Developed for children aged 8 to 10 years old to encourage the love of reading, Mount Gambier Library has chosen Story Box Library (SBL) titles for kids to read from home, via their Children’s Online Book Club. Making the most of the SBL features, the team at Mount Gambier have created a dedicated playlist, where patrons can find stories quickly and easily. The city of Mount Gambier is located halfway between major cities Melbourne and Adelaide, and The Mount Gambier Library sits right in the centre of the city.

Kelly Lynch, Children’s and Youth Services Coordinator, works within their small team to deliver library programs, events and services to children and young adults alike. Kelly spoke to SBL about how Mount Gambier integrates SBL into their library programs, encourages a love of reading in kids of all ages, and benefits the community to grow and connect.

“The programs delivered as part of the Mount Gambier Library Children’s and Youth Services aim to engage participants to be connected community members,” Kelly said.

“Many programs have unique aims and outcomes, but overall Mount Gambier Library programs develop community wellbeing, providing access to resources to enable the community to learn and develop.”

Despite lockdowns and restrictions from covid-19 impacting access to patrons visiting the library building, Kelly and the team at Mount Gambier have swiftly pivoted programs to suit community needs, introducing programs such as the Children’s Online Book Club, among others. Using SBL to complement existing services has helped librarians and library staff continue to encourage families and children to read and learn from home, and get excited about literature. Their Children’s Online Book Club allows kids to review and rate books, and go into the draw to win monthly prizes, providing incentives for learning and reading.

“Remote learning options have been amplified and with more prompting of the platform's variety of content this will extend learning even more,” Kelly said.

“Story Box Library has improved access to quality literature through content updates and options in viewing content from reading to animation and activities that extend the meaning of the books.

“Plus, we receive analytics for the library, so the library gets data on what their customers are reading and when.”

Kelly finds digital options for learning, such as the online platform offered by SBL, creates more exciting opportunities for children to read and engage, where they may have otherwise not been interested in hard copies of books, or visiting the library.

“Digital platforms are part of the same instant access modes that children are used to, so speaking the same language, and allowing children to access reading in this similar way is going to speak to them best.”

Using the recently updated SBL promotional resources available for public libraries, upskilling all library staff with the features and functions of SBL, and using a custom QR code to help patrons login quickly and easily, SBL has been making reading books more engaging to families and children. 

“We have enjoyed additional content and promotional aspects of Story Box Library, as each development has been user friendly and library relevant,” Kelly explained.

“We’ve found the benefits of utilising Story Box Library are ease of access to an array of quality books, there is no transport required to get children to the library to borrow a book, availability of certain books, meaning the book is ready to read when the child wants to, and children can be self-sufficient in their learning venture.”

Kelly is proud of her library, community, and the important role it plays in everyone’s health, wellbeing and community connections. The library programs reflect the community needs, and the team aim to reach all members regardless of location. She explained, “Over the past 10 years more than four million people have walked through the doors at the Mount Gambier Library.

“Staff have sung, bounced, danced and read to more than 65,000 under five year olds and loaned more than 3.8 million items.

“The programs at the Mount Gambier Library are influenced by this city profile through the amount of and range of programs we offer throughout the year, as we need to be able to engage all segments of the community and meet all needs.”