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.

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Free Learning Apps & Games for Families at Home

As a children’s librarian at a public library, I was delighted recently when a parent brought in two kids for a play date. The friends spent the afternoon giggling and playing educational games side by side on our computers. We all know that libraries are about so much more than just books; in this case, the library provided a fun and welcoming space, as well as free access to a suite of learning games that the families would otherwise have to pay for on their own.  However, this visit also reminded me that some of these library benefits don’t extend to at-home use. When the parent asked if the kids could access these same games at home, I had to say no because our library’s subscription is only good on-site.  In the moment, I recommended a few alternatives for free learning games that the parent could check out at home—reliable…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Integrating Technology into Public Library Programs with Bedtime Math

For many public libraries, 2022 saw a slow but gradual return to in-person programming after two years of services altered or disrupted by the pandemic. This past summer was the closest my branch has been to “normal” programming, and we finally hosted our first big school night since 2019 in December. Like other libraries, the long pause has forced us to reassess needs and rethink the programming and services we invest in. Finding ways to expand access to out-of-school learning and creating opportunities for families to engage with each other? are both priorities for my team. So, when a librarian on my staff proposed the idea of creating a series of math enrichment programs last summer, I was all in.    The six-week program was very well-received, and we saw high family engagement throughout. Each session featured a math-themed book and a related hands-on activity. One of the most successful…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Roblox and Kids: What you need to know

During a recent tech lesson, a first-grade student exclaimed, “I play Roblox, and they can scam you!”. And as I listened, she and many of her six-year-old classmates shared their experiences in the game, describing pop-ups and chat boxes, currency and avatars. It was passionate, energetic, and enlightening. As class ended, I began to wonder more about Roblox’s creation and how it could integrate into a teaching and programming moment.