Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Stories from the Web

Before we return to our normal service of brilliant books and unusual adventures, it’s time for another interview…

Easter sees the relaunch of Stories from the Web, an exciting website for young readers and writers where you can explore the world of books for yourself. You can find them at and they have a blog at

If your local library isn’t using SFTW, ask them to sign up today!

Barry Griffiths and Debbie Mynott from SFTW were kind enough to answer a few questions:

What is Stories from the Web?
Stories from the Web is an exciting, interactive reader development website combining conventional literature promotion with computer-based activities to engage children and young people in creative reading, writing and drawing activities. There are three areas to the site; the 0 - 7 area is an introduction to picture book extracts, storytellers, interactive books and games, the 7 - 11 area encourages reading through a myriad of activities linked directly to books whilst the older 11 - 14 age group can learn more about writing through interviews and tips from authors, can get their work 'published' online and can feedback on each other's work. There are also many session plans and downloadables in a special Staff Area.

Who can submit work to your site?
You need to be a member of Stories from the Web to use the site. Many Library Authorities are members, this means that all the children in a subscribing area can use the site, both in the library and at home. The staff in the libraries may use the session plans, the downloads and all the promotional materials. Every member will be able to send in work to their galleries. Everything sent in is moderated by experienced staff before going live on the site.

How did the project begin?
Stories from the Web began as a research project back in 1997 with three partners; Birmingham, Bristol and Leeds Library Services. The idea was to find a way of using new technology in libraries in a creative and educational way. Originally the site was used through Stories from the Web clubs and only had an area for 7 - 11's. The site soon developed with a 0-7 area and later an 11-14 area. All these areas have gone through many redesigns, the latest incarnations having been launched this year (2010). As the idea of the site developed, Stories from the Web has become not only an enjoyable and educational site for children, young people and their families but is an essential resource for librarians.

What does the future hold for Stories from the Web?
The site has gone from strength to strength over the 13 years since its concept. This year we decided to become a member only site and only allow access to subscribing authorities. We have undertaken a major redesign and have moved to a faster and more efficient server to cope with the amount of users. We will soon be launching a subscription for children & their families and later this year a school subscription. There are many ideas in the pipeline - more storyteller videos, a nursery rhyme section for early years, featured books and authors for older readers, bigger, better competitions, blogs, podcasts, more sessions ideas and downloads, etc, etc. We are always adding ideas to keep the site fresh and interactive.

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