Toddler watches a presenter on a screen

Libraries reach out to families online during lockdown

Hutt City Libraries has gone virtual with one of their most popular programmes, Baby Bounce & Rhyme.

Aimed at ngā pēpi aged 0-2 and their whānau, Baby Bounce & Rhyme usually runs at all eight libraries with eleven sessions well attended by local families each week. The programme encourages parents and caregivers to foster early literacy skills in their child through songs, rhymes and fingerplays.

It was important to find a way to continue Baby Bounce & Rhyme while in lockdown, says Lillian Pak, Programmes, Outreach and Partnerships Manager. “We knew parents might be feeling isolated at home and wanted to provide an opportunity to engage with their tamariki while learning with other families.”

Over 100 families joined the first online Baby Bounce & Rhyme session on Zoom during Alert Level 3, hosted by Jay Shulamith, Children and Teen Services Librarian at Taita Library.

“It’s incredibly gratifying to see people following along with me and getting to see some of my regulars again,” said Jay. “One parent commented that it was almost like the real thing!”

The feedback from families has been overwhelmingly positive with many appreciating the opportunity to stimulate baby’s development at home. Scott, a local dad, has absolutely loved the unique opportunity to interact online, with the sessions fast becoming a weekly staple in their household.

“It is made even better by the vibrant and fun hosts with a great support crew to help the sessions run seamlessly. We’ve appreciated the incorporation of Te Reo Maori and NZSL, and the accessibility – at one session we had a 4-month-old, 1-year-old, 3-year-old, and Grandma all of whom could engage and enjoy all of it!” said Scott.

“It’s a great demonstration of how public libraries can support people in our communities as they navigate the impacts of COVID-19,” says Lillian.

In addition to the live Online Baby Bounce & Rhyme, Hutt City Libraries has started Baby Bounce & Rhyme Unplugged, a pre-recorded video series of classic rhymes. These videos are a permanent fixture available on the Hutt City Libraries Facebook page and will help parents practice the rhymes and songs when they are at home.

Participate Online

Baby Bounce & Rhyme Online currently runs on Mondays and Fridays at 10:30am via Zoom. If you are interested in attending one of the online sessions, complete the online form to sign up!

While many parents have now returned to work, Hutt City Libraries plans to continue offering Baby Bounce & Rhyme online throughout Alert Level 2 and into Alert Level 1 as an alternative option for families.

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