Audio books

Building a great e-audio collection

The audiobooks in your library’s digital collection are easy to access from computers, tablets, iPods and smartphones. As you build and market the collection, keep in mind the different ways that children and families use audiobooks, and select titles to meet a variety of needs. Preschool children may be drawn to the stories and characters of their favorite picture books. Think carefully about how the text will play without the pictures that help tell the story. You’ll also want to take checkout limits into consideration. Collections of multiple books, like Green Eggs and Ham and Other Servings of Dr. Seuss, and early chapter books like Hooray for Anna Hibiscus! may be more attractive to borrowers than a title which only lasts a few minutes. Families listening together need titles that appeal to everyone. Stories like The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher include characters of multiple ages. Parents listening with older children will…

apps

More on Assistive Technologies

I’ll confess, like many of you I collect apps. I have an old tablet devoted to nothing but “kid” apps. Finding information about a variety of book apps is relatively easy now that so many of us are using them and reviewing them. One question I am asked frequently is “Can you recommend any assistive technology apps?” There are several that have caught my eye recently so I decided to give them a try. I was impressed with the continued growth and development of these types of applications. There are many people, both young and old that could benefit greatly from using these simple programs. All the apps mentioned are intuitive, easy to use, some have a nominal fee and others are free. Kidspiration Maps is a kid friendly mind-mapping app for the iPad. Kidspiration is similar to the Inspiration Maps, but Kidspiration includes more kid friendly templates and clipart like…

Blogger Digital Content Task Force

Hooray to Simon & Schuster for dropping the “Buy It Now” requirement on their ebooks!

In June, when Simon & Schuster made their ebooks available only to libraries who agreed to add a “Buy It Now” option to their catalog, I was torn between two important promises libraries make to kids and families: we will do everything we can to get you the books you want, and everything we offer is free. My library holds the line on keeping things free in many ways, even to the point of refusing to offer summer reading coupons that require an additional purchase to get that free ice cream cone. Parents value libraries as places where they know they can escape the relentless pressure to buy stuff, and our commitment to keep it so extends online. But what happens when the trade-off is keeping popular titles out of our ebook collection? I was stumped. I spent the past few months not taking a stand, simply delaying. Looking askance…

Blogger Digital Content Task Force

Can I borrow a Mac?

Our Youth Services department recently underwent a freshening up. After reconfiguring our floor space and thinking about how it is used we decided to purchase several MacBook PROs for afterschool use. We had been circulating e-readers and tablets so this was a natural next step for us. We made an initial purchase of eight laptops, and the kids went wild! We rolled out this new service a year ago and it has proven to be so popular that we had to invest in six more just to keep up with the demand. So, how does this work you wonder? First, the laptops can only be used by children in grades 6-12th in our Youth Services department, they never leave the library. All one needs is a library card in good standing, a valid student ID and they are ready to borrow one. We ask each child to read and sign…

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Tween Tabs Take Two

In many ways, it is difficult to believe that my library has been circulating iPads in the children’s library for almost three years. Despite the continued discourse on the role of tablet technology among pre-readers, there is no question that children and families have continued to integrate such devices into their lives. In our community parents look to the librarians to guide their app selections, or at least point them towards the resources that can assist in discerning which purchases to make. It first began with the preschool set, as our library made the decision to circulate Early Literacy Kits. The idea was to infuse tech into what we as children’s librarians were already expounding to parents and caregivers about the practices they can master in order to cultivate a reader. Now after so many parents have expressed that their child has already “Spot the Red Dot,” so to speak, what’s next?…

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5 Ways to Turn Homework Help into Summer Fun

We usually think of our library’s online resources as homework help, but in summertime kids can use them to explore the topics they really love. 1. Animals- Who doesn’t love animals? Online encyclopedias include pictures and even video, along with articles on everything from aardvarks to zebras. 2. Places- Young travelers can find out about, or just plain find, destinations near and far in geography and history resources. 3. Celebrities- Whether they’re into sports, movies, or music, biography and news databases are keeping up with kids’ favorite stars. 4. Family- Tap genealogy resources to clarify the family tree when visiting relatives. Figure out who’s a third cousin and who’s a second cousin once removed or find great-grandma in the 1930 census. 5. Weird stuff- News sites just for kids include many stories of the bizarre. Is it true that an accountant fell on a crocodile? Look it up! Have you…

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Looking to Learn More About Kids and Digital Media?

The ALSC Digital Content Task Force has been hard at work on the new Digital Media Resources page, a go-to list for children’s librarians. We’ve collected the best articles, blog posts and websites on the issues and research, apps and eBooks to help you navigate the digital frontier. Whether you’re recommending resources for parents, looking for new program ideas, or advocating for access, you’ll find something to help here. We’ll be updating the page regularly, so please be sure to send us your contributions! Headed to ALA Annual in Las Vegas? Please join us on Sunday from 1-2:30 in the Las Vegas Hotel for the Digital Content Task Force and Children and Technology Committee program: Whet Your APPetite: Rapid Reviews of Apps for Children from Preschool to Tweens. Allison Santos, Amy Graves, Cen Campbell, Claire Moore, Marianne Martens, and Paige Bentley-Flannery will showcase new and favorite apps and present ideas…

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What’s all the Hoopla for kids?

Many libraries are now offering Hoopla, an innovative new service that gives you access to thousands of streaming movies and television, music, and audiobook titles, all for free. All you need is your customer is their library card to get started. This is proving to be a very popular service we are offering in my library since it is being widely used, but by adults. What you may not know is Hoopla is an excellent resource for children’s materials too. I was delighted to find a wide assortment of fun and interesting titles for our youngest customers. Not only does Hoopla’s catalog offer classic titles in audiobooks and movies but current, recently released audiobooks and even movies that were in the theater just last year! Even more impressive is their children’s music collection. There were so many titles available, from story time favorites, Disney tunes and riffs on many popular…