Blogger Katie Salo

Circulating Kits for Early Literacy

In the past few years, I feel like I’ve become an expert in circulating kits for early literacy. Since I started at my library two years ago, I’ve created thirty-nine circulating kits and have collaboratively helped seventeen more get on the shelves for our patrons. I thought I’d take some time today to highlight some of the kits.

LeapFrog Kits

Picture of LeapFrog circulating kits on the shelf. [Photo courtesy of the author.]
Picture of LeapFrog circulating kits on the shelf. [Photo courtesy of the author.]
I have four different kinds of LeapFrog kits on the shelf with a total of sixteen kits:

  • LeapPad 2.0 (4 copies)
  • LeapPad Ultra Tablets (4 copies)
  • LeapFrog Junior Tag Reader (4 copies)
  • LeapFrog Tag Reader (4 copies)

Each LeapPad tablet comes with cartridges in the kit and each LeapFrog reader comes with preloaded books. I do basic maintenance of these kits. As each one comes into the library, I check to make sure it’s charged or that the batteries are still in good condition. I also wipe the tablets clean of photos, art, videos, and stories to protect patron privacy.

These have circulated since the summer of 2014. I’ve had to replace one LeapPad 2.0 because it lost sound capabilities, a few cartridges (most notably the Cinderella ebook that came back in parts since the dog got a hold of it!), and a case that the zipper broke on.

Book Bundles

Early literacy circulating kits, sponsored by Target. [Photo courtesy of the author.]
Early literacy circulating kits, sponsored by Target. [Photo courtesy of the author.]
Book Bundles began circulating this past November. I received a Target early literacy grant (which they sadly do not offer any longer) to create these backpack kits. I have twelve kits, one each of the following themes: 123s, ABCs, Animals, Colors, Community Helpers, Feelings, My Body, Nursery Rhymes, Shapes, Time, Transportation, Weather.

Each kits has two or three books and manipulatives to go with the theme. I have puppets, puzzles, games, arts and crafts supplies, toys, CDs, and DVDs. For each item in the Book Bundle, I have written an activity guide for patrons to use with the items. A binder sits on top of the section for patrons to see what materials are inside the Book Bundles.

One of our volunteers inventories these as they are brought back. I’ve only had to replace a mesh bag with a broken zipper and tape up a page from Maisy’s Wonderful Weather Book — which is a pop-up book.

Parenting Pack

Up-close picture of a Parenting Pack. [Photo courtesy of the author.]
Up-close picture of a Parenting Pack. [Photo courtesy of the author.]
I talked a little bit about these Parenting Packs in my ALSC post on re-organizing the Parent/Teacher collection. These were also purchased with the Target grant money. I have eleven kits on the following themes: First Trip on an Airplane, Healthy Eating, New Baby in the House (2 copies), Potty Training for Boys (2 copies), Potty Training for Girls (2 copies), Starting School, Staying in the Hospital, Visiting the Doctor.

Parenting Packs are exactly like Book Bundles except that I also include parenting books and a resource guide. So far there have been no problems with the Parenting Packs and replacement items.

Tigglys & Playaway Launchpads

Circulating kits including Tigglys and Launchpads.
A cart full of technology, some of it pre-processed. Includes Tigglys and Playaway Launchpads. [Photo courtesy of the author.]
Tigglys are part of circulating kits in our makerspace: the Wouldshop™. We have one kit of each version (Counts, Shapes, and Words) in its own kit. These products interact with an iPad and we only circulate the product pieces; patrons must provide their own iPad. These are also inventoried by a volunteer.

Playaway Launchpads are new enough that I don’t have pictures of them processed! Our patrons have access to fourteen of these new self-contained tablets. These are the only devices that are on shelf in security cases. I don’t have much to do with these since they are an easy one-touch reset, as opposed to the LeapFrog products that can take me a while to clear private data from.

These examples aren’t the only circulating kits that my library has on the shelf. We also have three gardening kits, two Osmo kits, and a whole slew of circulating kits coming (Ozobots, Spheros, Little Bits just to name a few off the top of my head). I’m also in the planning stages to create more Book Bundles and Parenting Packs.

Is anyone else circulating kits for early literacy in their library? Do you want more specific details? Please feel free to email me at simplykatie[at]gmail[dot]com or comment with your quick questions.

– Katie Salo
Early Literacy Librarian
Indian Prairie Public Library


  1. Leanne

    I absolutely love this idea and would like to implement it at my rural library. I’m concerned about cost though. Is it possible on a tiny budget?

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