Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

New Approaches to Virtual STEM Programs for Kids

When Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) closed to the public nearly a year ago, children’s librarians scrambled to adapt programming to the virtual world. Library Lab STEM programs began with a cooking demonstration showing the chemical reactions in Snickerdoodle cookies and expanded to a variety of science and coding experiments. 

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Listen Up: Let’s Talk About Kids Podcasts

Have you been discovering and listening to kids podcasts more and more this past year? If so, you are not alone! Kids podcasts experienced record-level listening in 2020 and librarians across the country are helping families discover this content. So, if you love listening to kids podcasts, we invite you to come to the table to discuss all aspects of this rising form and its impact on media mentorship and services to children.   Kidcasts in 2020: A Milestone Year Kidcasts, also known as podcasts for kids, have grown to where 1 in 4 kids, ages 6 to 17 now listen to podcasts (Ipsos) and weekly Kids & Family podcast listening increased by 24% in 2020 (Podtrac). As podcast listenership rises, librarians have taken note of content that’s available, especially what is free and accessible. For example, ALSC’s Excellence in Early Learning Digital Media 2020 Committee selected Imagine Neighborhood, a podcast…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Bitmojis in the Library

Back in March, when the Pandemic hit and teachers, librarians, and other educators were scrambling to find creative ways to do remote learning, Bitmoji classrooms were born. Bitmoji isn’t new.  You can create a Bitmoji using either Snapchat or the Bitmoji app and by adding the Google Chrome extension you can insert Bitmojis almost anywhere.  What was new was the use of Bitmojis to create virtual classrooms. Bitmoji Craze for Educators is a Facebook Group that was created by Allatesha Cain in April of 2020 and now has almost 550,000 members.  But what exactly is a Bitmoji classroom and why has it become so popular? A Bitmoji classroom is a virtual space that has hyperlinks to educational videos, read alouds, websites, and more.  Most are created using Google Slides and then used on an LMS system like Google Classroom, Google Sites, Schoology, and Seesaw.  Creators typically create some kind of…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

How to Stay Current on Kids Tech Trends

If you are like me and have been out of the branch since March, it seems a little daunting to stay current on the trends in kids tech. With remote learning being a popular path right now these resources can help you stay connected with your community and patrons in the online world!  One of my go-to quick reference sites is Common Sense Media. They are easily searchable for apps, games, movies and more. They offer quick information about each item and then a review that follows. It’s free and easily accessible online at https://www.commonsensemedia.org/.   Another popular choice is Children’s Technology Review. This is a subscription based site that will email a monthly newsletter of reviews for current children’s technology and interactive media products. The ratings are provided by people with a background in education and child development. https://reviews.childrenstech.com/ctr/about.php  School library journal has a page devoted to technology on their…

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…