Saddle Up, Colleagues! Apps in Storytime Open Invitation

Ok, well, I’m rousing the troops again.  Here’s what I posted today to get some conversation going about establishing best practices for using apps with kids in libraries.

Hi Everyone,

I am so glad to see that there’s a lot of discussion going on about using apps in storytimes. There are differing opinions on this topic, but the fact remains that the technology is already here, and that it is our professional responsibility as experts in content for kids (regardless of format) to develop some best practices. We need to do this both to guide the use of technology in our programs and collections, and also for communicating effectively to parents and caregivers about the pros and cons of using mobile technology with young children.

Trista recently posted a call for apps that folks have already been using in their storytimes on the pubyav listserv, and I responded with some information about the apps-in-storytime work we’ve been doing at Many of us children’s librarians are already experimenting with using apps in our programs, but there is currently no centralized resource for tips and tricks in this area, though I am working with PLA, ALSC, InfoPeople and a few other organizations to develop some standardized professional development materials (think ECRR or MGOL with apps).

The children’s library community is WAY behind ECE educators, researchers and administrators in making use of mobile tech with young kids; we are not trailblazing here, we are catching up to the rest of the world’s current media use. Young children are already exposed to digital media; there is no question of that, and frankly, any personal opinions on that matter are irrelevant to this discussion. What can we do, as a profession, to give parents and caregivers the best information about HOW (not IF) to use their smart phones and tablets with their kids in the most positive, literacy-supporting way possible?

We are in the middle of a format-based sea-change that spans far beyond libraryland and into publishing, pedagogy, multi-literacies, special needs education, diversity and federal and state policy. It’s a much bigger phenomenon than many librarians realize, yet there is no better profession to step in and make recommendations on the intelligent use of book-based and educational apps with children.

I’d like to invite those of you who are already using apps in your programs, or who would LIKE to use apps in your programs, to contact me off-list or through to discuss working together to develop a community of knowledge in this area. We don’t all need to be re-inventing the wheel on this one, and there are plans already in the works to develop a librarian-curated recommendation service (think Goodreads but for kids apps with recommendations for using apps in programs).

Saddle up, colleagues!



Posted on January 22, 2013, in Apps, Story Time and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Consider me on board, if you’ll have me, Cen. I was with the illustrator and programmers today, working on app 2 of 3 for release this year. Our aim is to produce superb fun, educational apps for 8-11 year olds. They carry UK and US English, and also Welsh text and narration. A junior version is already a bilingual educational tool in the UK. It will be good to share information cross-channel and learn from a collaborative team. Saddle up, indeed!

  2. Developers are welcome in this discussion, too! Librarians need to be working directly with the magicians who are developing the content. Apps can be great tools for supporting linguistic diversity, as you well know! Keep it up!

  3. Delighted by the welcome, Cen. I hope to contribute interesting content both as an author and app creator. It’s been a steep learning curve on the app front. I needed the saddles.

  4. I agree that libraries and librarians need to keep current with technology. I would like to learn more about apps, since we are not currently using them in storytime at our library. I would also like more information as to how apps are being use in storytime (what is the advantage of an app over a flannel story for example) and how the use of apps fits in with ECRR and early literacy. I’m willing to join the discussion and learn more.

  5. i agree that libraries and librarians need to stay current with technology. I would like to join the discussions and learn more about apps, as our library isn’t currently using them. Besides recommendations on the best apps, I would like to know how people are using apps in storytime. For example, why use an app instead of a flannel story? How do apps fit in with ECRR and early literacy?
    Looking forward learning more.

  6. Nancee Dahms-Stinson

    I would love to be part of this group developing a community of knowledge. We have not incorporated digital devices into our storytimes yet (primarily because our IT department has not supplied them for our librarians), but we need to develop some knowledge and guidelines for doing so.

  7. Hi all! As you contact me I’m adding you to our Google group. This is such an important conversation to have!

  8. I was just told my library is getting iPads. How many? I don’t know. When? I don’t know. But it’s my job to figure out what to do with them in the children’s department. I’d love to join this discussion. In fact, I need to!

  9. Ha! Rachel, your post made me laugh. I’m adding you to the group too, and please feel free to ask questions any time about how to implement your programs and develop your app collection. Other will be able to learn from your experience. You are so lucky that you’ve ben TASKED with figuring out what to do with your news iPads! What an opportunity! Trust me, you’ll be able to do some great stuff. Let’s keep this conversation going!

  1. Pingback: Confessions of a far-from-perfect mom « Little eLit

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