ARTISTS have created video recitals of popular stories and poems for children and their families to enjoy online.

The sessions are just one of free online services offered by Durham County Council libraries, to help residents through the coronavirus pandemic.

The first four sessions have been viewed hundreds of times each so far amd the library service has lined up four more, in partnership with theatre company for young audiences Kitchen Zoo and North-ast actors Shelley O’Brien, from Mad Alice Theatre Company, and Stan Hodgson.

They will go live on the council’s YouTube channel on the following Thursdays: May 7, Kitchen Zoo reading The Jumblies by Edward Lear; May 14, Stan Hodgson reading his version of The Lambton Worm, May 21, Kitchen Zoo reading The Boy who Cried Wolf and May 28, Shelley O’Brien reading The Magic Porridge Pot by Brothers Grimm.

Councillor Joy Allen, the council’s cabinet member for transformation, culture and tourism, said: “We started these story videos to give children and their families something to enjoy at home while the very necessary restrictions are in place to slow the spread of coronavirus.

“We’re thrilled that the first four have gone down so well and equally delighted to have four more to release in the coming weeks.

“I hope everyone really enjoys them.”

The Northern Echo:

Shelley said: “I’m so excited to be telling this classic tale, it’s one of my all time favourites. Children can come and join the poor old farmer and his wife whose cupboards are bare and pockets are empty but whose happiness and good fortune is restored by a friendly and clever porridge pot! A wonderful classic story to be enjoyed by young and old."

Stan said: “These stories are such a fun and important way of bringing people together. I’m delighted to be re-telling one of the North East’s most famous tales, children might even like to sing along too.”

All libraries in County Durham remain closed in response to government guidance on coronavirus.

People who are not already members of the library service can sign up at