Virtual virtuosos–and much more–from the Fumo Family Branch

The Free Library system is offering online programming during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The last few weeks have spawned many changes in the world, causing us to look for different ways to remain connected to people and places that make a difference in our lives. For many Philadelphians, especially those in South Philly, the Free Library is one such comfort provider. To connect with its patrons, the system is offering virtual versions of its customary in-person programs, with the Fumo Family Branch, 2437 S. Broad St., among the most eager to keep in touch.

“It’s certainly not been the easiest period of time, but there’s always hope, and that’s something that books will always teach us,” noted John Crimmins, the children’s librarian at the Lower Moyamensing location.

Each Tuesday since March 24, he has taken to Facebook Live at 10 a.m. for Mr. John’s Storytimes, continuing what had become a staple at Fumo until the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of all branches. Crimmins reads up to six books per 30-minute session, complemented with finger plays and songs. The storytimes cater to an audience of children three years of age and younger, but Crimmins adds, “Even if older children join their siblings, that’s great, too, because they can then model the content once we’re done.”

Crimmins elected to hold the virtual experiences to reinforce a sense of normalcy and structure. Maintaining that for others has helped him to do it for himself, too. The same goes for Abbe Klebanoff, Fumo’s branch manager. Klebanoff connects with the community on Facebook during Monday’s 10 a.m. mindful meditation sessions. She also post resources, fun activities for adults and children, and “everything in between.”

The Fumo Branch storytime sessions, plus other content, can also be found on their YouTube Channel. Or check out the links below provided to us by the branch.

These efforts are a part of a larger movement by the Free Library to keep patrons engaged as we hope for the end of the pandemic. “I make sure to present reassuring material to the children,” said Crimmins, “I always use ‘I’ll see you soon’ as my sendoff because I believe that and look forward to reconnecting with everyone.”

Here’s a list of links to the Fumo Branch videos on YouTube:

Mr. John reads stories and sings songs:


Music and Movement with Mr. Ray:


Chair Yoga with Janet:


Stop Motion Animation Challenge:

The Fumo Family Library is challenging you to make a Stop Motion Animation Video. Click on this link for a wonderful How To: Then post your video on their Facebook page for all to see!


The library’s Teen Workers tell Jokes:


The library’s after school leader reads children’s poems: