Category Archives: collaboration

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 🙂


Thoughts on the End Goal of Tech & New Media with Kids

Did you see this commercial for GoldieBlox on during the Super Bowl?

Our friends at Oceanhouse Media wanted to make sure we had seen it, because they loved it so much they put together a whole blog post about how the work we’re all collectively doing is important because it’s supporting the next generation of coders and technology folks–including girls, who still don’t have an equal seat at the table.

Watch the video, read the blog post, and think about how the work that you are doing in the library is serving children–early literacy age and beyond–to know about, have interest in, and develop skills for the world that we live in now. Doing that well is a pretty important end goal for any of us involved in technology and new media with children.

Meeting with Fred Rogers, TEC Center at Erikson, ALSC, Children’s Technology Review, LittleeLit &


On October 3 & 4, 2013, a small group of individuals representing a few mighty organizations met at the Technology in Early Childhood Center at the Erikson Institute in Chicago, IL. The group (above) included Iara Fuenmayor (TEC Center),  Joanna Ison & Aimee Strittmatter (ALSC), Rita Catalano & Mike Robb (Fred Rogers Center), Carisa Kluver (, Cen Campbell (, Chip Donohue & Amanda Armstrong (TEC Center) and Warren Buckleitner (Children’s Technology Review, though Warren joined us remotely). The group got together to discuss an idea that we’ve been working on at LittleeLit for some time now; unified, wide-scale librarian involvement in the children’s digital publishing marketplace. Chip Donohue offered to facilitate our little convention after meeting with Carisa Kluver, Starr Latronica (ALSC President) & me at ALA Annual in Chicago right after the A to Zoo for Apps conversation starter, and during our 2 day meeting in October we discussed the need for children’s librarians to be much more actively involved in developing resources and programming that include new media.

Initially my plan was to develop a comprehensive app evaluation, curation and aggregation tool similar to A to Zoo but for digital media, but the emphasis of the project has shifted away from the tool and more toward the training. I do think there is a pressing need for a tool that is populated with data (and metadata!) by children’s librarians, but the development of a large piece of software with buy-in from many different parties seems to require more bandwidth than most of us can handle right now, and there are concerns that the marketplace is changing so quickly, and there are many other “recommendation” projects in existence, that the resources and time it would take to build a truly comprehensive tool may not pay off as well in the long run as the training. I’m working on ways to build the development of a tool into the training materials themselves, though, even if it makes use of existing tools or takes more time to build than we’d initially hoped.

The working title for the project is Access, Content & Engagement: Media Mentors @ Your Library and the vision for the project is as follows:

In every community library there will be a media mentor who develops early childhood programming that models the intentional, appropriate and healthy use of mobile technology with young children and recommends high quality, age-appropriate digital media as a part of normal reference & reader’s advisory services.

The plan right now is to go for an IMLS planning grant to expand on the work we’ve been doing through (like individual consulting projects and New Media in Storytime workshops), trainings with Carisa Kluver and the California State Library, as well as Betsy Diamant-Cohen and Mother Goose on the Loose. Through all of these projects we’ve been working toward the development of training resources, the training workshops themselves, and early literacy technology projects within public libraries. For the planning grant we’re seeking partners to both guide the development of the training tools, and partners to act as pilot sites.

The cast of characters who are lending their resources and guidance to this initiative is impressive, and I am humbled by the continued outlay of support for what we’re attempting to do. Not only are the aforementioned institutions lending themselves to the project in an advisory capacity, we also have representatives from the Every Child Ready to Read Oversight Committee, the New America Foundation (Lisa Guernsey, who put the “media mentor” idea in my head in the first place) and representatives from other State Libraries and library systems all around the continent offering their institutions and services.

I have a few months of heavy-duty grant writing ahead of me, but I have a whole team of experienced and enthusiastic people from libraryland and beyond who see the need for guidance in this area, and who realize the potential of the public library to provide that guidance to families and educators who are struggling with managing and using new media with their young charges. The project is still in its infancy and I am working on details about who is going to do what. All we know is that librarians are finally stepping up to fill a very big void, and if we get funded, we’re going to do it nationally.

Many thanks to everyone who joined us in Chicago, especially to Chip & Amanada, our gracious hosts. I look forward to future discussions, preferably where no one gets sick!

Tinker Group Presentation, by Bradley Jones

Tinker is a networking group in the Chicagoland area for library staff who work with children, teens, and technology. We share programming ideas and provide an opportunity to get hands-on with new technology. Participants in our meetings had expressed interest in learning more about “iPads in storytime”. I asked Little eLit’s Cen Campbell to present and she graciously accepted—appearing virtually and speaking with passion and clarity to a group of 50 about joint media engagement in storytime. Please see our meeting recap which includes Cen’s slides, and check out the other interesting kids’ technology goings-on!

Bradley Jones
Youth Technology Librarian
Skokie Public Library

A to Zoo for Apps Conversation Starter Video Uploaded

A special thanks to everyone who came to our A to Zoo for Apps Conversation Starter at ALA in Chicago last weekend! Here’s the video of what transpired for those of you who were unable to make it. We have some next steps in the works with the Erikson Institute and ALSC (and eventually, we hope, the Fred Rogers Center), but nothing I can report on officially yet. Stay tuned, folks. If Little eLit has anything to do with it, this is going to be an unprecedented collaboration, the likes of which has not yet been seen in libraryland. More to come!

Mobile Media, Early Literacy & Digital Storytelling (MGOL2.0/ECRR2.0) at Internet Librarian

intlibOh look! Another conference! Betsy and I are presenting, and I think we’ll have some REALLY cool things to show off by the time October rolls around. Come join us at Internet Librarian in Monterey!

Mobile Media, Early Literacy & Digital Storytelling

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013, 1:30 PST

Cen Campbell, Chidlren’s Digital Services Consultant/Children’s Librarian,
Betsy Diamant-Cohen, Executive Director, Mother Goose on the Loose

This session focuses on using mobile media in traditional early literacy programming with specific examples from Mother Goose on the Loose (MGOL) and Every Child Ready to Read 2 (ECRR2), early literacy programming initiatives that educate and empower parents to support and develop their children’s early literacy development. The next generation of these landmark storytelling frameworks, MGOL 2.0 & ECRR2.0, capitalize on parent education to model positive media behaviors and enforce the concept of joint media engagement as more and more families begin accessing children’s books through mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. Speakers present Apps and eBooks right alongside paper books, and develop resources for parents to provide guidance for age appropriate and high quality digital media interactions for young children.

I made a mistake in my webinar and I can’t do take-backsies, but I can expand the issue a little here.

CLA-springfling-logo.2012I participated in a CLA Spring Fling webinar last week with the fabulous Eva Mitnick (LAPL) and the forward-thinking Elaine Meyers. The webinar was entitled Every Child Reading to Read 2 in Action; Eva talked about implementing ECRR2 at LAPL, Elaine discussed space, and my part was how ECRR2 now includes digital media.

At the end of my session someone asked if it would be appropriate to use an iPad when visiting preschools, and I said that since what we want to do most of all is model for parents and caregivers the best use of media with young children, perhaps we shouldn’t whip out the iPad at every preschool visit. (Not the exact wording, and when the archived version comes out I’ll go back and check). I cringe even admitting that I said that. Preschools teachers are caregivers! We need to be modeling for THEM how to use high quality children’s media with young children, though, to be honest, early childhood educators and their governing organizations are far ahead of libraryland when it comes to the theory, research and official stance taking on the use of digital media with young children. We need to be partnering more with early childhood educators (ie and not attacking them, like the shameful exchange that took place on the ALSC blog recently).

I do think that if you’re considering bringing an iPad with you to a preschool/school visit, you should communicate with the administration/teachers beforehand, because some schools DO have a very strict no-screen policy (like my son’s preschool!) I think I must have been wearing my mom hat and not my librarian hat when I responded to this question. I wish I could contact everyone who attended the webinar and further expand this conversation, but the best I can do is explain myself here, offer what the correct response should have been, and learn from this experience.

I don’t think that the use of an technology in storytime is always appropriate (like I wrote about here); we must alway use the best tools for the job. Sometimes an iPad is appropriate, sometimes it isn’t. Our job is to develop in ourselves the competencies to discern when and how to use which tools, and to communicate to our communities (families, caregivers, preschool teachers, administrators and other community stakeholders) the reasoning behind our inclusion or exclusion of technology in early literacy programs.


Goose 2.0: Training Collaboration with Betsy Diamant-Cohen @betsydc

mgolBetsy Diamant-Cohen and I have been working on ideas for a collaboration between and Mother Goose on the Loose. We’re going to be offering trainings for what we’re calling Goose 2.0; incorporating digital media into Mother Goose on the Loose programs. Here is a description; contact me if you’re interested in this training for your library system, conference, staff development day or childcare centre.

Goose 2.0: Incorporating digital media into Mother Goose on the Loose

Mother Goose on the Loose is a research-based, musical, interactive storytime for children 0-3 and the people who love them. This program is structured on Barbara Cass-Begg’s Your Baby Needs Music. MGOL programs are fun-filled thirty minute interactive sessions that uses rhymes, songs, puppets, musical instruments, and more to stimulate the learning process of babies and toddlers.

Now that digital media is more omnipresent in most homes, storytellers, children’s librarians and community leaders are now working toward developing practices that guide parents in healthy media behaviors for families that include young children. MGOL is an ideal framework to begin a respectful, non-judgemental dialogue with parents and caregivers about media consumption with young children. We can address the new challenges of screen time with very young children and support parents in their quest to provide the very best learning opportunities for their families. Goose 2.0 still uses all the traditional tools of the storytelling trade; rhymes, songs, puppets, musical instruments and felt boards, but it also uses age appropriate, high-quality digital media, and models healthy media behaviors and joint media engagement.

Betsy Diamant-Cohen

Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen, creator of Mother Goose on the Loose®, holds an MLS from Rutgers University and a Doctorate in Communications Design from the University of Baltimore. In 2004, Library Journal named Betsy as one of 50 “Movers and Shakers” in the library world, largely for her Mother Goose on the Loose early literacy program.

A prolific author of books and journal articles for children’s librarians, Betsy has worked in public libraries and children’s museums in the US and abroad for more than 25 years. She presents training workshops around the county, offers courses through Simmons College and the Ontario Library Association, and has spoken at numerous conferences.

Cen Campbell

Cen is the founder at and Library Manager at She has driven a bookmobile, managed branch libraries, developed innovative programs for babies, young children and teens, and now helps other libraries incorporate digital media into their early literacy programming. She attended the California State Library’s Eureka Leadership Institute in 2008 and now serves on the Association for Library Services to Children’s Children & Technology committee.

SPLAMBA Workshop at the Watsonville Library with Carisa Kluver @iPad_storytime

Carisa Kluver and I did our first tag-team workshop on Friday at the Watsonville Library with a group of SPLAMBA members who were interested in learning about using apps in storytime, but had never tried it out and were unsure about why they should even consider it. It’s becoming clear to me that in every session I lead, there is at least one person who will admit to me at the end that they didn’t particularly want to learn about using technology with young children, but that the approach we use, and the philosophical reasoning behind WHY we need to do this now has changed their minds. The fact that I’m a Waldorf mom is reassuring to these people as well; I view technology for kids as a reality that we must face with wisdom and moderation, not technology for technology’s sake. See my presentation below, and please also see Carisa’s Kids App Presentation Handout and Kids App Research Resources.

NAEYC PDI proposal accepted:Links with Libraries: The Surprisingly Diverse Ways Libraries are Supporting Developmentally Appropriate Early Learning in Partnerships with Schools and Programs

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I just received confirmation that the proposal Lisa GuernseyKaren Nemeth and I submitted to the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s Professional Development Institute  (San Francisco, June 9-12 2013) has been accepted. There’s no link up yet, and the details may be different in the official program, but below is the description we submitted. This program is part of my personal/professional campaign to break out of the library echochamber and collaborate creatively with other professions who work with the same demographics that we do.

Links with Libraries: The Surprisingly Diverse Ways Libraries are Supporting Developmentally Appropriate Early Learning in Partnerships with Schools and Programs

Public libraries are doing amazing things for early learning and developmentally appropriate practice. Ideas for collaborating with libraries should be part of early childhood teacher preparation and training. This session will present exciting examples of library initiatives that meet diverse language needs, offer access to technology, and build family literacy.

See my other upcoming speaking engagements.