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.
While assessing the databases and websites that we feature and promote at our urban public library website, I was daunted with the task of selecting new sites for our Homework Help section. Luckily I was part of a sub-committee, so I was not alone in approaching this work.
Part of the curation process is combing through our current list and eliminating archaic sites. To start, one of the sub-committee members suggested copying and pasting all of the headers and sub-headers of the homework help site into a shared document. After reviewing the sites, in the shared document we recommend whether a site should remain and discuss with other members of the sub-committee via the shared document.
Not only have sites become outdated, but so has curricula. As a result, finding sources that support current curricula can be a challenge. How does one filter through the myriad number of websites, and add them as a reputable source? To help answer this question we found it very helpful to use the ALSC “Great Websites for Kids” page. This document clearly lays out criteria for selecting websites, and is very helpful to guide us selecting websites. Instead of merely adding more sources, this process has led us to focus our links to sources that our part of our existing library database. This helps greatly with our goal of increasing awareness of the library’s databases, and increase usage of our existing holdings.
Yesica Hurd is a Children’s Librarian at the San Francisco Public Library and is writing this post for the ALSC Children and Technology Committee. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.