19 May 2020

People can now tune in to the new Campfire – Stories Read Aloud for Adults every Wednesday and Friday online.

Created by Christchurch City Libraries staff, Campfire features a fresh chapter read by librarians from either a fiction or a non-fiction book.

Christchurch City Council Head of Libraries and Information Carolyn Robertson says that libraries staff have produced the online programme with “our older adult community in mind and in collaboration with Age Concern”.

“With each reading, we will also post some questions or an activity for listeners to complete,” Ms Robertson says.

“It is a story time for seniors as we help ensure that our older library users remain engaged during the lockdown.

“We believe Campfire can boost well-being for older adults, and bring a fresh face – and voice – to their day. They can watch and listen to our librarians as they read aloud.

“For many older people who have enjoyed books, listening to another voice can bring comfort in connection. Some may have also have lost the ability to read because of poor eyesight or physical impairments. We want to hold on to that social interaction and love of books.”

Age Concern Canterbury Chief Executive Simon Templeton has welcomed the story time programme, describing Campfire as “a great initiative”.

“Older people are often avid readers, so any programme that enables people to stay connected with their library, with others and with reading is great,” Mr Templeton says.

“Some specific groups will benefit, including those with vision impairment, dexterity issues, or the housebound. I think this type of programme will grow in popularity as the population ages.

“I see it as a daily part of residential care therapy for rest home residents, and the means to have a ‘book club’ for those who can’t read.

“While many older people do not use the internet, there is a large number who do – and this is growing,” he says.

Anyone can access the Campfire via the Libraries’ website.

The first book in the Campfire – Stories Read Aloud for Adults programme is a contemporary fiction novel, Six Clever Girls Who Became Famous Women, by New Zealand writer Fiona Farrell.

Next up is The Story of Danny Dunn by Bryce Courtenay and Pūrākau: Māori Myths retold by Māori Writers.