Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Where to Find Free Children’s eBooks

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It seems like even the family cat has access to a device, so it’s no surprise that even our youngest readers are utilizing eBooks. While our library collections are full of exciting new content (read along ebooks, beginning readers, and picture books to name just a few), sometimes nothing hits the quality reading spot quite like sharing a classic title. And best of all, there’s no such thing as a holds queue when reading classics with a free and legal public domain download. Where can I find free titles? So many books, so little time! You want to make sure you’re using yours effectively. Whether you’re reading on a phone, tablet, dedicated e-reader, or desktop computer you’ll find more than enough titles for your “for later” list. You’ll find public domain titles on multiple sites, so it’s really all about the reading experience. It’s a bit like choosing your phone’s operating…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

LED Projects That Light Up Summer Programming

In the midst of Summer Reading, vacations, and increased patron activity, it’s beneficial to have a few simple tech activities which can be planned quickly and are easily adaptable. There are a few lasting projects that have always been appropriate for a variety of age groups, including early school-age students, tweens, and teens. I can always manage to dig up some LEDs, and try as much as possible to regularly use the materials in the supply closet that are close to their “craft shelf life.”

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Why have Technology in the Children’s Area?

“I bring my child to the library for books, not computers.” “Why have computers in the kid’s area?  My child has too much screen time already… why do I have to face more at the library?”  We don’t often hear this type of complaint but when we do, we are careful to reply in person and bring a broader context to the dialog about technology. First, we will say that it is the parent or guardian’s responsibility to set limits around their child’s use of technology (see the ALSC White Paper on Media Mentorship). Second, I suggest that we open up a conversation with this library patron.  In that discussion, we can increase our understanding of the variety of experience and ability that fills our community. As a public library, our mission is to make access to information available to everyone.  For children with a physical, learning, or other disability…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Bridging the Gap on Educational Apps

Part of our role as Children’s Librarians is to help parents navigate the plethora of options available for early education on a digital platform. While these apps have lots of potential when used with parental guidance, the sheer numbers can be overwhelming for parents to sort through. This is where we can step in with exposure to free or low-cost educational apps that are readily available for use on mobile devices. Many library systems have a tablet device for use with programs or roving reference services. This device can also be used to assist parents and their children in testing educational apps before they commit to them. Our library is moving towards a model where mounted tablets would allow the staff to rotate educational apps every few weeks or so, allowing for a wide variety of educational apps to be experienced by our customers. This arrangement allows for librarians to…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Media Mentorship: In Three Parts

Media Mentorship has been a buzz word in children’s librarianship for a while. While it can still cause some disagreement, we’ve generally resolved that it’s important for children’s librarians to embrace as part of their role. Many contend, myself included, that we’ve always been media mentors – that the only real change has been the medium through which media is being conveyed. Even still, it can be tricky to navigate what about these new mediums to focus on as librarians. I’ve been working with a group of librarians out of Central Maryland, along with Lisa Guernsey from New America and Elaine Czarnecki of Resources in Reading to develop a training toolkit for library systems around the topic of Media Mentorship and we’ve broken the concept of Media Mentorship down into three categories for easier understanding.   Media Mechanics – How do I work this? We’ve long acknowledged that it’s important…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Wearable Tech Programming

The ALSC Children’s and Technology Committee is always looking for great program ideas to use technology with kids. My co-worker, Phyllis Davis, has become the STEAM Queen at my library district and I knew she’d be the perfect person to talk about soft circuits and wearable tech programs at the Library. Phyllis Davis is the Youth Services Manager at The Library Station, part of the Springfield-Greene County Library District in Springfield Missouri.  What got you interested in doing wearable tech programs for kids? My interest in wearable tech and soft circuits began when I worked at the Matteson Public Library in Illinois about six years ago.  Makerspaces were in their infancy in public libraries.  We were buying 3-D printers and trying out all kinds of activities found in Make magazine.  I happened upon the work of Leah Buechley at the High Low Tech Group at M.I.T.  She is the inventor of…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Website Content Curation

One of the ALSC competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Public Libraries is to create and maintain “…a physical and digital library environment that provides the best possible access to materials and resources for children of all cultures and abilities and their caregivers.” While providing a physical environment can appear a more stable though still challenging undertaking, maintaining a digital library environment is a constantly changing task, requiring ongoing assessment and modification.