to enthrall even the most terrible 2-year-old."
Gayle Snible of the New York Public Library tells us, "It's true. The hottest ticket in town is a FREE storytime. The Webster branch does indeed have a happening Toddler Story Time, and the line is amazing. It shows that parents and nannies know the importance of planning activites with their children and that reading to them, at this young age, improves their language and literacy skills. The New York Public Library has Baby Story Times, Toddler Story Times, Preschool Story Times, and Reading Aloud (for children K-6) at many of its branches, and most of our popular programs do not have wait lines as long as Webster's!"
Unfortunately, the attention on toddler time at the Webster Library has made things worse—Snible adds that a Webster branch staffer says the line seems even longer today (there were 11:15 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. toddler time programs) with many new faces. Check out the NYPL's website or latest issue of the NYPL's Roar! (PDF) for various story times around town.