Author Archives: cen

The Last LittleeLit Blog Post

One of the very first LittleeLit blog posts (December 1, 2011) ended thusly:

eBooks for children: a brave new world.  Let’s talk about it!

I started this little blog with a load of questions and no idea where to find the answers:

What does the invention of tablet technology mean for young children?

What is MY young family’s relationship with technology going to be like?

What do these new formats of children’s literature mean for libraries?

How might library services like storytime be effected by the influx of interactive media geared at preschoolers?

While these questions are still not completely answered, we have come a long way in our understanding of new media for children. There are even more questions, but now there are even more librarians working out the answers together. The LittleeLit blog will be shuttered as of today, but the Google group will remain open for anyone who wishes to ask questions or search the archive.

LittleeLit leaves as its legacy a series of documents that sought to more fully understand the role of the children’s librarian in the children’s media marketplace:

The LittleeLit Book is freely available for anyone to use. Thanks to Amy Koester for shepherding us, and to all of the authors: Carissa Christner, Claudia Haines, Genesis Hansen, Anne Hicks, Jennifer Hopwood, Carisa Kluver and Tess Prendergast.

The results from the Young Children, New Media & Libraries Survey as published on the ALSC Blog, as an infographic and in Children and Libraries. Thanks to Liz Mills, Emily Romeijn-Stout, Amy Koester and Joanna Ison.

Our white paper, Media Mentorship in Libraries Serving Youth, which was adopted by the ALSC board on March 11, 2015. Thanks to Claudia Haines, Amy Koester, Dorothy Stoltz and the ALSC Board and staff.

More thank yous:

Thank you again, Amy Koester (rhymes with rooster), for being involved in almost every LittleeLit project, managing the blog for so long, for calling out BS, and for always, always, always closing the deal. You’re a force of nature.

Thank you to Carisa Kluver, who took many, many airplanes and car rides so we could work together. Thank you for being exceptionally good with the following: ambiguity, seat-of-the-pants dramatics, and post-workshop enchiladas. Only the best screw-top Riesling Rancho has to offer for you, honey.

Thank you to Claudia Haines for your calmness under pressure, mad research skills, and apparently 6 pairs of arms (how is it that you DO so much?!)

Thank you to Dorothy Stoltz, who is a philosopher, a diplomat, a naturalist, a visionary, and a model truly worthy of imitation.

Thank you to Dr. Chip Donohue for your mentorship and friendship, and for always having a door open for librarians.

Thank you to Dr. Karen Nemeth for introducing me to the world of webinars, and for your wisdom that always comes with a laugh.

Thank you to Lisa Guersney, who was the inspiration for a lot of the work we did at LittleeLit, and who finds the time to eat flowers in a garden with me.

Thank you to Genesis Hansen for starting LittleeLit with me in the first place. You’re one of the adultiest adults I’ve ever met.

Thank you to Carissa Christner for your energy, creativity and do-itiveness.

Thanks to Anne Hicks for always being willing to step up to the mic.

Thank you to Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen….. we’re not done yet 🙂


Western Maryland Regional Library: Transforming Preschool Storytime Plugged & Unplugged

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting Maryland again to present Transforming Preschool Storytime: Plugged & Unplugged (it was our pilot session) with my good friend Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen. Our presentation included some new information from her new book Transforming Preschool Storytime: A Modern Vision and a Year of Programs (co-written with Melanie A. Hetrick & Celia Yitzhak). We worked with an amazing group of librarians from Western Maryland (thank you, Julie Zamostny for having us!) and then also got to spend some time with Carroll County & Baltimore County (MD) librarians. Many thanks to Marisa Conner & Dorothy Stoltz for taking such good care of me while I was there, and for facilitating such a fruitful & inspiring conversation! Here is our resource list, which includes all media mentioned in the session, plus our slides. Many, many thanks to Carly Reighard and Stephanie Long for letting me put them on the spot about their amazing programs. Carly has shared some of her app guides with us. App Guide- Fall 2014 Core Apps Frosty Fun Apps Music Apps

Blast From the Past Wisdom from Claire Moore at Darien Library

I was doing some research recently on what libraries were implementing in the way of new media &  kids, and Claire Moore from the Darien Library shared a presentation with me that she had done at the New England Library Association conference in 2012. What’s awesome is that her slide provide a kind of historical backdrop for the kind of work we at LittleeLit are busy figuring out; the hows and whys of emergent media in libraries. Take a look at what Claire put together; much of it still applies, even though the technology itself has moved on since then! Also, I see both Gretchen & Kiera in there! Hi ladies!

Balancing “Screen Time” Repost From Happy Stuff

Many families are struggling to figure out how to best manage screentime in their own home.  The following is a re-post (lack of capitalization included!) from Happy Stuff, which is run by the inspiring Carissa Christner, long-time LittleeLit contributor and soon-to-be trainer. thanks for sharing balancing “screen time” Carissa!

balancing screen time

i’ve been thinking a lot about the healthiest ways to incorporate apps and technology into our family life. many parents deal with the issue by setting a daily time limit, and while that seems so nice and tidy and easily quantifiable (there’s even an app for that!), i know that if i were playing an interesting game and i was just about to complete a challenge and someone told me i had to turn the game off right at that moment …. i’d whine and complain and possibly even throw a giant fit too. i would also feel like i had a right to use up every minute of my maximum allowed screen time every day, as though if i didn’t use it all up, i’d be getting cheated out of my rightful screen time.

if the happy family tried that option, i’d spend large portions of my day having conversations about “just 5 more minutes” or “but i’ve only had 25 minutes of screen time!” or “that screen time didn’t count because i didn’t like that game” or “what if i called granna on facetime, would that count?”* and other “referee” questions in which i’d be constantly re-interpreting and re-creating arbitrary rules. that makes me cranky. plus, those questions are not teaching my child the bigger life lesson of how to include technology in a balanced diet of daily activities.

my friend carisa kluver created this wonderful model for teaching kids how to balance their own media diet (follow this link! read the article!), but i found that it was too abstract for me to explain to my 4 year old, so i broke down the first component — balance — into a system that he could understand and for now, i’ll judge the quality and engagement components myself.


Want to learn the details of Carissa’s “balance system”?  Read the rest of this post at Happy Stuff!

All Press is Good Press!

There have been a few mentions of media mentors, children’s librarians and LittleeLit on the interwebs recently! Our friend Lisa Guernsey from the New America Foundation wrote about us on the Joan Ganz Cooney Center’s Blog. Please see More than E-book vs. Print: The Concept of ‘Media Mentors,’ Lisa references the article that two LittleeLit Advisory board members, Dr Marianne Martens & Dorothy Stoltz penned in SLJ’s Up For Debate: eBooks feature.

Our friends at the TEC Center also have a new website, which is full of resources and Show me!” videos about best practices for young kids & new media, and LittleeLit is counted among the TEC Center’s friends, right alongside the Fred Roger Center, Children’s Technology Review, NAEYC & others. What an honour!

Here’s Chip’s intro to the new website.


Beginning Apps for Modeling Joint Media Engagement: Recommendations by Emily Lloyd

In a conversation on the LittleeLit Google Group about apps to use to show parents how to use apps with their kids, the inspiring Emily Lloyd suggested the following apps. What other apps might work well in storytime? Join the discussion!

  1. Finger Paint with Sounds (free–also for storytime)
  2. Lazoo: Squiggles! (free)
  3. OnceAppon (free–could also use in storytime–could all make avatar together)
  4. Endless Alphabet (expensive but worth it–also for storytime)
  5. My A-Z (find under iPhone apps–free–I also use this in storytime)
  6. Toca Kitchen Monsters (free)
  7. Toca Tailor Fairy Tales (free)
  8. Toca Town OR My PlayHome Stores
  9. Hideout: Early Reading (free)
  10. Sock Puppets (free, a little challenging at first, but then a lot of fun–can also use in storytime)
  11. Sago Mini Doodlecast 

Edit: Emily says that Sago Mini Doodlecast should be on the list, too, so it’s #11 on this top ten list 🙂

And, if you like felt/flannel boards: Felt Board: Mother Goose on the Loose (free, storytime)

Are Ebooks Better than Print Books? SLJ Up For Debate

Two of our LittleeLit Advisory Board members, Dorothy Stoltz & Dr Marianne Martens, recently wrote a piece for School Library Journal based around the theme “Are Ebooks Better than Print Books?” (which is a bit like saying “Are puppets better than shakers in storytime?” since they serve different purposes),

Dorothy & Marianne’s article is entitled Ebooks Enhance Development of the Whole Child, and Kathy Kleckner wrote The Book Is Far Superior to the Ebook for Early Literacy. What I like about these articles is that we often agree much more than we disagree, however much we try to polarize the issue further.

People come first, technology comes second.

Read both articles on SLJ’s Up for Debate .



We helped Chip write a book!


Carisa Kluver and I co-wrote a chapter for Technology and Digital Media in the Early Years: Tools for Teaching and Learning, edited by our friend & mentor, Chip Donohue. We’ll be presenting on the book at the NAEYC annual conference in Dallas in November. I hope to see many other librarians there!

Here’s the blurb:

A Co-Publication of Routledge and NAEYC

Technology and Digital Media in the Early Years offers early childhood teacher educators, professional development providers, and early childhood educators in pre-service, in-service, and continuing education settings a thought-provoking guide to effective, appropriate, and intentional use of technology with young children. This book provides strategies, theoretical frameworks, links to research evidence, descriptions of best practice, and resources to develop essential digital literacy knowledge, skills and experiences for early childhood educators in the digital age.

Technology and Digital Media in the Early Years puts educators right at the intersections of child development, early learning, developmentally appropriate practice, early childhood teaching practices, children’s media research, teacher education, and professional development practices. The book is based on current research, promising programs and practices, and a set of best practices for teaching with technology in early childhood education that are based on the NAEYC/FRC Position Statement on Technology and Interactive Media and the Fred Rogers Center Framework for Quality in Children’s Digital Media. Pedagogical principles, classroom practices, and teaching strategies are presented in a practical, straightforward way informed by child development theory, developmentally appropriate practice, and research on effective, appropriate, and intentional use of technology in early childhood settings. A companion website provides additional resources and links to further illustrate principles and best practices for teaching and learning in the digital age.

Vote for our SXSW panel: Hacking the Culture of Learning in the Library

Vote for our SXSWedu panel: Hacking the Culture of Learning in the Library

Here’s our description:

How do we help learners of all ages stay curious, develop their passions, immerse themselves in learning? Welcome to the library. Libraries are the informal learning space that encourages exploration and discovery and librarians lead in creating new opportunities to engage learners and make learning happen. Libraries are the incubation space to hack education; to create new paradigms where learners own their education, librarians mediate learning, and learning outside school walls is legitimized.


Marijke Visser American Library Association
Christopher Harris Genesee Valley Educational Partnership
Cen Campbell

Voting info is as follows:

Community voting accounts for 30% of the final score for your session proposal. Remember, this is not a popularity contest, but an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to engage a community. Another 40% is contributed by the SXSWedu Advisory Board, and the remaining 30% is from SXSWedu staff evaluation.

Public voting will open at 10AM Monday, August 11 and close at midnight Friday, September 5.


PanelPicker Vote 1

Thinking Beyond the App for Older Kids With Autism by Tina Dolcetti

alineI have a somewhat tech based program one hour program I offered today for those who provide programs for older children and teens with autism. I have a small but strong core group who communicate mainly through iPads and communication devices.

We start our day off with a brief demonstration of what we are doing that day. I place picture signs on our felt board. Our schedule remains the same: Crafts, followed by movement activities, then books.

Each session, I hook my device (phone or iPod) to a CD player to play background music based in part on the special interests of participants. Yes, my playlist includes Shakira, Toy Story, Barney, the Wiggles and Katie Perry.

This week, our craft was decorating iPad covers that I had purchased inexpensively at our local dollar store using dollar store stickers and left over duct tape.

Our movement game was app-themed. Because half of the group loves Toy Story, I designed a real life version of the app Smash It. In the app, Buzz throws objects to knock aliens off of block towers. In real life, I taped pictures of aliens to shirt-boxes that were left over from another craft, and left over boxes from book shipments. With each successful ‘knockdown’ an additional level is added to the tower to increase the difficulty in knocking it over!

I must admit that most of the success of the one hour program was due to the initiative of the mentor that accompanied each teen incorporating him or her into the activity.

Tina Dolcetti
Children’s Librarian,
Moose Jaw Public Library
MISt, University of Toronto