Children & Technology

Children’s Makerspaces in Public Libraries

In the last several decades, the landscape of public libraries changed from what one might consider a stereotypical book storehouse to an eclectic gathering space not just for materials, but for people. To remain relevant in their communities, public libraries adapted to this shift in focus, working to provide more versatile and technological resources for their community members. One trend in particular that has sprung from this change is  the concept of makerspaces. A relatively young concept as far as technology goes, this  idea has taken root  and managed to establish itself in libraries across the country. It is believed that the concept of “making” was first discussed in 2005, as part of an article in  Make – a magazine that published information regarding maker projects. Since then, many libraries have taken the steps to build their own makerspaces filled with different types of technology.  At the very least, most…

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 Chelsey Roos

Simple Ways to Be More Inclusive of Autistic Families

Making your programs more inclusive of autistic families (and families with other sensory needs or disabilities) doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money. There are small, simple changes that you can make in an hour or less today that will help autistic families feel welcome and supported at your library programs (not just storytime). Here are four ways to get started.

Blogger Chelsey Roos

Supporting AAC-Users in the Library

October is AAC Awareness Month! AAC stands for “augmentative and alternative communication,” and it’s often used to refer to a tool that can help someone communicate without speech, like a picture board or a tablet with a communication application. It can be as simple as a white board, or as high tech as a computer that can detect the user’s eye movements and translate them to speech. Someone who is non-speaking, or has difficulty speaking, can use their AAC to communicate with others. Let’s learn a little bit about AAC devices and how you can support AAC-users in the library.

Guest Blogger

Accessibility of All Sorts #PLA2022

The #PLA2022 Virtual Conference had multiple opportunities to learn more about accessibility, while the conference itself utilized captioning throughout and sign language interpreters for the headline speakers. This struck me as especially pertinent in the week that the movie CODA was recognized for outstanding performances of its cast – many of whom are deaf – and that I am writing a reading response for Cece Bell’s graphic novel El Deafo. Sonia and Scott Norris spoke on Scalable Web Accessibility Training for Library Staff in Every Position. They shared fundamental accessibility components as well as more advanced ones for your library’s web team to utilize. The training should be meaningful and relatable to staff while complying with state laws. Just as we translate library information to a variety of languages, and utilize multiple marketing tools to reach different audiences, we should strive to meet the needs of the members of our…


Is Your Online Library for Everyone?

Libraries Are For Everyone by Hafuboti

This blog post explores six common web accessibility myths and implications for online library services and programs. Stay tuned for even more information and resources to help you serve diverse children and families in the forthcoming ALSC Virtual Storytime Services Guide! Myth #1: People with disabilities don’t use the internet or interact with my library online. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 4 U.S. adults experiences disability. The CDC estimates that about one in six children between 3 and 17 years of age have one or more developmental disabilities. There is no library community (or library staff) without disabilities! If individuals with disabilities aren’t interacting with us online, it’s not because they don’t want to – it’s because we’ve made our web content and virtual services inaccessible. Myth #2: It’s not really that important to make youth library programs accessible. Most people with disabilities…

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…