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Online Storytimes: Creation & Editing Tools

Online Storytime at the Orem Public Library

“Five little ducks went out one day…” There have been thousands of online storytimes produced in libraries across America since March of 2020. By now, you have most likely seen perky librarians singing Five Little Ducks more times than you can quack. When COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, librarians took storytime online. After our general election we find COVID-19 cases are still climbing; in consequence, storytime will continue to be presented virtually for some time. 

Many excellent articles and blog posts can be found online that cover best practices for creating virtual storytime for caregivers and our littlest patrons. The ALSC Virtual Storytime Services Guide is an exhaustive resource on the topic which includes guidelines and links. More Than a Story: Engaging Young Learners Virtually (Children & Libraries, Fall 2020) gives librarians a concise instructional framework for planning virtual storytime. 5 Tips for Filming Virtual Storytime (ALSC Blog, June 2020) helps librarians prepare in advance for a great presentation. Tina Bartholoma, Salt Lake County Library, recently interviewed a librarian about her Facebook Live Storytimes experiences in Online Storytimes: an Interview About Technology and Connecting (ALSC Blog, Sept. 2020).

Virtual storytime at the Orem Public Library has been entirely pre-recorded, edited, and produced as Facebook Premiere Videos. Pre-recorded storytime production can become complex due to the number of options in equipment, software, file types, and graphic content available. The ALSC Virtual Storytime Services Guide Technology Tools section is a comprehensive overview of options available for storytellers and librarians. I have created an Online Storytimes: Creation & Editing Tools chart for quick reference based on over a decade of experience in creating online library videos for a wide range of patrons from preschoolers through college-aged youth.    

The chart is not exhaustive, but rather a simplified list of solid content creation resources to get you started or help you assess your current approach to online storytime. The cost levels are devised from web based shopping searches. The actual cost will be lower or higher depending on intended use, condition, and quality of items, as well as subscription selections. When creating and editing your content please keep in mind copyright and accessibility issues. Also be mindful of content file formats; devices, software, and apps work well with only a select range of predetermined file types.

Your choice of creation and editing tools may change based on your project and a myriad of circumstances. Once you have chosen your tools and produced your content, load it up on one or more social media platforms, such as YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

“Mother duck said, ‘Quack Quack Quack’. And all of the five little ducks came back!” Don’t forget to post or link your online version of Lucky Duck Storytime on your library website as well! 


Today’s post was written by Rita Christensen, a Children’s Librarian for the Orem Public Library. She has 19 years of library management experience and has won nine national and international library instruction awards from ALA/ACRL and Adobe Inc.

This blog addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: I. Commitment to Client Group, III. Programming Skills, and VII. Professionalism and Professional Development.


Photo and infographic courtesy of guest blogger.

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