Digital Libraries are Open....And we love them for it.
Libraries are no longer able to provide a physical space but their online game is strong. They are bringing you activities, storytimes and competitions to keep the kids (and adults) entertained.
Monika from Tupu Youth Library keeping 'Wriggle and Rhyme' alive and well.
When the lockdown kicked in and libraries had to close, many families were left short of our regular space to hang and our supply of reading material. While libraries can no longer provide a physical space for people to access information, they have risen to the challenge during these COVID-19 times and are providing Facebook storytimes, online reading material, and more. Most libraries made the switch from providing information and support in a physical space to an online space very quickly – some were up and running the very next day.
Most libraries made the switch from providing information and support in a physical space to an online space very quickly – some were up and running the very next day.
Libraries are using Facebook and their websites to keep in touch with their patrons, provide support, humour, important information, and support for parents at home with restless and bored kids, or just for the parents themselves. Many of us have seen the screeds of advice about how to homeschool your kids during lockdown. If you are lucky, you may have also seen posts about chilling out and, if needs be, parking the kids in front of Netflix for a few hours if that is what it takes to get some peace and quiet to get your own work done.
Libraries around Aotearoa are offering some of their regular services, like storytime, albeit virtually, as well as information on online learning, and just a raft of stuff that is ‘somewhat educational’ but mostly entertaining, so the kids can be kept busy and parents can grab a cuppa. Many libraries have stuff for adults too, so you can access book groups, ebook and emag resources as well.
Libraries around Aotearoa are offering some of their regular services, like storytime, albeit virtually...
Here is an incomplete list of libraries with cool stuff for kids available now:
If the kids are missing their regular ‘wriggle and rhyme’ session at the local library, check out Tupu Youth Library. These amazing librarians are still running ‘wriggle and rhyme’ from their own bedrooms and lounges and you can catch them every Wednesday at 10.30am. They are also using their page to promote the homework support page 'anyquestions', so kids can log on between 1–6pm any weekday and ask homework questions themselves.
If the kids are missing their regular ‘wriggle and rhyme’ session at the local library, check out Tupu Youth Library.
Other libraries are asking, what better way to keep kids busy than LEGO? Hamilton Libraries have an amazing LEGO challenge, with a different challenge every day, like “Build a scene from your favourite story.” They have also continued their staff storytime, and have a dedicated kids page so you don’t need to scroll through their posts when desperate for a story to keep the kids occupied!
The Hamilton Libraries Lego Challenge
Palmerston North Library also has a dedicated kids page, Children at PN City Library, where they run everything from ‘LibLab’ which is described as “Library fun with a touch of madness and book experimentation”, to storytimes and links to their online resources for kids. Their site is very well laid out and easy to access, they have sections like ‘explore’, ‘read and draw’, ‘create’ and ‘watch and sing’ and links to lots of New Zealand content, like the DOC kids page, Heihei, RNZ storytime and more.
Palmerston North Library also has a dedicated kids page, where they run everything from ‘LibLab’ which is described as 'Library fun with a touch of madness and book experimentation', to storytimes.
Many libraries have adapted storytime to be live from your living room, and Dargaville library has Storytime for kids every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2pm on their Facebook page, with links to stories read by authors and illustrators. No need to worry if you miss it, because they also have a website that has information about how to access their online resources, links to storytimes, activities, science podcasts, museum tours, meditation for kids, and story pages. While you need to be an online library patron to access their apps and ebooks, the links to stories and activities are available to anyone. They are also doing online book reviews at the request of patrons.
Dargaville library has Storytime for kids every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2pm on their Facebook page, with links to stories read by authors and illustrators.
The digital library is also open at Te Manawa Library and while some of the Auckland Librarians have been deployed to assist with emergency services, others are still running a fully functioning online service. They are also running Storytime from their living rooms and have ‘Life Inside My Bubble: An Online Photo Competition'.
With Storytimes like this no longer possible, Te Manawa have gone online and the librarians are reading from their living rooms.
These are just a selection of some of the amazing things the librarians of Aotearoa are bringing you online, please check out your own library and see what they are up to. Some of the online apps for ebooks and emags are only available to patrons of the specific libraries, but many libraries have opened up their membership to allow you to join online and access the eresources. While most of the resources libraries promote are open to anybody, they are doing a fantastic job of curating them, much like they do at their physical libraries. Perfect for the uncertain weeks ahead.
Simie Simpson (Te Ati Awa) has worked in the New Zealand book industry for almost two decades, as a librarian, a sales manager for Walker Books New Zealand and a bookseller. She has a Diploma in Publishing from Whitireia. She was a judge for the 2019 NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults and the 2019 NZ Booksellers Industry Awards. She is on the board of queer literary festival, Samesame but Different. Her day job includes a monster mash of acquisitions, editing, design, comms and promotions.