Case studies

Libraries and community organisations across Australia are working with their multicultural communities to promote literacy, digital inclusion, cultural maintenance, and community participation. Find out what others are doing, make connections – and submit your own program as a case study!

Hume bilingual storytimes in the community


Hume Libraries, VIC


City of Hume, VIC

Project description and objectives

A bilingual storytime program developed by Hume Libraries for CALD families and their children between the ages of 0-8 years old. The program primarily targets pre-school aged children in response to the needs of communities to maintain their culture, socialise with others and for parents and children to learn. The storytime sessions are currently conducted in Hume Libraries in four languages: Arabic, Turkish, Assyrian-Chaldean, and Hindi.
          The objectives of the programs are:
    •    To develop reading motivation - inspiring parents, children and early years’ educators to share books and songs.
    •    To link CALD families to services and support agencies in Hume and promote relevant learning opportunities.
    •    To promote and increase awareness of library services among CALD communities.
    •    Build skills and increase parents’ confidence in supporting children’s early literacy by modelling reading techniques.
    •    To support cultural inclusion and maintenance of first language for young children

Staffing and volunteers

The Bilingual Storytime Program is run by storytellers who are experienced in childcare work and community development, and from the culture in which the storytime language is spoken. The program consists of 4 permanent staff members in addition to volunteers from the community.


Community groups and organizations

Funding sources

The program is funded by Hume City Council

Consultation strategy

* Outreaching the community: Bilingual storytimes first started in The Age Library but there has always been an emerging need to outreach the community. Bilingual storytellers started to visit playgroups, preschools, other early childhood services and women’s group to deliver the service and identify the importance of bilingual storytimes in supporting long life learning. Outreaching the bilingual storytimes and using storytellers from target communities encouraged community participation and therefore the program ha witnessed continuous growth in attendance. The program has also widened participation further by encouraging volunteers to assist storytellers with storytime sessions both in the library and offsite.

* Networking, which came as a result for community participation. Bilingual storytellers have a following in the community which they built up by being locally involved in their communities and by sharing stories and experiences with other people in similar profession. Bilingual storytellers acted as bridging network in which they link families to facilities and opportunities that support learning, i.e. computer clubs, homework clubs, library programs, etc.

* Leadership:Storytellers are the leaders who have emerged from the Bilingual Storytime Program and are encouraging parents to show leadership with their children, families and friends by being actively involved in the program, talking about it and using what they’ve learned in the sessions and applying it in practice.

*Partnership: with community groups to extend the reach, encourage community involvement and link families to relative services and facilities in Hume.

* Evaluation: Continuous evaluation of the program which includes conducting interviews with parents; focus groups with preschool teachers and storytellers; and evaluation and feedback forms

Resources used

Hume Libraries has released My Favourite Songs CDs. Bilingual CDs that include children’s songs in English and three community languages (Turkish, Arabic and Assyrian-Chaldean).


-          Distribution of bilingual storytime flyers to community groups and agencies, shopping centres, maternal and child health centres and immunisation centres.

-          What’s On - Hume libraries’ programs and events monthly calendar.

-          Promoting for the bilingual storytime program in local newspapers and community radios.

-          Participation in cultural events and activities to promote the program and other library services.


For Hume Libraries:

-          Increased number of library membership

-          Significant increase in borrowing library CALD materials.

-          Increased involvement in Hume libraries’ programs.

-          Increased use of public computers and online resources.

-          Increased involvement with library’s staff and making queries.

For participants:

-          Increased awareness of library services, resources and learning opportunities.

-          Increased confidence in engaging with the library’s staff.

-          Increased awareness of early childhood services and other relevant facilities in Hume.

-          Developing sense of respect for cultural diversity among adults and children.

-          Developing skills that will assist in children’s readiness for school.

A positive impact on children with disabilities, children who have no English and children with other first language skills including English.

Contact Name

Donna Edwards


Community Engagement Officer



03 9356-6932

Useful tips

- Commitment from Hume City Council and The Hume Global Learning Village to support long life learning.

- Networking and relationship with local communities.

-Team of frontline workers who have the skills, experience and professionalism to work with the target communities.