As schools and libraries alike in Estonia are shut down during the coronavirus outbreak, Tallinn Central Library launched a new service on Monday via which kids can call in and have a librarian read them a book by phone or video chat.
The service will be available through the beginning of May via phone, Skype and Facebook Messenger.
"The library wants to offer support to parents who are working from home but also want to find educational and engaging activities for their kids," Deputy Mayor Vadim Belobrovtsev said in a press release, noting that the initiative was a very welcome one. "The child can choose a suitable book for themselves and the librarian will then read it to them. If the child wants, however, they can practice reading themselves to the librarian. This way, a child's interests and needs can be taken into account, making the reading experience a special one for them."
The central library's librarians are accepting calls on weekdays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and the service is free. Each session lasts up to half an hour, and in the case of video chat, the librarian also shows the listener pictures from the book. Should a session draw to close just as the book gets to an exciting part, the child is welcome to call back again the next day.
In case all lines are busy, the library recommends trying to call back again in a little while.
Tallinn Central Library has provided a list of participating librarians, their contacts and books on their homepage here (link in Estonian). The library can be contacted with any questions via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The library has also opened online registration as a reader to all Estonian residents, granting them free access to the e-library ELLU. Click here (link in Estonian) for more information.
Editor: Aili Vahtla