Story Box Library (SBL) is designed to complement existing library services; from free storytimes to book clubs and school holiday events, you can show SBL stories on any screen in your library! Eleni Tsakiris, the Children and Young Adult Learning Librarian from Willoughby City Library in New South Wales, spoke to our team about how she has been using our digital resource and additional features with her community, improving learning, reading and literature engagement.

In what ways do you feel digital resources like SBL benefit the needs of families in your community?

With the wealth of digital media available to young children these days it can often be tricky for parents/carers to find good quality, engaging and freely available digital resources they can trust. I think resources like SBL, provide peace of mind to families that they are engaging with Australian-made, high quality, educational resources.

What is a good example of a children's program with a hybrid delivery, using both in library and digital resources?

Willoughby Library played two SBL videos (There’s No Such Thing by Heidi McKinnon and The Unscary Book by Nick Bland) during our online Halloween Storytime, just after lockdown last year. The expertly-presented and engaging videos added variety and interest to our program of interactive, librarian-led stories and craft activities. Similarly, at a face-to-face end of Summer Reading Challenge awards presentation, a screening of a SBL video (The Imagineer by Christopher Cheng) was an exciting and fitting introduction to a creative craft-making session.

How have digital resources encouraged community engagement with your library overall? 

Digital resources like SBL have allowed us to stay connected and serve our community, especially during the lockdown periods. SBL also allows access to popular picture books (such as those on the CBCA selection lists) when our physical copies are out on loan. Similarly, we have been actively promoting SBL as an option for access to Premiers Reading Challenge (PRC) titles when our physical stocks are running low. Some of our Storytime children have even come to recognise the fun and colourful SBL characters (Edna, Madge, Ernie and Boris) thanks to the lovely promotional stickers we have handed out at our Storytime sessions.

What positive outcomes do digital resources now play to complement your library programs and events, connecting your community with your services?

In a 2019 report by The International Literacy Association, it was noted that “growing evidence suggests…[the] meaningful use of high-quality digital resources is essential in preparing all young children for long-term academic success” (Newark, D.E.), so I feel resources like SBL can be wonderful tools to support the learning of young children. As a librarian serving children and their families, I know I have a great resource on hand to recommend to members (or even entice non-members to join with). The way the stories in SBL are sorted (by themes and length etc) has even been helpful for us, when we have planned our own Storytimes.

Contact us here if you’d like to use Story Box Library in a community event, or have any other queries about community events involving our service.

Find out more from librarians and library staff using Story Box Library in their community to engage and inspire, via our regular blog article features spotlighting libraries, including: