Tallinn librarians read to children over the phone amid lockdown

Tallinn librarians read to children over the phone amid lockdown

Kids can also practice reading aloud with the librarian

The librarians from Tallinn Central Library show a very kind gesture towards children and parents during the coronavirus lockdown – until the government-imposed isolation ends, they will be reading books to them over the phone, Skype or Facebook.

Finding a reading companion

The local librarians will be expecting calls between 10 a.m and 4 p.m. local time. The service is offered for free, with no additional costs to the regular phone service fee. What is more, it is up to the children calling to select the book they want to listen to.

The sessions last for up to 30 minutes, so if the time happens to expire at a very exciting moment of the book, the child can call on the next day and continue where they left off. If the reading takes place in the form of a video call, the reader will also show pictures from the book.

The selection of librarians and books to be read in the campaign can be seen on the webpage of the Central Library children's’ section. The instructions and contacts are also available there.

Helping Estonian parents

The library invites readers from all across Estonia to join. This measure, on top of demonstrating solidarity with parents in a difficult situation, shows how far ahead Estonia is in terms of digitalization and remote public services.

Deputy Mayor of Tallinn Vadim Belobrovtsev approves the library’s initiative. "The library wants to provide support for parents who work in their home office and want to find educational and engaging activities for their children… The child can choose the book that suits him and the librarian reads it to him. However, if the child wants, he or she can practice reading by reading aloud. This way, the child's interests and needs can be respected and the reading experience will be special to the child.

Estonia has declared a state of emergency until the beginning of May, because of the Covid-19 pandemic. One of the measures the City Council of Tallinn undertook was to exempt parents from paying taxes for municipal kindergartens.



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