Language Apps Pour Les Enfants

In the early days of our Libros y Cuentos bilingual storytime, I would try and integrate some language apps into the program. With a small group, apps such as Bunny Fun: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes fit well with our Parts of the Body lesson. At the time it was a challenge to discover usable apps for storytime that were also good enough to recommend to parents. Thankfully developers have produced more options for kids interested in language learning via a tablet. Below are apps that are well designed, easy to navigate, and full of interactive ways to grasp definitions, pronunciation, and even a new alphabet are key. Kids Learn Mandarin This free game-based app takes players on a journey around China with Pei Pei the Panda. The digital curriculum includes word games, Chinese character tracing, and a badge earning option for tracking progress. Kids will learn a total of…


Staying Connected: Tech News for Patrons

The annual technology series at our library has revamped itself several times over the past few years. Moving from a more self- directed course structure through Gretchen Caserotti’s 21 Things program, to a weekly dose of tech news, we have sought out a commitment free way to inform patrons. Desiring to expand our audience, and noticing a large amount of senior patrons at our technology classes for parents, we collaborated with adult services to market the events for kids, teens, parents, and other adults in the community. All our patrons can now receive weekly tech emails bringing them up to speed on resources and trends such as wearable health tech and online privacy. Finding opportunities for dialogue is always a goal of the program, and there continues to be an adult audience for evaluating and selecting apps, discussing online security, and device troubleshooting. What seems to draw in younger patrons…


Digital Services Despite the Storm

Trapped inside this weekend, like many Northeast residents, I became restless after just a few hours of being snowbound. Avoiding my Saturday librarian duties, as my library announced its closure early Friday, I searched to see what many libraries in the area were doing in terms of marketing their services amidst winter storm Jonas. One thing that moving online has accomplished is a way to engage with patrons and the opportunity for users to access services despite inclement weather closures. Even if the physical doors are closed, there is still an opportunity to share all the digital resources that the library offers. After sledding and snowball fights, families might be taking respite online with social media, or at least posting family albums of #jonas2016. The Adult Programming Librarian, who manages our library Tumblr, did not break for the storm.  Many librarians reached out to followers no matter what the circumstances….


App Round Up 2015

As the year rounds out this week, it’s time to reflect on some of the most noteworthy apps from 2015. The week after the holidays is a high traffic time in libraries for new tablet owners wanting ebook assistance and app recommendations. One of the most thorough previews for the year was The Guardian’s 10 Children’s App Trends for 2015. A thoughtful piece for parents on what’s on the horizon for storytelling, music creation, and 3D printing apps for kids. The annual KAPi (Kids at Play Interactive) Awards honor the best in interactive media for children. The winners for 2016 will be announced in late December and honored in January. The app winners are broken down into Best Children’s App for Pre-readers and Best Children’s App for Older Children. One app to own is Crazy Gears from the developer Seven Academy who came out with last year’s Busy Shapes. Both…


Hour of Code is Approaching

As December approaches there is still time to plan for Hour of Code at your library. Computer Science Education Week is December 7 to 13, and is a global initiative to make the computer sciences available to all children. Last year President Obama even took part and became the first president to ever write a line of code using JavaScript! There are many resources online to inspire those that might feel ill-equipped at teaching coding to kids, many which have been shared on the ALSC Blog by librarians from Fayetteville Free Library and Los Angeles Public Library. In 2015 Coding offerings at our library gathered a lot of steam, and much to our surprise some of the classes began to have waitlists of over 50 students. Our foray into this area of the computer sciences began in 2012 when Gretchen Caserotti began Codor Dojo, a program that relies on mentors…


Jr. Web Designers Find Their Voice

As our library prepares to launch a new website in 2016, the User Experience librarian is conducting interviews with both staff and patrons to aid in the design process. I was thrilled that she suggested coming to the September meeting of our library’s Kids Advisory Board to gather their thoughts. In addition to being avid patrons, this crew of kids happen to be the most tech-savvy group I know. Not only do they keep us current when it comes to preferred gaming systems, but they also assist in facilitating tech programs. Asking kids how they navigate both the website and catalog was quite eye-opening and confirmed that it’s not just grownups that access the library’s website to see what’s new for books and programs. Not only do these tweens place holds on books independently, but they also frequently browse our digital catalogs like Overdrive and Hoopla for books and music….


eBooks on the Decline? News On the Digital Shift

The eBook discussion was in full force this week as the New York Times wrote about declining eBook sales in the beginning of 2015. Also a surprise to digital book lovers was the announcement that Oyster was shutting down. The “Netflix for Books,” company is providing refunds for its customers, and CEO and co-founders are heading to Google Play. The news allowed many librarians to breath a sigh of relief, and many within the industry felt that it was far from shocking. Libraries across the country have poured money into their digital materials, growing those materials to provide for an increase in patrons who prefer eReaders. Vendors like Overdrive have also focused on making the discovery and check-outs of eBooks easier for kids with the eReading Room. Is that truly enough to guide young readers into reading solely on a device? The New York Times piece discusses observations by some…


Setting the Stage with Tech

The Summer Reading program this season has had a special place in the children’s department’s heart as we unanimously chose to go with a Lights! Camera! Action theme. We are a group of cineastes and Broadway enthusiasts, and were hoping to share our love of the big screen and stage to inspire some upcoming filmmakers, set designers, and makeup artists. Looking back on our programming this summer, technology had a huge presence in providing kids with an opportunity to explore various ways of storytelling and performance. Perhaps you can also add to your programming repertoire! Using the TableTop Moviemaking set, mini-movie makers built their own set to develop a scene or entire film depending on the length of the class. The studio is easy to assemble and we asked each group to develop their own scenes with the included characters and props. LED lights can also be used to adjust…