Published: 13 August, 2021

The Australian Publishers Association (APA), the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) and the National Copyright Unit (NCU) for Australian schools are pleased to announce an update regarding school storytimes to ensure that teachers (including teacher librarians) are able to read stories to students in a virtual classroom environment.

It is the policy of the APA and the ASA that its members allow schools whose students are affected by government ‘stay-at-home’ orders to read Australian children’s books online to students and families without any need for specific permission or payment, as follows:

    1. Teachers are encouraged to live stream Storytime wherever possible (such as via Google Classroom, a Zoom call or Facebook live streaming). If a school has the technical capacity to do so, teachers are encouraged to limit access to the live stream to students of the school and their families.
    2. If live streaming is not practical, a teacher may make available a recording of Storytime online, provided that:
      • a. the recording is “view only”, so that no further copies can be made or downloaded. For example, you could film yourself reading a story to children in your class and upload it to your school’s digital learning environment for students to access at home; and
      • b. wherever possible that recording should be made available using password protected access in a digital teaching environment, rather than made available generally on the internet. For example, if you can give students access to the recording via a platform such as Google Classroom instead of Facebook, you should do so.
    3. Teachers must provide bibliographic details of the featured book at the beginning of any published recording of Storytime, including the title, author, illustrator and publisher.
    4. This policy is temporary and applies to any primary or secondary school required to provide remote learning for students due to the COVID-19 emergency. Recordings can only be used during the period of the lockdown and:
      • a. access to the recording by students/parents must be disabled within a month of that school resuming normal teaching practices; and
      • b. the recording must be deleted by the school 12 months after it was made.

Teachers are encouraged to continue to read Australian stories to students under these Storytime arrangements and to support Australian creators whose incomes from events has declined during the pandemic.

Details of the original Storytime Agreement, and useful information for teachers is available in this article.