Today, as a part of Library and Information Week in Australia, the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) runs an annual event called National Simultaneous Storytime, in which at 11am on a day in May (this year it’s today, 21 May 2014), children all around Australia are read the same story at the same time.
According to the ALIA website, in 2013 over 430,000 children at over 2,500 events participated in National Simultaneous Storytime with guest storytellers from all walks of life, ranging from local librarians and teachers, right through to the then Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard. You can check out the Storify from last years event for photos from around Australia.
Every year a picture book, written and illustrated by an Australian author and illustrator is read simultaneously in libraries, schools, pre-schools, childcare centres, family homes, bookshops and many other places around the country.
By facilitating National Simultaneous Storytime we aim to;
- promote the value of reading and literacy;
- promote the value and fun of books;
- promote an Australian writer and publisher;
- promote storytime activities in public libraries and communities around the country;
- provide opportunities to involve parents, grandparents, the media and others to participate in and enjoy the occasion.
NSS receives positive media coverage, generates a great deal of community interest and is held annually as part of Library and Information Week.
There seems to be genuine excitement generated by this event, with countdown clocks and costumes. It places libraries front and centre not by just saying ‘libraries are great’ but by uniting people from across the country in a shared experience: connected by books and libraries.
So, what do you think:
Have you taken part before or will you join in this year?
If you’re not from Australia, is there a similar event in your country or region?