Kids and teens can visit the library without ever leaving home.
The Okanagan Regional Library offers kids and teens a broad array of virtual resources, including virtual story times delivered by youth services librarians, such as Salmon Arm Youth Services Librarian Ardie Burnham, and assistants at Kelowna, Salmon Arm and Vernon library branches.
The Salmon Arm youth services librarian immediately began to explore how to continue programming for kids when the ORL shut down in mid-March. Initially, she thought the library could possibly use recorded programs – it would be better than nothing at all. But Burnham, thanks to a virtual meeting she attended with friends, immediately considered the possibility of virtual programming.
“I was invited to a Zoom meeting with friends and that’s when I discovered that virtual, live programs might be a possibility,” said Burnham.
“I worried the program would not be as good as a real life connection but I felt it was important to continue to provide programs that helped build early preliteracy skills. When I saw the faces of my story time families, it was almost as good as seeing them in person.”
She also found that virtual technology actually makes it easier to record stories and songs without an audience present.
Story time programming, and other virtual programs, are recorded and available through two Youtube channels the ORL created. Other virtual programs include Picture Book Read-A-Louds created and presented by Vernon Youth Services Librarian Stephanie Thoreson and Songs and Rhymes by Youth Collections Librarian Ashley Machum.
“Providing fun ways to learn is even more important in this difficult time for families,” said Thoreson.
“We have been working on our own e-resources, creating challenges for kids to do at home and searching the internet for links to share. Story time is always good for pre-literacy skills and promotes a love of reading. Now it also serves to help children feel connected and have a sense of normalcy by seeing the staff from their local libraries keeping up their routines.”
Children can attend live virtual Story Times with library staff on Zoom. The schedule is available at http://orl.evanced.info/signup/Calendar.
“This is all built to help you and your little ones make the most of the stay-at-home days,” said ORL Communications Director Michal Utko.
All of these online resources can be found at https://www.orl.bc.ca/elibrary/online-resources. A library card, or pass, is all you need to access all the ORL online resources. And if you do not have a card, you can get one for free.
“I hope our new methods of sharing Story Time and other events will help us reach new audiences too, who might have struggled to physically get to the library,” said Thoreson.
Peter Critchley is with the Okanagan Regional Library, Vernon branch
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