Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Engaging Families and Technology with Byte-Sized Programming

Bee Bots, Osmos, and iPads are a great introduction to early technology.

Ready to introduce new technology, but uncertain about patron interest?  Why not try what we call “byte-sized programming”?  It introduces a variety of tech in a station-based environment.  The more stations, the more entry points you have to engage your families with tech.  You can introduce a variety of topics that appeal to all generations.  Plus, these programs are easily customized to your space, patron interests, and budget, and are held on a come-and-go basis.

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

On the Road to Early Learning

The future of the economy is in STEM, that’s where the jobs of tomorrow will be according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Employment in occupations related to STEM—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—is projected to grow exponentially for the foreseeable future. It has been well documented that underprivileged children have a steep hill to climb to match their more affluent peers about STEAM education. In Chicago, the Chicago Public Library STEAM team is helping to bridge the gap in the neediest neighborhoods. The STEAM Team is a group of outreach library staff who travel to Head Starts and Early Learning Sites throughout the city of Chicago to conduct STEAM-powered storytimes for pre-school aged children. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. Introducing these skills to kids at a young age helps make them more successful in everyday life. The STEAM Team had their first…

Blogger Kaitlin Frick

STEAM Programming: Coding with Character(s)

Some of you may remember my first post for ALSC, published just a few months ago, entitled An Old-School Spin on STEAM Programming. It’s focus was an at-that-time recent program a colleague and I had run at 53rd Street, where school-age children were presented with a series of Choose Your Own Adventure-style challenges. Each week followed a different theme (pirates, space, etc.), and participants were asked to complete a series of STEAM projects, from pattern matching to coding, to aid them in their quests. A dear friend of mine (who is one of the best librarians I know) took this concept to the next level by creating a Super Mario-themed adventure that far surpassed the original programming. (No, I’m not putting myself down. Her programming is just so beyond what I could have created, it’s unbelievable.) To get an idea of how this program came together, I sent some interview…

ALA Annual 2018

STEAM-y Library Programs at #alac18

You can’t be a children’s librarian today without being inundated with STEAM, STEM, STREAM requests from your admins, patrons, councilmembers, educators, and children themselves. It has been a buzzword for the last 10 years or so… but what does that actually mean at your library? I really liked this program because it talked about the theory and why of STEM and how we were already doing a lot of it and just additional framework for how we can think and talk about STEM as we develop programs and empower parents. As one presenter put it– we want parents to feel like they have achieved things and accomplished things! And then beyond the framework– there was a chance to interact and play with materials and PRACTICE discussing STEM questioning with ourselves and colleagues in the room. I mention that because as one of the presenters mentioned– this takes practice, there is no…

Live Blogging

Greetings from ALA Annual 2018

Greetings! I am on a break from Bridging the Tech Gap session at #alaac18. This is my first ALA conference, and I am already geeking out over everything. Loving this session about how to incorporate youth in planning events and using technology in the library. Youth start as users, then testers, then informants, and, eventually design partners. Ask open-ended questions! Be a “guide on the side” rather than a “sage on the stage.” Getting great ideas and meeting/working with wonderful librarians from all over the country!

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Libraries Rock: Between Summer READing ‘n’ Hard Places

Summer READing is upon us! So, you’ve got everything lined up for summer.  Performers – check!  Special storytimes – check!  Crafts – check!  Libraries rock! But what about the unexpected?  It’s all happened to us – a performer cancels at the last minute, or a crucial staff member calls in sick.  Will you be ready? Here’s some quick and easy hands-on activities that can be turned into full-blown, hour long programs!  All on the turn of a dime and just as affordable!  Rock – I mean – read on! Libraries Rock – Literally! Zen or Sharpie Stones What could be easier?  Take some rocks, get some Sharpies and create simply patterns all over them! These can be as simple or as complex as you want: Mini Rock Garden Easy mode: Get a shoe box lid, add some sand and rocks and create patterns with a plastic fork. Source: Pinterest Tip: Put…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Wearable Tech Programming

The ALSC Children’s and Technology Committee is always looking for great program ideas to use technology with kids. My co-worker, Phyllis Davis, has become the STEAM Queen at my library district and I knew she’d be the perfect person to talk about soft circuits and wearable tech programs at the Library. Phyllis Davis is the Youth Services Manager at The Library Station, part of the Springfield-Greene County Library District in Springfield Missouri.  What got you interested in doing wearable tech programs for kids? My interest in wearable tech and soft circuits began when I worked at the Matteson Public Library in Illinois about six years ago.  Makerspaces were in their infancy in public libraries.  We were buying 3-D printers and trying out all kinds of activities found in Make magazine.  I happened upon the work of Leah Buechley at the High Low Tech Group at M.I.T.  She is the inventor of…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Last Year’s “Light the Way” Grant Winner: Partnering with Juvenile Detention Facilities to Provide Maker-Space Outreach and Programming Using Music

The J. Lewis Crozer Library in Chester and the Middletown Free Library are located just over six miles apart in southeastern Pennsylvania. However, the libraries’ service populations are very different. The city of Chester has an unemployment rate of 9% and a poverty rate of 33%, with almost half of those under the age of 18 living in poverty. The city of 34,000 is also among the most diverse in the state, with a population that is approximately 75% African American, 17.2% White, and 9% Hispanic. Middletown has a suburban population of 15,807, which is 93.7% White and 3.1% African-American, and a median annual income of $77,000. However, the two libraries have a shared goal of expanding outreach and programming offerings for young people who are underserved by libraries.