Our friends at Wake County Public Libraries are helping families bring their storybook characters to life during their much-anticipated annual Storybook Ball! This month seven regional libraries are transforming into a magical world of storybook fun and opening up their doors after hours for families to enjoy. Kiddos (ages 3 years and up) and parents can come dressed as their favorite storybook characters or don their royal best!
The Storybook Ball has been a popular library event with families for years with an evening of live music, dancing, classic games, storytimes, crafting and much more. See a listing of all Storybook Ball events this April and register your family HERE. (This is a free event. Registration is highly recommended.)
All Storybook Ball events are held on the designated Saturdays below from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
- Eva Perry Regional Library: April 6th
- West Regional Library: April 6th
- Northeast Regional Library: April 6th
- North Regional Library: April 6th
- Southeast Regional Library: April 13th
- East Regional Library: April 13th
- Cameron Village Regional Library: April 27th
Visit the WCPL Storybook Ball Facebook Event Page to stay up to date on all events.
The Storybook Ball: An Interview with Sally Baron, Youth Services Manager at North Regional Library
I had the absolute pleasure of talking all things Storybook Ball with Sally Baron, who has been the Youth Services Manager at North Regional Library since 1988 – 22 years this summer – and one of the creative masterminds behind the Storybook Ball. Sally has been a librarian since 1992 and been with Wake County Public Libraries since 1997 working with families and creating enriching library programs from Baby Storytimes to the Storybook Ball.
Sally shared that what she loves most about being a librarian is:
Knowing that the work we/libraries do enriches people’s lives. Seeing that enrichment firsthand every day is so rewarding. Corny as it sounds, it’s hard to have a bad day when you know you’ve made someone else’s better. People come in needing something and leave with more than they expected.
Sally Baron shared that the Storybook Ball originally began in 2009 at North Regional Library as The Princess Ball — a free alternative to a Daddy-Daughter dance in the Triangle area. As a mother, Sally was looking for a Daddy-Daughter Dance alternative for her family that was affordable. After a little brainstorming with fellow librarian, Stacy Hardee, they both were in agreement that other families were probably looking for the same unique family experience without the fancy expense. Out of this need, Sally and the North Regional Library staffed created The Princess Ball tailored to align with the Wake County Public Libraries’ mission statement: “To promote the love of reading and foster the pursuit of knowledge.”
It was 2009, and you may remember, Disney introduced Tiana, the first Black Disney princess. With this, we saw a renewed interest in princess books. Stacey and I continued to brainstorm, and The Princess Ball was born. It was a one-hour program in one room, while the library was open for regular business. My four-year-old daughter and my husband had a magical time. – – Sally Baron, Youth Services Manager at North Regional Library
As time progressed at North Regional Library the one hour Princess Ball grew to The Royal Ball in 2011, The Royal Fairytale Ball in 2012 to finally The Storybook Ball in 2013 – now celebrating its 10th year! Throughout the Storybook Ball’s transformation, the ball has always been centered around creating a family event that was inclusive and reaching all children with a variety of interests.
RMB: What has been your favorite Storybook Ball experience over the years?
Sally Baron: “There have been so many! One of my favorite things is seeing an entire family go all out and dress in a storybook theme. It’s priceless. My other favorite experience is sharing the special event with my own family for a decade! My children were 4 and 2 the first year. Now, my daughter dressed as Madeline and my son dressed as Harry Potter, work at the event as part of our Teen Leadership Program. My husband has helped from the beginning as well. He even built items for the event and for each library that has added the event.”
RMB: What will families experience this year at the Storybook Ball?
Sally Baron: “This year folks can expect a trendy, upbeat playlist in the dancing room (a.k.a. Ball Room); live steel drum music in the center of the library, lots of crafts, classic games, prizes and of course stories in our Storybook Jungle!”
RMB: Who your favorite storybook character?
Sally Baron: “I have to say Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems. They are beginning reader books, so there is very limited text on each page and lots of repetition. Despite this, the author manages to deliver a positive message, convey the value of friendship, and be hilarious at the same time. I don’t know how he does it, but it’s brilliant!”
Thank you to Sally Baron, Youth Services Manager at North Regional Library, for taking the time to share the enchanting tale behind Wake County Public Libraries’ Storybook Ball.
Add an enchanting and creative evening to your next family outing and attend one of WCPL’s Storybook Ball events this month.
Join our Facebook Live on Saturday, April 6th at 6:30 p.m. where we’ll be sharing all the live Storybook Ball fun from North Regional Library!
Photo Credit: Sally Baron, Youth Services Manager and North Regional Library