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Christchurch City Libraries Storytimes goes live

Wednesday, April 29, 2020   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: resources, families, children, maori

Christchurch City Council Newsline: 28th April 2020

Digital Wā Kōrero is going live as Christchurch City Libraries hosts special online Storytimes sessions featuring several familiar library faces.

Underlining the importance of staying in touch with their local communities throughout the lockdown period, the children’s and community learning specialists are presenting a collection of stories> via the libraries website.

Librarians Andrea Lord, Nameeta Shekhar, Amy Chiles and Lindsey Melchers have already expanded their online presence, reading popular books for children as they host individual sessions from their own homes.

Christchurch City Council Head of Libraries and Information Carolyn Robertson says staff have been working on the project for several weeks, moving rapidly to create Digital Wā Kōrero.

“We quickly anticipated the need to provide virtual programmes as a way to maintain and develop engagement with our communities during self-isolation,” Ms Robertson says.

“Once the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa negotiated a copyright agreement regarding the use of the books, we were away.

“However, we went to Alert Level 4 so quickly, we did not get a chance to load up with resources, meaning that our presenters have had to raid their children’s bookshelves for entertaining stories.”

Ms Robertson says that the staff are making the most of the opportunity to learn new skills while working in a new environment and connecting with communities.

“We want to continue to reach out to our tamariki and ensure that they can still enjoy Storytimes during a time of uncertainty,” she says.

“It is important that children and families can see a familiar face from their local library, bringing some sense of normality.”

Supported by Tūranga’s media specialists, the librarians have been able to create professional recordings while working from home.

“Our presenters have faced plenty of on-the-job learning, often recording several times to avoid any bloopers,” Ms Robertson says.

“The out-takes include a husband bursting in during filming, a cat jumping into the scene and then meowing loudly and a presenter realising a button is undone during filming. However, the end result is wonderful, highlighting the integral role of community connections.”

Digital Wā Kōrero focuses on those aged over two, and Digital Wā Pēpi-Babytimes sessions are also in production. These will feature rhymes and songs to help families engage with their babies and toddlers. Work will continue on uploading more Wā Kōrero sessions.

Popular bicultural sessions – titled Ngā Pakiwaitara – are also under way online with Rochelle Paki.