Putting storytimes online lets people participate who otherwise couldn't because of schedule conflicts, distance, or safety concerns. Online storytimes mean more kids build vocabulary, enhance their creativity, and make a connection with their parents and a local librarian.
Many libraries struggle to put storytimes online, though, because of copyright headaches and technical barriers. Niche Academy is the only complete solution for lowering technical barriers, addressing copyright concerns, and increasing the visibility of storytimes and any other online program.
Only a few tech-savvy staff know how to create online programs. This tech barrier means lots of programs never get online versions.
The process and tools for online program creation are streamlined and simplified. Anyone with a smartphone camera can record a program and get it online.
Online programming is more compelling when a library's full pool of librarian creativity and imagination is brought to bear.
Recorded storytimes or other programs that present copyrighted material have to be checked against publisher-approved lists and time limitations. The overhead is unmanageable.
Recorded storytimes are gated with a simple library card prompt so that in-person copyright rules apply. Local cardholders enjoy unrestricted access.
Online storytimes can be always available and still honor copyright laws, a core library value.
Online programs are only available to people who know exactly where to look or who are willing to scroll back through a long social media feed. Live online programs often require a confusing sequence of clicks, navigations, and registration steps. Lots of interested people miss out.
Library programs are always prominently available on your website with a single click, including on any electronic device and with appropriate accessibility for people with disabilities. Anyone with interest and an internet connection can easily find them and use them.
To be truly inclusive, library programming needs to be always available, easy to find, and easy to use.
Online programs are limited to recordings. Patron/librarian interactions are limited.
Online programs like webinars, book chats, crafts projects, and cooking classes offer interactive elements like discussions, response prompts, quizzes, and polls. Patron/librarian interactions are preserved, even when participants join at different times.
Online programming can be a powerful way for librarians to build meaningful individual connections with patrons.
Dramatically increase program participation
Get everyone who currently creates library programs directly involved in creating and delivering them online
Eliminate tedious hours spent collecting usage statistics for your online programs
Discover new and powerful ways to directly engage with your community
Stop losing prospective participants to distractions and deflections
Staff can easily create online programs and upload them to the library's academy. By ensuring a simple process, more members of your staff are able to contribute to online programs and you have a wider range of topics and titles.
Niche Academy eliminates the need to keep up with publisher lists by prompting patrons to enter their library card number before viewing the storytime. This ensures that viewers are your library cardholders, the people you are already licensed to serve.
Niche Academy allows you to embed tutorials directly in your website so patrons don't have to go out of their way to find them. This allows patrons to access programming easily and on any device.
Allow patrons to interact with librarians even when they aren't able to make it into the library with interactive elements like discussions, response prompts, quizzes, and polls.
Our Guarantee: If you use Niche Academy to make storytimes and other programs prominently available from your website, we guarantee meaningful participation increases. If you’re not completely satisfied with your results in the first year, we’ll credit you a full year’s subscription.
Q: Are we limited to a certain number of training and support hours?
A: No. A Niche Academy subscription includes unlimited professional support. See the answer above on what’s included in the price.
Q: What’s the process for reaching Niche Academy support?
A: Niche Academy support specialists can be reached by phone, by email, or through questions submitted within the platform itself. In addition to the live support, Niche Academy provides a searchable knowledge base and a collection of self-paced help tutorials covering basic administrative tasks and the process for tutorial creation.
Q: What maintenance and support is included with a Niche Academy subscription?
A: Niche Academy provides live technical support during business hours. There is no additional charge levied for Niche Academy support and there are no support tiers. Small customers get the same thoughtful attention as everyone else.
All aspects of initial onboarding are included in the Niche Academy support offering including:
Q: How long does it take for Niche Academy to update tutorials when resources change?
A: Depending on the scope of the change, Niche Academy can turn around an update within a few days to a few weeks. Because we actively watch for new and upcoming changes, we’re often able to make the updates before most of our customers are even aware of the change. In some notable cases, we’ve made updates even before the vendor sales staff knew the changes were coming.
Q: Are accessibility features available?
A: Yes. Niche Academy is compliant with the WCAG 2.1 standard at the AA level. This is something we work hard to maintain as we continuously update the platform. If you spot anything that’s slipped through our testing, please let us know. A thorough enumeration of our compliance level is available in the Niche Academy Accessibility Conformance Report.
Q: What if I can’t afford this?
A: Each library needs to determine for itself the value of increasing circulation numbers and program participation rates relative to other priorities for limited library funds. We do make an effort to keep the cost of Niche Academy very low relative to the value we provide. Over the last 6 years, we have increased pricing for new customers commensurate with the increasing value of the service we provide. It is our policy, however, not to raise prices for our existing customers. Libraries are renewed at their original subscription price. Libraries who subscribe at our current pricing will pay less than libraries who start later on. This policy is one factor contributing to a renewal rate of over 95%.
Q: Will this work for a library like mine?
A: We serve libraries of every known shape, size, location, and budget. We serve small libraries with just a few staff as well as the largest systems with many hundreds of employees. We serve libraries that are almost entirely staffed by part timers and volunteers as well as libraries with highly specialized professionals. We serve libraries located on inner city streets as well as on rural routes. We serve libraries with thriving and secure budgets as well as those facing serious cuts. We have built the platform to add value for libraries that can create unique and extensive in-house training, but also get results as a plug-in solution that can work with near zero administrative overhead.
Q: If my state library subscribes to Niche Academy, why does my local library need it?
A: If your state library’s subscription includes a subscription for each local library, you won’t need a separate subscription. If your state library’s subscription does not include a subscription for each local library, you’ll be able to access training that the state library provides, but you won’t have the ability to do any of following:
The most significant gains in program participation and eResource usage come when widgets are available within your local library’s website and patrons are connecting to programs created by local librarians.
More questions? Check out our FAQ page.