National Simultaneous Storytime attracts ‘more than ever’ as libraries reopen
Social distancing restrictions did not reduce the number of participants who took part in National Simultaneous Storytime, with ‘more than ever’ joining the 2020 Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) event on Wednesday, 27 May.
ALIA’s director of events Christina Granata told Books+Publishing the annual event, which this year featured Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas by Lucinda Gifford (Scholastic), attracted almost 1.3 million participants at 14,469 locations throughout Australia and New Zealand, noting that the association also had registrations from Hong Kong, India, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Pakistan, PNG, Samoa, Singapore, the UK, US, Uruguay and Vanuatu.
Granata said that while ALIA doesn’t collect information on participants’ events, anecdotally ‘there seems to have been many physical events in schools’.
‘The restrictions did mean that we didn’t organise any high-profile physical events but provided a lot more videos and electronic resources,’ said Granata. ‘For the first time we had a live stream reading with the author [Gifford] from the Royal Children’s Hospital, which was streamed on Scholastic’s social media platforms, and the Governor-General’s event was also a live streamed reading.’
‘Restrictions haven’t had an impact on the numbers considering we have had more than ever but we have had an increase in individuals participating,’ she said. ‘We are getting a lot of photos and stories from parents and grandparents sharing the event with their children in isolation.’
Granata said ALIA would likely announce the 2021 National Simultaneous Storytime book in July.
Libraries in NSW, Victoria to open
Following many of their interstate counterparts, public libraries in New South Wales and Victoria can reopen from 1 June, albeit with social distancing measures in place, ALIA reports.
In NSW, libraries must ensure that the total number of staff, volunteers and visitors should not exceed one person per four square metres, while in Victoria libraries cannot allow more than 20 people in each separate space at any one time, providing the four square metre rule is adhered to.
The State Library of New South Wales will open on 1 June and the State Library Victoria will partially reopen on 15 June, ahead of the official opening on 27 June.
In other states and territories, the National Library of Australia in Canberra will open from 3 June, the State Library of Queensland’s Infozone remains open, and the library says ‘other spaces and services will gradually reopen over the coming weeks’, while the State Library of South Australia will reopen with limited hours from 9 June. In the Northern Territory, while public libraries have reopened, the Northern Territory Library has not yet confirmed an opening date, saying on its website it will ‘most likely’ reopen in July.
Several other states began reopening public libraries throughout May, and in states and territories where libraries have reopened social distancing restrictions apply. South Australian public libraries began reopening from 11 May, Queensland libraries from 15 May, Western Australian libraries, including the State Library of Western Australia, from 18 May, the ACT reopened three of its public libraries on 18 May, and in the Northern Territory public libraries reopened on 21 May. In Tasmania, libraries currently remain closed.