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Family fun

01st Apr 2020

Irish public libraries, publishers and writers have partnered up for virtual storytimes


Irish public libraries, publishers and writers have partnered up for virtual library storytimes across the country.

The new initiative will provide another valuable resource for families as libraries and schools remain closed to the public during the Covid-19 pandemic. It will be alongside the online services already provided by libraries such as eBooks, eAudiobooks, and access to online learning resources on and

Spring into Storytime is the name of libraries’ annual celebration of families reading together – and this year, they’re planning to highlight the incredible work of Irish authors, inviting everyone to #LoveIrishWriting.

While the libraries themselves may be closed, people are encouraged to celebrate great Irish writing with the librarians online rather than at their local branch.

So, how does it work?

The initiative’s Irish publisher partners an the Irish Writers Union have agreed temporarily to waive licence fees for the reading of certain books and posting or streaming videos online.

So, librarians will stream storytime sessions or post them online on their social media channels, and these videos will remain online while library buildings are closed.

The Irish publishers who have signed up are:

  • The O’Brien Press
  • Mercier Press
  • Little Island Books
  • Gill Books
  • Futa Fata
  • Leabhar Breac
  • An Gúm
  • Cló Iar-Chonnacht
  • Cois Life
  • LeabhairCOMHAR

Tom Enright, Wexford County Council Chief Executive and Chair of the Libraries Development Committee said that he welcomes the partnership between public libraries and Irish publishers and writers.

“I thank them for their generosity in waiving licence fees at this time to facilitate virtual storytimes. Libraries provide so many vital services for Irish families, which are appreciated now more than ever before,” he added.

“Our library staff are eager to serve their communities in whatever way they can. We know this is a challenging time for families and we hope that virtual storytime, as well as all the other online services libraries provide, continue to be of value to all our members, from younger to older.”

“Books and stories are more important than ever in these uncertain times. Libraries are a fantastic resource for the whole community, and Ireland’s writers and publishers are delighted to help them to continue to reach the widest possible audience with great Irish stories, both in English and Irish, even when their physical buildings are closed,” Ivan O’Brien, Managing Director of The O’Brien Press and board member of Publishing Ireland said.

“Ireland is fortunate in having a wonderful tradition of writing for children and of publishing books that lift young imaginations into fantastic journeys, daring adventures and moving encounters. Such tales are much needed just now,” Lissa Oliver, Chairperson of the Irish Writers Union said.

“Libraries have always been portals to the vast range of stories from Ireland and around the world and we admire our colleagues and friends in the libraries who at this time are looking to maintain that role through broadcasting their readings online. The Irish Writers Union are proud to be associated with this initiative, which will help entertain children through storytelling while respecting the copyright of the author.”

Follow your local library service’s social media channels or Libraries Ireland’s Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages to find out when storytimes in your area will be uploaded. Visit www.librariesireland.iefor more information.