A new 24-hour telephone service is giving families more options to partake in story time at the Newport Beach Public Library.

The library has just launched "Dial-a-Story," which rotates pre-recorded children's stories and can be dialed from any phone line. The free service does not require library membership.

"Telephone technology isn't very new, but it is very accessible," said Mariner's Branch Librarian Heather Hart. "It's a fun, simple way to bring our story time offering into everyone's hands."

New and classic stories recorded by the Sound Safari Theater, a sound production company that creates multimedia for children, were purchased by the library with federal funding through the Library Services and Technology Act, Hart said.

As the program develops, Hart said that the library would like to involve the community more by having volunteers record the stories.

For now, the voice of Sound Safari voice actor Charlie Williams can be heard at any hour of the day by dialing the library's dedicated line.

Williams can be heard this week reading "The Three Billy Goats Gruff," which runs about 10 minutes and is packed with sound effects, voice changes and cleverly placed humor.

The program is intended to supplement, not replace, the library's extensive schedule of story time events, which take place several times a week, Hart said.

The Dial-a-Story service will offer parents another way to combine quality time with their children and develop their kids' early literacy skills, Hart said.

Dial-a-Story

To hear a pre-recorded story through Dial-a-Story any time of day for free, call (949) 717-3877. The complete schedule of in-branch Newport Beach Public Library Story Time events can be found at http://www.newportkids.org.