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The Libraries Are Shuttered But This Librarian Is Still Doing Story Time

Fresno Unified librarian Chelsea Parker started a YouTube channel to continue providing storytime to her students.

The Fresno Unified School District and all Fresno County Public Library branches are temporarily closed to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. But despite those closures, one Fresno librarian is still bringing story time to her students, via the web.

On her new YouTube channel, “Parker’s House of Stories,” Chelsea Parker opens her videos with this advice: “Breathe in, breathe out, and of course, no nose-pickin’, no finger lickin’. We need to have clean hands to touch our books, don't forget.”

It sounds like a reminder to wash your hands, and nowadays it certainly could be, but to her students, it’s how she always opens story time. The book she’s reading in this video is “Dragons Love Tacos” by Adam Rubin.

“They love really big, gigantic tacos,” she reads, in a deep, gruff voice. “And tiny little baby tacos too,” Parker reads, in a high-pitched squeak. 

Parker isn’t filming in the library of Pyle Elementary School in central Fresno where she usually works; instead, she's sitting in her home, and uploading each story she reads to YouTube. The idea came to her when she found out that schools would be closing to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. 

“Why don't we do a remote storytime that they can access, 24/7, and give them a bit of normalcy while there's not a lot of normal going on right now,” she explained. 

Parker’s not the only one taking to the internet to keep kids entertained. There are several celebrities live streaming story time on the web, too, including Jennifer Garner, Josh Gad and Amy Adams. 

Parker says that until school is back in session, she’ll remain on YouTube, recording story time in the voices her students love. 

Laura Tsutsui was a reporter and producer for Valley Public Radio. She joined the station in 2017 as a news intern, and later worked as a production assistant and weekend host. Laura covered local issues ranging from politics to housing, and produced the weekly news program Valley Edition. She left the station in November 2020.
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