Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Celebrating Diwali with a STEAM Activity: Fostering Cultural Competency in Libraries

A photograph of the diya card fully decorated and with the LED lit.

As librarians, we strive to create inclusive spaces that celebrate diversity and promote cultural understanding. Diwali, also known as Deepavali or the Festival of Lights, is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world. Typically lasting for five days, it is observed by Hindu, Sikh, Jain, and some Buddhist communities. Diwali is a time of joy, gratitude, and hope for millions of people. Embracing this multicultural event enhances our understanding of different traditions and creates a welcoming environment for families that celebrate Diwali. A fun and easy Diwali STEAM activity that you can do at your library is to create a paper circuit diya card. A diya is an oil lamp that is lit during the holiday to symbolize the triumph of good and light over evil and darkness.

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Media Mentorship and AI Podcast Resources

Last month, the Children and Technology committee posted about creating a podcast. We hope you read our August post and listened to our podcast on artificial intelligence (AI). This month, we are bringing you some of the resources our committee members consulted for the podcast. With the rise of AI, there is no doubt you will be using it in your daily life, both personally and professionally. 

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Media Mentorship & AI: Creating an ALSC Committee Podcast

Since joining the Children and Technology committee in 2020, we’ve furthered the committee’s charge of educating and encouraging youth librarians to be leaders on technology issues, and disseminating information on these issues to the larger ALSC community. As part of our committee requirements we expect all members to publish at least one ALSC blog post on a current subject relating to technology. In 2022 we hosted an ALSC Chat on post-pandemic hybrid library programming. We consistently update the ALSC Digital Media Resources guide with the most current topics and resources. And we have built in innovative practices to our meetings – including using the digital platform Padlet to record our monthly check-ins. For further reading, check out this blog post published by my former co-chair on other ways we use tech tools within our virtual committee.  That said, with time left in the 2022-2023 term to complete a final project,…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Internet Censorship and Libraries

In recent years, schools and libraries have been the target of extreme censorship attacks concerning the materials they house. Children and teens are primarily affected by these attacks, as it limits what information they can freely access at any given time. The problem we face in these battles is determining who has the authority to decide what is objectionable versus what isn’t. But what happens when these attacks occur beyond the scope of reading materials and start to affect other information access points? As librarians, we must inform ourselves regarding censorship in other forms, especially concerning our youngest patrons. Censorship and the Internet: Internet censorship is one of the more underhanded forms of censorship that happen on a day-to-day basis, often without people even knowing it exists. The internet is a vast communication and information network, and industries, organizations, and people work to control access to that information through various…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

3D Printing for Children

About ten years ago, my library got a 3D Printer. A Makerbot Replicator. Around that time, we heard that a library north of us was doing 3D printing school visits, so a colleague and I drove north to find out what they were doing. Credit is definitely due to that library – the Innisfill ideaLab and Library – for the seeds of what became a giant endeavor that centered around dragging a Makerbot Mini around the elementary schools in my town. Some of the things that made 3D printer-themed school visits wonderful no longer exist, but what I can write about is what I am still doing with 3D printing and our youth patrons in the library. 3D Printing for Kids as a program Program Tips The Two-Week Schedule Week 1 This week includes covering basics like how the printer works, how much it costs, and/or what limitations there are to…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Coding in Early Learning

As more schools add coding requirements in higher grades, offering coding opportunities for younger children can help give them a foundation for future learning. The need goes beyond success in middle or high school – it is also becoming important for career success. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, early coding experiences help children build skills that are “valuable for [their] future success in our digital world.” Fortunately for children’s librarians who are uncomfortable with coding in general, the options available for pre-readers are accessible and easily adapted to library programming. Coding Stories Coding stories are one way to introduce early coding in library programs. The NAEYC article linked below offers step-by-step instructions to retell familiar stories with coding. First, make a grid. Then work together with children to map out a character’s movements through the story. This helps children learn computational thinking concepts like…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Accessible Tech for Youth at the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library

This post is by guest blogger Ivy Kuhrman, the Young Adult Librarian at the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library in New York City. The ALSC Children and Technology committee invited Ivy to write this piece to share information about the Andrew Heiskell Library’s innovative use of accessible technology in their youth services. The Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library provides free library services to patrons living in New York City and Long Island who are blind, low vision, or otherwise unable to read standard print. In addition to free and accessible reading materials in both braille and audio formats and a robust calendar of library programming for all ages, we offer access to a wealth of accessible technology for patrons at the library and beyond!

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Coding and Beyond: Inspiring young girls to pursue technology careers

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, women are underrepresented in the technology industry – comprising just 25% of the workforce. These careers are often higher-paid, and technology skills are in high demand, so it should be an important mission of libraries to help ensure that young girls have opportunities to explore technology-related careers. (In this article, “girls” refers to all who identify as girls and is inclusive of gender-nonconforming children.) Many librarians are intimidated by the prospect of creating STEM programming for young children, but it can be an exciting and rewarding endeavor, with benefits that go beyond simply learning how to code.