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Online Storytime update

After two successful years, the Online Storytime program will come to a close at the end of 2022. The program was initiated in the unique situation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and library branch closures that followed. Now that we are in a different stage of the pandemic and most public library branches are open again, the need for the program has decreased.

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved for their participation, energy and contributions to the program over the last two years.

We appreciate that the program provided some libraries with new ways to connect with communities unable to travel to the physical library, and we hope that these connections will be maintained through hybrid programming.

You can now read the evaluation report of the program’s first year, looking into the program’s impact on library communities, library staff, publishers, authors and illustrators.


The Online Storytime program

In a non-COVID year, Australian libraries present more than 120,000 storytime sessions for pre-schoolers, attracting over 3 million attendees. Storytimes provide happy and lasting memories of the book that is featured but they’re much more than simply reading a story. They encourage audience participation and are often accompanied by a related activity, all delivered by the friendly, skilled local library team.

Online Storytime was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic halting in-person library programming, including storytimes and author talks. Libraries needed to move programs online and with the help of authors, illustrators and publishers, Online Storytime helped us do just that.

And it’s good for the book industry too. Library storytime ‘on-demand’ provides a marketing opportunity for children’s books and their authors that money can’t buy. More people are being exposed to Australian books, and children want to own and read a book that they have discovered and now love.

In its first year, Online Storytime strengthened book industry partnerships, engaged thousands of children and adults across the country and returned significant income to authors, illustrators and publishers.

Explore this website and find out about exciting opportunities including free online workshops, grants for libraries, new titles, regular news about children reading.

Open Your Heart to Country cover
Spinifex Mouse cover
The Imagineer cover
Open Your Heart to Country cover

‘Online Storytime has allowed us to take stories beyond our physical spaces. Through the ALIA program, we have been able to share the magic of books and reading with a much wider audience, and this has opened a world of possibilities for our storytimes.’

Liz Khater

City of Canada Bay Libraries, NSW

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Number of books bought by libraries for Online Storytime