Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Online Storytimes: an interview about technology and connecting

From mid-March through July 2020, the Early Learning team of the Salt Lake County Library (18 branches)–Susan Spicer, EL Team Manager, and Tami Austin, EL Senior Librarian and certified Yoga instructor–lead a team of librarians that created 97 Facebook Live Storytimes, including 12 Bedtime Stories & Songs with special guests from museums and other community organizations and 18 Yoga Storytimes. They also offered weekly interactive virtual storytimes starting in June. I had the opportunity to interview these EL programming stars and ask them about the technology they used and how they faced the challenges of suddenly going online with their ages 0 to 5 programming. Interview start TB: So, what kind of equipment and recording devices have you been using and what seems to work the best? TA: Well, I cry a lot. Does that count? TB: Yes!

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Virtual Programming and Patron Privacy

Two boys are side-by-side viewing a computer screen together.

As libraries continue adjusting services and moving toward more virtual programming options, we’ve often found more questions than answers.  As we experiment, share, and grow together, we’ll continue improving how we interact with and touch our communities, even if our physical spaces are inaccessible.  It’s important that as we do so, we don’t overlook a critical piece of library services:  patron privacy and security.  The forthcoming ALSC Virtual Storytime Services Resource Guide will explore these issues and more.  In the meantime, Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, shared some key thoughts for libraries to consider.  We’ve summarized the highlights of our discussion below.

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

“Be Internet Awesome”: A Path to Digital Citizenship

During this pandemic, many people are relying more and more on online resources and education. Now, more than ever, kids need guidance on how to navigate online. This past winter, Jane Piraino of the St. Charles Public Library District in Illinois used Google’s program “Be Internet Awesome” to teach kids best practices for navigating the internet. Hopefully her experience will provide inspiration to librarians and teachers who may be looking to beef up digital learning with practical training. Aimed at kids in grade 3-6, Jane ran this program in the first week of winter break. Coding classes and other tech-minded programming are extremely popular in St. Charles. When she learned of Google’s program, she saw the value in teaching some digital citizenship as a supplement to her sought-after series. Google furnishes presentations to use on categories like “Share with Care,” “Don’t Fall for Fake,” and “It’s Cool to be Kind-”…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Technology with Intention

Children and technology. When these two topics are put together mixed opinions abound. Unfortunately, research on this topic has yet to come up with a consensus about benefits and detriments. (1)  In the future, I’m sure we will have a better handle on how digital interfaces affect people and society. Right now, the answers about children and technology all seem to start with ‘it depends.’ As a youth services librarian in a public library, I didn’t get a lot of training on how to effectively incorporate technology into programming. One of my first big programming failures was an evening bring-your-own-device (BYOD) storytime that got zero attendance. (It turned out that an evening storytime wasn’t a good fit for the area’s demographics, so I failed forward, repurposing the activities to be used in my regular storytimes instead.)

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Assistive Technologies: Spotlight on Utah State Library for the Blind and Disabled

Utah State Library for the Blind and Disabled

The Utah State Library for the Blind and Disabled provides materials found in public libraries in formats accessible to the blind and disabled. Services are provided by the Utah State Library Division in cooperation with the Library of Congress, National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled. Since its fledgling beginnings, the Utah State Library’s Program for the Blind and Disabled has expanded to serve patrons in Utah, Wyoming and Alaska, and also provides braille to people in 23 states nationwide. Today Lisa Nelson provides us with information and insights on this special-format library from her experience of working for the Blind Library Program at the Utah State Library for over 17 years, and as the program manager for 9 years. What is your library’s role within the disability community? The library’s role is to provide informational and leisure reading materials in a format that is accessible to people…

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Assistive Technologies: Spotlight on DC Public Library Center for Accessibility

Image of the White House lawn at the signing of the American with Disabilities Act from the Special Issue of Worklife, p. 3 by the national museum of american history

I spoke to Patrick James of the Center for Accessibility, part of the DC Public Library (DCPL), for this final post in our series highlighting best practices in assistive technology. What is your library’s role within the disability community? DC has a strong disability community.  Gallaudet University, a federally chartered private university for the Deaf, and the American Federation of the Blind, for which Helen Keller was an ambassador, are centered in or around DC.   Since all of DC is federal land, not a state, the federal government influences the library. The DCPL Center for Accessibility’s manager is part of the Office of Disability Rights, part of the federal government.   The Center houses the DC Talking Book and Braille Library, part of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled.  The Center has three librarians: a librarian for the Deaf community, a librarian for the blind community, and…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Assistive Technologies: Spotlight On Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled

Logo for the Ohio Library for the Blind & Physically Disabled

For the second post in our series highlighting best practices in assistive technology, we’re focusing on the Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled (OLBPD).  OLBPD partners with the State Library of Ohio Talking Book Program to serve as a Regional Library for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Library of Congress.  Through this partnership, eligible Ohio borrowers may receive braille and audio materials via postage-free mail.  Their collection includes audio and Braille books and magazines, described DVDs and Blu-Rays, and Playaway pre-loaded digital products.  Today’s interview is with Will Reed, OLBPD Manager, who shares more information about OLBPD’s resources and community impacts. What is your library’s role within the disability community? Will Reed:  OLBPD serves as the regional library for the State of Ohio as part of the National Library Service (NLS) for the Blind and Print Disabled, providing free audio and braille library materials…

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Assistive Technologies: Spotlight On Carrie Banks

Carrie Banks holds a bird puppet and looks at it.

To kick things off for our series highlighting best practices in assistive technology, we reached out to a few specialists in the field.  Carrie Banks has been the Supervising Librarian for Inclusive Services at Brooklyn Public Library in New York since 1997.  She’s taught Including Youth with Disabilities at Pratt Institute (2013-2015) and is active in ALSC as well as ASGCLA where she is serving as the president elect.  In 2014, she substantially revised Including Families of Children with Special Needs: A How to Do It Manual for Librarians. She also published Libraries and Garden: Growing Together, written with Cynthia Mediavilla in the Spring of 2019. What recommendations do you have for libraries hoping to add or expand assistive technologies? Work with the individuals you hope to serve, their families and the agencies that work with them to determine what is needed and what would work.  This will also help…