In November I had the opportunity to speak at the LITA Forum in Kentucky. As one of the few youth services librarians in attendance, I presented on creation-based technology in the children’s library.
Highlighting some of the library’s programs and services, I was also inspired to include some research about the Creativity Crisis. While some educators still see technology as a threat to a child’s ability to think creatively, there are many libraries using tech as a tool to foster creativity.
The iKids program at our library, a tech program for tweens, has continued to provide kids with the tools and space to explore new technologies. The first year of the program the Flip camera was by far the highlight, and the group used it to record choreographed dance moves. Nowadays they’re using iPads to shoot videos with the iMotion HD app. Whatever the gadget, I believe it’s our job to expose and educate them about these tools, while also drawing out their inner artist. Glitter glue might still be the most popular medium in the library, but librarians are also using apps, digital cameras, and most recently 3D printers to help kids create.
This fall to coincide with the annual art series, I held an Art APPreciation program which used apps to create art. Each session ended with the kids critiquing and sharing their work. We also now have many of their pieces displayed within the children’s library.
The first week we made photo-collages using WordFoto and Pic Collage. Each session focused on one style of artwork such as painting or animation. This year I decided to attempt a class on music, despite having no musical ability of my own. It was amazing to see a few of the kids sit quietly and navigate through the Garage Band app.
This past week we chose to leave the iPads alone for a program on light painting. All you need for this activity is a digital camera, a few light sources, and a dark location within the library to experiment. The kids were amazed at the technique, and we all had a blast testing out numerous exposure times. The results were amazing and the participants each had their own prints to take home.
If you have any examples of how you use technology to encourage creativity, please share below.
Claire Moore is a member of the Digital Content Task Force. She is also Head of Children’s Services at Darien Library. Contact Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org.