Children & Technology

Utilizing Technology to Reach Younger Patrons: A Snapshot of a Public and School Library

With public and school libraries closed for the past several weeks due to stay-at-home orders, our youngest patrons are lacking experiences, resources, and contacts that they may have had on a daily basis. Technology has been a tool to connect when available. While our patrons’ resources vary widely, I wanted to take two snapshots of a public library and a school library to see the role that technology played. Heather Acerro, Head of Youth Services for Rochester Public Library in Rochester, Minnesota shared ways that her library is reaching out since the building closed to the public on March 26th. Storytime went online. Folk tales and more were recorded and shared to be watched through the library’s YouTube channel which could then be distributed across their social media as well. Instead of sending children around town, the Quarantine Playlist helped children find some fun in their own surroundings. Distributed on…

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 Early & Family Literacy committee

Digital Outreach and Family Literacy: Children’s Programming in the Time of COVID-19

Over the last five years, there has been an increased awareness of the importance of digital resources and accessibility. In 2015, the New York Public Library began loaning hotspots, and just this past December, Library Journal published an article about how to better promote digital resources because many patrons are unaware they exist. As many libraries across the country have shut their physical doors in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, these e-resources have become even more vital, as has the concept of family literacy. One of the main questions this raises is how can we best continue to serve children and families at this time?   In addition to promoting digital resources like e-books, a vast number of children’s librarians have begun doing virtual storytimes through their library’s social media accounts. In order to determine how effective these practices are, we can turn to O’Connor’s 2017 study Sociocultural Early Literacy Practices…

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 Jonathan Dolce

Children, Pornography and Suicide

red octagon with hand raised palm up in stop gesture

Children, Pornography and Suicide I know that Children, Pornography and Suicide are terms you never want to hear in tandem.  As tough as it is, it is a reality.  Most of us work with children who are at-risk.  And as Chris Crutcher once said, “When you work with at-risk children, you are going to lose some.  I don’t like that answer”. The CDC reported in 2019 that: “the number of young people dying of suicide jumped…56% between 2007 and 2017“ That’s people aged 10-24 years of age, well within our realm of service. While we don’t want to think of any child as being capable of “looking up porn”, the reality is, it is ubiquitous.  We know how to lock our doors from strangers, and how to train children to recognize a multitude of dangers.  We understand that substance abuse claims over 70,000 children every year in the U.S.  But think…

Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

LEGO Robotics Leagues: Your Answer to STEM Programs with Coding and Teamwork

Are you looking for a program idea that merges STEM with teamwork, coding and LEGO?  Why not try setting up a LEGO Robotics League? In its third year at Brooklyn Public library, The Brooklyn Robotics League was offered in 32 branches in 2019 and participates in the NYC FIRST LEGO league program for grades 4-8. The overall goal is to teach youth how to be confident problem-solving members of their community through FIRST LEGO’s core values of gracious professionalism and cooperation.  This is achieved in a process that includes exploring new skills, using creativity to solve problems, applying what was learned, respecting others, embracing differences, teamwork and celebration of the project.