Touch and Learn at Yuma County Library District by Emily Scherrer
I was very pleased to meet Emily Scherrer at the Early Learning Partnerships Survey (ALSC) & Growing Young Minds Report (IMLS) session at Midwinter in Philadelphia. We caught up with her later and heard a little bit about the innovative and inspiring programs that she is leading at the Yuma County Library District. Here’s what she shared with us:
In the Summer of 2013, Yuma County Library District began work on its new technology project: Touch and Learn. The Touch and Learn project sought to combine early literacy efforts, new technology, and STEAM content. This LSTA grant had two components: First, a digital (tablet) Science Station at the Main Library in the Children’s Department. Secondly, a mobile tablet unit that could be used for story times at the Main Library to introduce non-fiction based apps and stories. Additionally, an outreach component to deliver said story times to the Cocopah Native American Reservation as a collaborative partnership to increase literacy and interest in the Sciences was awarded in the grant.
At the Main Library, we have a six seat “Science Station” in which 6 iPads are mounted to a desk and are loaded with 100 well-reviewed Science apps. In conjunction with that station, we have another 25 or so iPads that we loaded with books and other apps to integrate into a “Science Hour”—basically a story hour for 8-12 year olds where they read ebooks, explore apps, and have discussions using their own iPads. Parent-child discussion is a huge part of the story hours at the library, and classroom discussion is a big part when we take the iPads out of the library to to outreach.
I am currently working on a grant to get a Math Station in another branch in Yuma County.
I had seen a few iPads set up in another library and thought… “How cool would it be to have iPads at the end of each non-fiction aisle so that kids could interact with history while looking it up, etc?” There came the idea for the mobile OPACS that will soon be our only source for looking for a book in the Youth Services department. I’m not sure how “interactive” they will be yet, but I love the idea.
Take a look at our Science Hours program plans.
Emily Scherrer is Youth Services Manager at Yuma County Library District.