20% of $18,000 goal
Fundraise for us!
We are creating children's stories and an audiobook app for kids so they can listen to our stories even if they don't have Internet access at home.
The app will be primarily distributed through public libraries where the app and stories can be downloaded using the library's wifi. Once downloaded, stories can be played by the kids at home even without a broadband connection. The downloaded stories can stay on the device forever. We aren't going to limit their use - no renewals, no download limits, no expiration. Once downloaded, the stories are that family's to use within their family as long as they like.
Any amount you can donate will help us cover our expenses as we develop the app. For example, each $25 donation pays for us to acquire one original story. A $200 donation covers all the costs of adding a new story to our collection including audio engineering. A $1200 donation covers our software development costs for one month.
And a $1500 donation is enough to cover the annual subscription for a library - at this level, donors are invited to designate the library to whom we will offer a free one-year subscription.
We are a group of library professionals located in the US who think every young child should be able to listen to good stories - even when they don't have access to the Internet, even if their parents don't have time to read to them every night, even if they don't have children's books in their home, even if their parents aren't literate.
Reading to kids from a young age is very important for the child's success. Reading is Fundamental reports that 34% of children in the US who enter kindergarten lack the basic skills to learn to read and 43% of adults are functionally illiterate. According to the Reading Foundation, when children start kindergarten under prepared, that achievement gap follows them year after year.
So while the ideal is that every kid is read to, by a grown-up, for at least 15-20 minutes a day, it just isn't realistic. Kids living in low income homes rarely have this luxury. Some of them are lucky to have a full belly when they go to sleep each night. Parents are working long hours and struggling to make ends meet. Some kids don't have parents that are themselves literate. We want to help these families.
But every kid benefits from being spoken to, being read to, to listening. And listening to stories is fun!
We call the app LibraryCall Kids! We want this app to give kids a chance to hear the words, listen to the speech patterns and rhythms of the language, and learn new vocabulary - even if their parents are unable to read to them every night. We also just want the kids to enjoy our stories!
The app is designed for kids to use to browse the collection and play stories for themselves. Our target age group is 3-8. The app will play audio stories only. So there is nothing to look at except the cover page of each story. We want to see kids doing other things with their bodies while listening to stories - building castles, playing pretend, brushing their doll's hair, tumbling and frollicking, or maybe just falling asleep.
Our collection of stories come from the Storytime Commons (https://librarycall.com/storytime-commons). Working with writers and children's librarians and educators, we've created hundreds of engaging stories in English and Spanish. Some are our original stories and some are adapted traditional stories from around the world. Our collection will broaden every child's exposure to different cultures and ways of being in the world. As we grow our collection, we focus on helping kids develop their imaginations, curiousity and empathy by being exposed to different cultures. Equally important, we want them to have the foundation they need to learn to read when they start kindergarten.
We currently make our stories available through our dial-a-story services and we will soon be making them available through our LibraryCall Kids! app.
Our income will come from the subscription fee we earn from the libraries that make the app and the stories available through their website. With just 100 subscriptions, we will cover our basic costs. Ultimately, our goal is to add more stories from other cultures and to add support for more languages. With more subscriptions, we can add more multillingual stories and translate stories between each of our supported languages - making it a multicultural collection of stories for kids speaking a variety of languages.
The project has been funded by me so far. I'm a library consultant. I've worked with libraries since 2000 and have had the good fortune to have earned enough consulting to cover our costs for this project. We started out offering the stories using a dial-a-story model (call a number to hear a story). But having to call in to hear a story is too high a burden for many users (and the quality isn't great over the phone) so only people who have few options for listening to stories use the dial-a-story service. We want these families to be able to listen to high quality stories anytime and anywhere so we decided to make this app. The app will make it much easier for kids to listen so it feels like a worthwhile effort. But the cost of developing the app is pretty steep. Therefore, I am seeking donations to help to cover the additional cost of developing the app while we continue to keep the service going.
This first campaign will go to covering staff costs through 2023. We are currently spending $9000/month creating and editing stories and getting them ready for publication, and working on the app. The app we are working on is a Progressive Web App (PWA) so it will run on any device through the browser. The development costs of a PWA are less than the cost of developing an Android and iOS app but it isn't nothing. We need help funding that effort. We also need funds for promotion and marketing of the app so we can get to that 100-subscriptions baseline we need to cover our current expenses.
Once we reach 100 subscribers, we can resume our expansion into other languages. We've recently started working on stories from Afghanistan and we'd like to start working on stories from Ukraine as well but we've had to pause on those efforts until we can raise more revenue. Ultimately, we would love to have a huge collection of multicultural, multilingual children's stories available to all kids, everywhere, for free.
If you can donate $100 or even just $25 today, we'd sure appreciate it!
If you make a donation of $1500, you may designate a library to receive a free subscription to our app which means ALL of the patrons of that library will get the app for free!!!