More than 155 hours of library storytimes available at home

More families than ever before are taking part in library storytimes, even during COVID-19 lockdowns. The Australian Library and Information Association’s Online Storytime 2021 pilot program has seen 150 library services posting storytime recordings to websites and social media platforms, thanks to special agreements with local publishers.

In a normal year, more than three million participants take part in the 120,000-plus storytimes which are held in libraries all around Australia. With Online Storytime, families that live too far away from the library or parents who work during the week can experience library storytime with their kids in their own lounge room.

ALIA has crunched the numbers and in early August we had 150 library services making recordings from more than 300 titles produced by 44 publishers. This has resulted in approximately 155 hours of content. That’s the equivalent of flying from Sydney to Paris and back again three times or watching 103 Disney movies.

The program is helping libraries maintain and grow connections with their communities through COVID-19 lockdowns, build employee skills and deliver reading and literacy opportunities beyond the library.

We have had some great feedback from participating libraries:

‘City of Canada Bay Libraries is one of many going through a second week of lockdown at the moment so having Online Storytime up has meant that we are able to maintain that service link with our community.” Canada Bay, NSW.

“This project is the best team building exercise that I have ever been involved in. Our whole library team participates. They have great fun choosing their books to read, they are all involved and extremely supportive of each other’s efforts. Several members of the community have expressed an interest and are excited about reading. Local children are very pleased to see their grandmothers, fathers and mothers reading online. Our business cards, with a QR code linking to the online stories, are being distributed around the community to families who do not normally participate in reading activities at the library or at home.” Narrogin, WA

Public libraries can still register to participate in this innovative literacy pilot scheme. If your library is based in NSW or SA your state library association has pledged to cover the costs, all you need to do is register. Contact  (email address removed).

Participants should have received their first Online Storytime newsletter last week. The major news for registrants is a free workshop coming up on 6 September at 1:00pm for a Top Tips and Tricks for Storytime Recording Workshop with children’s author and TV producer, Adrian Beck. Adrian will be sharing his hot tips for creating in-house Online Storytime recordings with hacks for lighting, sound and general production. This is the first of a series of workshops, panels and other benefits open to libraries and publishers participating in the program.

About the Australian Library and Information Association

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) is the professional organisation for the Australian library and information services sector.

With 5,000 members across Australia, we provide the national voice of the profession in the development, promotion and delivery of quality library and information services, through leadership, advocacy and mutual support.

For more information contact [email protected]