Canberra, 18 March 2020: Books Create Australia, the collaboration between the Australian Booksellers Association (ABA), the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), the Australian Publishers Association (APA) and the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) has announced a special arrangement for library storytimes during the COVID-19 outbreak.
For the duration of the pandemic, virtual storytimes will be sanctioned by an industry agreement. It is the policy of the Boards of the APA and ASA that their members suspend any requirements for copyright permission to be sought, in order to allow libraries to make recordings* or livestream storytimes so children aren’t denied this important and much-loved service.
To support libraries delivering storytimes online, ALIA, the APA and the ASA have made this joint statement:
'The Australian Publishers Association, the Australian Library and Information Association and the Australian Society of Authors share a common goal for all children to be able to enjoy books and stories from the earliest years. Library-run storytimes make this opportunity available to many families, including those without books at home.
'While the Copyright Act enables the performance of a picture book in some circumstances, the APA, the ALA, and ALIA are taking these steps to clarify any doubts. We value a safe environment, where libraries feel confident to adapt early literacy activities such as storytime for online delivery, via an open livestream or recording.
'It is the policy of the Australian Publishers Association and the Australian Society of Authors that its members allow such use without any need for specific permission or payment'.
The agreement on virtual storytimes follows on from earlier agreements between ALIA, the APA and the ASA about the delivery of library run storytimes outside library buildings, the use of book covers to promote books and authors, and copying of the pull-out elements of books so as to replace the originals which have been lost by other borrowers.
*All libraries may deliver their Storytime sessions online, through a digital platform, such as Facebook Video, Youtube, Vimeo.
Storytime may either be live streamed or a library may make available a recording of Storytime online, provided that the recording is non-downloadable to the public. If practicable, the live steam or recordings will be made available only to library patrons who have signed in to access their library’s website.
This policy is temporary and will remain in force whilst COVID-19 remains as a WHO-declared pandemic.
Once this period has ended, libraries agree to destroy all recordings, and take down any online recordings. Libraries agree to provide bibliographic details of the featured book with any published recording of Storytime, including the title, author, illustrator and publisher.