Libraries Bring Storytime To Kids Stuck At Home Via Facebook Live Streams

Miss Kate
Photo credit Miss Kate (Gail Public Library)
By WBBM Newsradio 780 AM & 105.9 FM

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Public libraries across the state have been forced to close their doors due to COVID-19, but many are bringing the library into people’s homes.

“Before we’re library staff members, we’re people and we all want to be of service during this time period,” said Denise Raleigh, division chief of public relations and development at the Gail Borden Public Library District in Elgin. 

Thanks to the Gail Borden Public Library, families can enjoy storytime in English or Spanish and even learn a science experiment or two, all without ever leaving home. The library posts readings, science experiments and puppet shows to its Facebook page three times a day.

“The content is across the board and we’re really trying to touch different audiences, but what we’re parametered by is what people have in their homes,” said Raleigh.

She said the goal is to keep education on the forefront during the shelter-in-place and keep students engaged.

“We all know, all of the studies that show that a child who gets read to or a child who reads, there’s so much success that comes academically later in life," she said. 

And the community response has been incredibly positive, inspiring children to be creative.

“A person wrote that her daughter was inspired to make her own reading video after she saw Miss Katie," Raleigh said.

Miss Kate, a teacher with the program, read some short stories and performed some puppet shows on the library's Facebook Friday morning.

The Library at Home posts videos Monday through Friday and is taking public suggestions for more ideas.

Other institutions have turned to social media to keep sharing children storytime programs. The American Writers Museum in the Loop is delivering its weekly Little Squirrel reading events online. Every Saturday at 10:30 a.m., the museum will premiere three stories live on its Facebook page. Actors, musicians and broadcast personality are reading stories for children, including some of WBBM's own.