With the Covid-19 pandemic resurgent around the globe, Penguin Random House this week announced that it is extending its Open License for online story time and read-aloud videos through March 31, 2021. The program was first announced in March of 2020 to encourage digital read-aloud sessions for libraries and schools closed by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

PRH officials say the program continues to accommodate tens of thousands of requestors as schools and libraries remain closed or operating at reduced physical capacity. "We are continuing to get requests as more and more libraries and schools have had to close due to the increase cases of Covid-19," PRH v-p of sales Skip Dye told PW. "Our hope in extending the program is to give some stability for educators, librarians and booksellers in knowing that they can still use our authors' books for story times."

Under the program, PRH officials ask only that educators, librarians, booksellers and other readers seeking to post readings from Penguin Random House books complete an online form. As an open license, permission is deemed granted upon submission of the completed form and compliance with the guidelines posted on the PRH site, outlined below:

For Teachers and Educators providing distance learning to students in a virtual classroom setting:

  • Story time or classroom read-aloud videos in which a Penguin Random House book is read aloud and the book is displayed (for picture books) may be created and posted to closed educational platforms such as Google Classroom, Schoology, Edmodo and Discovery Education, in order to replicate the read-aloud book experience that would otherwise be available to educators in the classroom.
  • If a Teacher or Educator plans to share a story time video by recording a video, uploading it to a YouTube channel, and posting a link to that YouTube video inside a closed educational platform, that YouTube video must be designated as “Unlisted” (not “Public”) when uploading. See screenshot for how to choose “Unlisted” while uploading on YouTube.
  • These story time and classroom read-aloud videos may be hosted on the educational platform and/or YouTube (as an “Unlisted” file) until the end of the current school year, after which we request that they be removed from the educational platform and/or from YouTube, unless this permission is extended for the next school semester.

For Booksellers, Librarians and other readers who wish to provide a story time reading or other read-aloud experience to young people:

  • Story time or read-aloud live events in which a Penguin Random House book is read out loud and the book is displayed (for picture books) may be streamed live, in real time, on social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook Live, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • These story time or read-aloud live events may not be maintained in the archive of the social media platform and appropriate measures should be taken to ensure that videos of the live events are not retained. Because these platforms automatically archive live events by default, when your event has concluded, please locate the recorded live video in your account (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and delete it. See screenshot for how to delete a live video from YouTube after it has concluded.

Questions can be emailed to PRH officials.