New virtual storytelling sessions are to continue throughout May following their initial success.
Durham County Council’s library service recently began teaming up with artists to create video recitals of popular stories and poems which children and their families can enjoy online.
The sessions are just one of many online services libraries in the county are offering, all free of charge, to help residents through the coronavirus pandemic.
The online sessions began in April and the first four have been viewed hundreds of times each so far.
On the back of that success, the library service has lined up four more, in partnership with theatre company for young audiences Kitchen Zoo – stars of two of April’s recordings, and North East actors Shelley O’Brien, from Mad Alice Theatre Company, and Stan Hodgson.
The classic tales, retold by regional artists, will go live on the council’s YouTube channel www.durham.gov.uk/youtubelibraryonline on the following days:
• Thursday 7 May: Kitchen Zoo reading The Jumblies by Edward Lear
• Thursday 14 May: Stan Hodgson reading his own version of The Lambton Worm
• Thursday 21 May: Kitchen Zoo reading The Boy who Cried Wolf
• Thursday 28 May: Shelley O’Brien reading The Magic Porridge Pot by Brothers Grimm
Cllr Joy Allen, the council’s Cabinet member for transformation, culture and tourism, said: “We started these story videos to give children and their families something to enjoy at home while the very necessary restrictions are in place to slow the spread of coronavirus.
“We’re thrilled that the first four have gone down so well and equally delighted to have four more to release in the coming weeks.
“I hope everyone really enjoys them.”
Shelley said: “I’m so excited to be telling this classic tale, it’s one of my all time favourites. Children can come and join the poor old farmer and his wife whose cupboards are bare and pockets are empty but whose happiness and good fortune is restored by a friendly and clever porridge pot! A wonderful classic story to be enjoyed by young and old.”
Stan added: “These stories are such a fun and important way of bringing people together. I’m delighted to be re-telling one of the North East’s most famous tales, children might even like to sing along too!”
All libraries in County Durham remain closed in response to government guidance on coronavirus.
People who are not already members of the library service can sign up at https://www.durham.gov.uk/libraryonline for free access to daily enewspapers, eMagazines and eComics.
Library Online also gives access to thousands of free eBooks and eAudiobooks online. Content can be downloaded online or via the Borrowbox app, which is available in the App Store and Google Play.
Library Online is also offering free online access to family history site Ancestry (Library Edition), through which members can browse historical documents and photographs plus local history, oral histories, indexes and other resources.