On Developing iPad Programming: Part I, by Cindy Wall
Almost three years ago, I discovered the joy of children’s apps and plunged headlong into an amazing journey that has been so much fun for my patrons, and for me. I started with an iPad storytime and enjoyed it so much that I decided to add iPads to other programming. Soon, everyone was joining in on the fun, and our department had iPad programming for most ages.
An earlier program created an opportunity to apply for the Every Child Ready to Read grant. There was some discussion about whether or not the grant could be used for iPads and apps (it could!). This discussion led to my being asked to speak on iPad programming at the Connecticut Library Support Staff Section conference, and then at the Connecticut Library Association’s (CLA) annual conference.
It was a great opportunity not only to speak to, but also to meet and talk with librarians after the speech. Since CLA, I’ve had many librarians visit, phone, and email. They all had questions about how to start their own iPad programs. While some of the questions were specific to their particular situations, most were things anyone considering adding iPad programming to their library might want to know. These are topics that you and your library might be curious to explore.
At the speech itself, there was a lovely librarian who sheepishly asked, “Screen time is not recommended for young children. If a patron asked you that question, what would you say?” I told her that eTots was a one-on-one interactive sharing experience between a parent and child and not at all the passive experience of sitting a toddler in front of a screen. I also reminded everyone that most parents already allow their children to watch Sesame Street or other educational programming every once in a while. For those not comfortable with screen time, the library also offers many traditional storytimes. I made sure to stress that I wasn’t taking away or invalidating anyone’s choice, but merely adding to the options available at the library. I met up with the sheepish lady at lunch and she told me that she was going to start iPad programming at her library. Screen time was her sticking point, but once overcome, she was ready to embark on her own iPad journey.
Although screen time is a popular initial question, I’ve had numerous questions about handling the iPads themselves. In my next post, I’ll tell you exactly what to do once you receive the iPads, a little about apps and the scoop on the updates required for apps and your iPad’s operating system.Cindy is the head of Children’s Services at Southington Library and Museum in Southington, CT. She has been creating iPad programming for two years and has recently taken to the podium to spread the word about the joys of integrating apps into programming for children of all ages. While Cindy enjoys the traditional duties of a librarian (collection development, reader’s advisory, reference and more), she loves the challenge of creating new, innovative programming.