Children will soon be able to enjoy County Durham library service’s popular storytelling sessions in the comfort of their own homes.
The Durham County Council service entertains youngsters by laying on sessions in libraries at which authors and others recite popular stories and poems.
With the council’s libraries and some schools currently closed until further notice due to the coronavirus, the service will soon be taking the sessions into children’s homes, via the worldwide web.
The authority has arranged for a series of audio recordings of stories and poems to be put together by Kitchen Zoo, a North East company which creates theatre for young audiences, and County Durham artist Ruth Mary Johnson.
These recordings will soon be broadcast via the council’s YouTube channel for children to enjoy in their own homes.
The broadcasts will take place on Thursdays at 2pm, with the programme as follows:
9 April – Chicken Licken, read by Ruth.
16 April – The Owl and the Pussycat, read by Kitchen Zoo
23 April – The Three Bears, by Kitchen Zoo
30 April – Aesop’s Fables, by Ruth
Cllr Joy Allen, the council’s cabinet member for transformation, culture and tourism, said: “The storytelling sessions have always proved really popular with children and a great activity for parents to enjoy with them.
“With the libraries and some schools currently closed, we are trying to offer as many of our services online as we possibly can and we’re really pleased to have been able to team up with Kitchen Zoo and Ruth Mary Johnson to continue delivering the storytelling sessions in this way.
“We’re confident children, and their mums and dads, will really enjoy their take on stories like the Owl and the Pussycat and The Three Bear and the joy of these recordings going online is that youngsters can listen to them whenever they want.”
Hannah Goudie-Hunter (pictured), who along with Bob Nicholson makes up Kitchen Zoo, said: “We are thrilled to be asked to be part of Durham County Council’s story project.
“Myself and Bob are huge lovers of listening to, sharing and creating stories. Whether we are giggling along to the nonsense poems of Edward Lear or curling up in a blanket and repeating a familiar nursery rhyme, stories are part of us and something that we feel very passionate about. We took great pleasure in reading as we grew up and love being able to take our turn and share some of our favourite stories with children now.”
Ruth added: “As a theatre maker, I can wholeheartedly say that I have learnt so much of my craft from community audiences across County Durham. For the last seven years making family theatre shows that have toured to community venues across the county, each audience has taught me something about how to tell a story.
“This time last year we toured Chicken Licken: a Tale Jam in partnership with Durham County Council and Gala Theatre all over the county and this was one of my proudest moments: inviting audiences to help us tell my most favourite story.
“Whether you came to see the show or not, you can now listen to the songs from the show along with our version of the story and you can decide on how the story will end!”
The stories will be added to www.durham.gov.uk/youtubelibraryonline on the dates and times above.
County Durham libraries offer a range of resources for residents of all ages to enjoy, free of charge, at home. People who are not already members can sign up at www.durham.gov.uk/libraryonline for access to daily newspapers, 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.
Cllr Allen added: “Our collection of eBooks offer people the chance to enjoy best sellers by the likes of Stephen Fry and Bill Bryson either the conventional way or by listening to an audio version. In some cases the stories are even read by the authors themselves.”