How libraries can promote engagement with Story Box Library
24 May 2021
Following our recent online PD event for public libraries, it was clear that our Story Box Library (SBL) family needed some fresh ideas on promoting SBL in their communities. We spoke with Chris Epple from our partner James Bennett, on how library communities across the country are making use of SBL in their libraries and encouraging patron use.
As Chris works directly with libraries, providing ongoing support in engaging patrons, he provided expert insights into how libraries are using SBL, integrating it into existing cataloguing systems, and getting library patrons excited about digital literacy.
“As the digital word continues to grow it is nice to see companies like Story Box Library create new and exciting ways to introduce stories and reading to children,” Chris says.
“Story Box Library have designed a platform that allows parents to introduce children to the world of literature in a fun and exciting way that also aids in developing reading and learning skills, be it through watching the stories, accessing closed captions, or participating in the Activity Time sessions attached to each story.”
“Some of the best ways to increase discoverability of Story Box Library is with the use of the free MARC records to discover via the OPAC and stickers to place on the print editions of titles available on Story Box Library,” Chris says.
With features such as closed-captioning, and soon to be released Auslan translations, SBL is improving accessibility, helping young library patrons access and watch a diverse range of stories. Through SBL, children who may otherwise not have opportunities to read, or would otherwise be disinterested, are introduced to a world of stories. Especially for children and families from diverse backgrounds and for whom English is not their first language, SBL provides vocabulary development opportunities.
“What I see as being one of the most valuable merits of Libraries offering Story Box Library to their patrons is that it allows parents who may not be confident readers or English isn’t their first language, to still introduce their children to reading and kick-start their journey to learning to read,” Chris says.
“We all know the value of learning to read at an early age and I am delighted to see Story Box Library as a resource that encourages this in a fun and engaging way for both young and old.”
SBL is pure edutainment. Providing children with high-quality stories and story reads, with dynamic storytellers, children can immerse themselves in learning and have fun while doing so. Chris encourages librarians to promote the digital literacy resource with families, as a key learning tool which combines diverse literature, with easy-to-use features and functions.
“Storytelling is where children first learn about the world around them,” Chris explains.
“SBL offers a range of themes that can be found through the filter tool so that parents can discover content on a particular theme or topic that they may wish to focus on, be it Courage, Friendship, Indigenous, Animals, or Christmas.”
Chris’ top tips for libraries promoting engagement with Story Box Library
Here are Chris’ top tips for librarians and library staff, to increase use of SBL with their patrons and improve confidence with digital literacy technologies.
Integrate MARC records to increase discoverability via the OPAC.
Place the SBL sticker on copies of the books featured on SBL, so that children and parents can access the same titles at home.
Hand out the colourful SBL bookmarks to patrons, which include instructions on how to get At Home Access, and are a nice reminder for staff and patrons.
Create a SBL reading list, using the Playlist feature.
Enquire with James Bennett for your unique direct login URL for your library service, improving ease of access.
Play SBL story reads in the library, as you set up activities, or in between story time.
Ensure closed-captioning is on while watching SBL stories, to ensure everyone can understand and engage with the stories.
One of Chris’ most memorable engagement strategies was via Shoalhaven Libraries in NSW, whose team created their own display that started with paw prints at the entry to the library, and led all the way to the children’s literature section.
To request a complete collection of SBL MARC data with monthly updates, or promotional bookmarks or stickers, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further ideas on how to maximise engagement with your SBL subscription, read about our features and benefits, available exclusively to active library subscribers.