Miss Hannah: The Underwear Librarian

Oversize white cotton underwear can hold seven children. This is what Hannah Adamson discovered when she presented an underwear-themed story time to the Derby community. Adamson has been a member of the Derby Public Library Youth Services staff for over five years and has led the Preschool Storytime program for a year. By incorporating books, songs, flannel stories, and interactive iPad games into her program, Adamson has increased attendance and inspired young children to think, create, and explore.

Her story time reached a new creative level when she thought of the underwear. Having discovered numerous pictures books with an underwear theme, Adamson decided to try something different. The response to this idea was unprecedented.

What was the underwear-themed story time like?

We read books related to underwear, danced to a song about getting dressed, and watched an adaptation of The Emperor’s New Clothes. The best part of the story time was using a giant, novelty pair of underwear. We read a book called One Big Pair of Underwear by Laura Gehl and had the kids step into the underwear together. We talked about colors, sharing, taking turns, and counting.

How did you become the “underwear librarian”?

Miss Hannah leads a story time with children’s books that feature underwear, and sees how many children can fit in the giant pair of underwear.

I presented at the Kansas Librarian Association conference in Wichita and briefly mentioned the story time to the audience. Librarians were thrilled to hear this idea. Later when I went to the Scholastic books table, the representative said they had sold out of Laura Gehl’s book. People were calling me the underwear librarian! It was great. Sometimes I worry that my ideas are too silly, but I think story time should be fun and conceal the fact that we’re teaching early literacy skills.

What would you recommend to parents who are trying to engage their children in reading? How would reading about underwear be helpful?

Children’s librarian Hannah Adamson holds up the giant pair of underpants that can hold seven children.

Reading a picture book takes five to ten minutes. You can use something as silly as underwear to show your children how fun reading can be. Reading interactive books like the ones about underwear can start a conversation with your child. Ask about the colors of the underwear they have. Use the books to talk about potty training.  It’s okay if they don’t sit still. Just keep at it. You’ll be building skills and creating lasting memories.

Miss Hannah recommends:

  • One Big Pair of Underwear by Laura Gehl
  • Vegetables in Underwear by Jared Chapman
  • Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera
  • No! That’s Wrong! by Zhaohua Ji and Cui Xu
  • Toca Tailor Dress-Up App

Preschool Story Time is on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 10 AM.