Story Box Library Q&A with Chris Epple, Sales Consultant at James Bennett

In a sentence, explain your role and responsibilities at James Bennett.

My Role at James Bennett is Sales Consultant for all products and services offered by James Bennett, this includes providing on-going support to our customers.

How have libraries successfully incorporated SBL and how have they promoted its use?

Story Box Library is so easy to promote to patrons as the James Bennett and the SBL team have provided some amazing options to promote in various way. Some of the best ways to increase discoverability of SBL is with the use of the free marc records to discover via the OPAC and stickers to place on the print editions of titles available on Story Box Library.

Libraries have been promoting SBL to patrons during Story time in the library, some playing SBL as families arrive or between their own story time and setting up for the activities afterwards. By promoting SBL during these onsite activities libraries are allowing parents and carers to extend the story time experience beyond their visit to the library to enjoying at home. Combined with the closed captions and Activity Time options, parents can continue to aid their child’s development.

One of the most creative promotions of Story Box Library that I have seen is a library creating their own display that started with paw prints at the entry to the library and led all the way to the Children’s section and a large colourful display featuring the SBL mascots Boris, Edna, Ernie, & Magda.

In your experience, how have you seen the role of digital platforms such as Story Box Library creating greater engagement with children’s literature in libraries?

As the digital word continues to grow it is nice to see companies like Story Box Library create new and exciting ways to introduce stories and reading to children. SBL have designed a platform that allows parents to introduce children to the world of literature in a fun and exciting way that also aids in developing reading and learning skills, be it through watching the stories, accessing closed captions, or participating in the Activity Time sessions attached to each story.

During the Covid-19 lockdowns Story Box Library allowed libraries to provide access to quality Storytelling content to their patrons at home. This allowed patrons who were missing out on Story Time at the library to still provide their children with an engaging storytelling experience and continuing developing love of stories and reading. We saw usage of Story Box Library increase during the lockdowns and we are still seeing great engagement as we ease back to normalcy.

What I see as being one of the most valuable merits of Libraries offering SBL to their patrons is that it allows parents who may not be confident readers or English isn’t their first language, to still introduce their children to reading and kick-start their journey to learning to read.  We all know the value of learning to read at an early age and I am delighted to see SBL as a resource that encourages this in a fun and engaging way for both young and old.

What strategies can libraries utilise to be successful in encouraging at-home use with digital platforms such as Story Box Library?

My top five:

  1. Marc records to increase discoverability via the OPAC
  2. Place the SBL sticker on copies of the books featured on SBL so that children and parents can access the same title at home via SBL and discover more titles 
  3. Promote via the library or council Facebook page. Share posts already created by the Story Box Library team or ask us for your unique URL for direct login for your library service. 
  4. Create a SBL reading list! Use the Top 5 lists found on the SBL Resources page or create your own. These encourage repeat usage and also rewarding for children to complete as a set task. 
  5. Hand out the colourful SBL bookmarks to patrons. These have instructions on how to access SBL at home and are a nice reminder after staff have informed patrons of SBL.         

How do digital platforms like Story Box Library create a greater understanding of the world for children?

Children love to be entertained and what better way to introduce children to literature and the messages conveyed through books than the diverse range of storytellers that Story Box Library offers. The Storytellers selected by SBL are familiar to both children and their parents and range from Entertainers, Sport stars, to Authors and School children, from Australia & New Zealand.

Storytelling is where children first learn about the world around them. SBL offers a range of themes that can be found through the Filter tool so that parents can discover content on a particular theme or topic that they may wish to focus on, be it Courage, Friendship, Indigenous, Animals, or Christmas. With a growing collection of stories on offer SBL is a fantastic resource for families to help develop lifelong learning and love of reading.

For more information email storybox@bennett.com.au

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Contact Info

James Bennett
Unit 3, 114 Old Pittwater Road
Brookvale NSW 2100, Australia
P: +61 2 8988 5000
Answer the question: 12 + 9