One of the best programs I attended in Anaheim was Using Apps in Children’s Librarianship. Led by a dynamic panel of two school librarians and two public librarians (mrschureads, 100scopenotes, @gaserotti and @amygrav), I left motivated and inspired by all the innovative ways we librarians can think outside the box and use apps to improve our services. Here are just a few amazing takeaways.
Consider mounting an iPad to a wall or an endcap somewhere in your department and encourage children to play with it, just as they would a play panel. Settings can easily be changed to make sure that children have access to only the areas of the iPad you want them to access. There are also cases that can ensure that the iPad is locked down. Once you have it secure, you could rotate different apps each week to keep kids coming back for more. Shape sorting apps, rhyme apps, animal sound apps, storybook apps…the world is your oyster.
I was particular interested in learning about how we can use apps with older children, and the panel certainly did not disappoint. One idea was to incorporate apps into book discussions. Say you have a group of kids at a library program discussing Powerless by Matthew Cody. You could start the activity by asking everyone what superpower do they wish they had. The Art Studio app allows you to draw, paint, and edit photos. So, instead of just asking students to answer the question, incorporate app technology and invite kids to be creative. Working in groups or individually, kids could take their own picture, add drawings to depict themselves with this superpower, and then share their answer and their picture with the group. Genius!
If you want to invite parents into the conversation, librarians could lead an App Chat or Appy Hour program. Parents and librarians meet at the library to make recommendations of apps to other parents. This is also a great opportunity for librarians to talk about what qualities to look for in a good app, and talk about how to use the library’s app–if you have one! We librarians have grown accustomed to reader’s advisory. Why not app advisory?
Thank you to John, Travis, Amy, and Gretchen for all the FABULOUS ideas!
Renee Grassi, Head of Children’s Services Glencoe Public Library Glencoe, IL @MissReneeDomain