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About Online Storytime

In 2021 the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) began piloting a scheme where publishers can permit the use of their Australian picture book titles for storytime recordings in return for a small annual payment from public library branches.

The pilot follows the popularity of Online Storytime in Australian public libraries during the COVID-19 pandemic, where Australian children and caregivers embraced the online reading of picture books by their local librarians.

Since the start of the program, hundreds of recordings have been made and viewed, not only benefiting families with pre-schoolers, but also the Australian authors, illustrators and publishers who receive financial reward direct from Online Storytime and hopefully enjoy an increase in book sales. 

News and Reports

The Online Storytime team regularly publishes newsletters for participating libraries and publishers. They contain news, events, author Q&As, giveaways and celebrate excellent examples of Online Storytime recordings made by the community. Click on the links below to access past issues



Newsletter issue 1


Newsletter issue 2

‘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.’



We have tracked the program from the start and these quarterly reports provide a full picture of the take up from libraries, publishers, authors and illustrators. 


Read the first quarter report 2021


Read the second quarter report 2021


Read the third quarter report 2021


Read the first quarter report for 2022


Read the second quarter report for 2022


Read the third quarter report for 2022

There is an elist for libraries and publishing partners

Funded initiatives

ALIA received generous contributions from the Australian Government RISE Fund and the Australia Council in 2021 to support further development of Online Storytime in 2022. This funding is being used to:

  • Build community and develop skills through workshops and events linking libraries with creators and supporting libraries to create Online Storytime sessions with practical training and professional development.
  • Provide small grants to library subscribers of up to $10,000.
  • Produce two new Australian picture books by First Nations creators in partnership with Magabala Books, with a launch planned for September 2022.
  • Carry out a full evaluation of the Online Storytime program to be published in February/March 2022.
  • Produce marketing materials for participating libraries to use to promote their participation in the program.
  • And to create this website.

We would like to acknowledge that this work has only been possible because of the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund – an Australian Government Initiative, and that this project has also been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.