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Flannel Friday Round Robin: Flannelizable, Defined


So it isn’t Friday yet. But since this “Round Robin” idea is more of a side show, that a main-stage production, why not just post what I have so far.  So here we go:

A couple of weeks ago I posted this challenge:

Calling all #FlannelFriday-ers

In the spirit of this glorious blogging tradition, I’d like to propose  a special #FlannelFriday Round Robin!

I’d like to invite #FFers, children’s librarians, and anyone else uses flannelboards to help me answer this question:

What makes a story (picture book, song, rhyme, game, etc) flannelizable?

If you’d like to participate, click here. Then you can blog/comment/email your findings. I’d like to compile them, so if post a link in my comments section, I’ll add it like we do with the #FFRU.

Here’s how I am going to approach this question:

1) Why did I choose these stories?

2) How (and/or why) did I interpret/adapt the material? And why not just present it as-is?

3) Storytime Triumphs vs. Storytime FAILS!

Melissa over at Mel’s Desk asks the (soon-to-be) age old question, Can This Story Be Flannelized?

Actually, Library Quine, our #FFer across the pond started a Flannel Friday Glossary. Brilliant idea, lady!

And I posted my own 2 cents.

Several people have mentioned that copyright concerns are a major factor in the choices they make. I must admit to being painfully ignorant to the ins-and-outs of this area of knowledge. If you are reading this, and you understand how this works in a library storytime setting, I would love to learn more. I am under the impression that this area of the law is blurry. I ask that if you do offer advice, please include bibliographic sources. My concern is that there a lot of misinformation out there on this particular topic. Anyway, if you have anything to add, I’m always happy to update this post!

Anne, of sotomorrow, offered up an awesome link to this discussion on the topic of copyright issues in storytime hashed out on the ALA’s Copyright Advisory Network forum. Thanks Anne!

I’m no legal eagle, but this part seems particularly relevant to the flannelization process:

Purpose and character of the use – story hours are usually nonprofit educational events, without commercial purpose.  Assuming that you’re only making a single puppet/flannel board for each component of an illustration and that these puppets/cutouts are only for the library’s use in a non-broadcasted storyhour, I believe that your use would lean toward fair use for this first factor. [Note, however, if you made multiple copies of each puppet/flannel board and started to lend or rent them out or sell them to other groups to use, then your use would likely not be fair use.]

Nature of the work – picture books usually are more creative than factual, so this factor would not lean toward fair use

Amount and substantiality – if you use only a small amount from the book’s illustrations in making your puppets and flannel boards, your use is more likely to be fair use.  On the other hand, if you create separate flannel board cut-outs to duplicate every illustration in the entire book, your use would be less likely to be fair use.

Effect of your use on the commercial market of the book – does your use deprive the copyright holder of commercial gain they would otherwise have received if you licensed the rights?  If you are only creating the puppets and cutouts for in-library use by library staff, it seems that the effect on the market would be minimal.  You might even increase the market for the book by promoting it in storyhour.  Also, if your library has purchased at least one copy of the book, the copyright holder has received some commercial gain. And, many libraries purchase multiple copies of picture books that are popular for storyhour use.


3 thoughts on “Flannel Friday Round Robin: Flannelizable, Defined

  1. Infopeople just hosted a webinar that might be of interest, Digital Graphics — Yours, Mine and Ours: A guide to their legal use. I don’t think it specifically addresses book adaptations, but it looks like it provides some websites where you can find images and clip art. The archived webinar is available at

  2. I do think flannels & copyright is a murky issue. I’m not really offering any advice, except that I definitely wouldn’t sell flannels of books protected under U.S. copyright (basically anything after 1922) on Etsy or something like that. Folk tales and traditional literature (Mother Goose rhymes, etc.) figures would be fine.

    Here is an interesting discussion of the relevant issues: I think there have been a few discussions of adaptations in storytimes in the School Library Journal column that covers fair use. I think it’s called Carrie on Copyright?

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