Launching our new Online Storytime website 

Canberra, 2 February: A new, user-friendly website for Online Storytime has been launched today, marking the program’s second year. Featuring beautiful artwork from Australian illustrator Karen Blair the website is a rich resource for participating libraries, publishers and the general public, and has been made possible by funding from the Australian Government’s RISE Fund.

The website features a range of new functions to enhance the experience for all participants. Libraries can browse the covers and details of books that are part of the program, access resources and submit quarterly reports. Publishers can now upload new titles to be part of the program, access news and statistics. The general public can see the great books on offer and find links to purchase their favourites from storytime sessions.
Since its launch, Online Storytime has proved vastly popular and valuable for public libraries and their communities as we move through various stages of Covid-19, with thousands of Australian children and caregivers embracing the online reading of picture books by their local librarians in 2021. The program has been a game changer for children living in regional and remote Australia and those who face other barriers to attending in-person storytimes.
Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said Australian libraries play a crucial role in delivering literature to inspire, educate and entertain young minds.  
“In common with many other parts of the cultural and creative economy, COVID has been challenging for libraries, with in-person program having to be halted for significant periods,” Minister Fletcher said.
“That is why the Morrison Government was pleased to provide $327,000 from our RISE Fund to support the Australian Library and Information Association diversify its online engagement resources and capabilities.”  
“This Online Storytime website will connect families across the country to Australian library storytimes, whilst supporting Australian authors, illustrators and publishers access new audiences and revenue streams.”
Another initiative supported by the RISE Fund is a community grant scheme through which ALIA has made $100,000 of grant funding available to public libraries participating in the Online Storytime program. The first round of grants was hugely popular, with 37 library services in seven states and territories receiving grants to support their Online Storytime programming, including paying local authors and illustrators to participate in sessions, book promotion and marketing, collaborating with local Indigenous groups to translate readings into their language, purchasing new equipment and creating Storytimes with Auslan interpretation.
We encourage everyone to explore the Online Storytime website and see the exciting range of Australian content we have on offer, share the library storytime experience and support Australian books and reading. The Online Storytime program is supported with funding from the Australia Council and the Australian Government’s RISE Fund.   
Want to participate in Online Storytime for 2022? It’s easy! Simply head to the website to register and to find out more information.