Category Archives: conferences

Thanks for the Buzz at #CLANoise!

Many thanks to all of you who came out to the California Library Association’s annual conference this weekend! It was incredibly busy for me; I helped with the California State Library’s Early Learning with Families Preconference, and then I participated in 4 concurrent sessions with some fantastic co-presenters.

For the sessions where we had slides or resources to share, I’ll make separate blog posts for each.

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Stand Out and Be Outstanding: Fearlessly Leading Your Library Career

What does it mean to lead and be recognized as a leader in the library profession? And what exactly is a rock star librarian? This session will spark a discussion about what it means to stand out—and be outstanding—in the library field. A panel of motivated librarians who have participated in California’s Eureka! Leadership Program and the ALA Emerging Leaders Program will share innovative paths to leadership, including strategies for being a leader in any position, risk-taking, and balancing personal and professional priorities. The panel will engage participants in a candid discussion of seeing the big picture in your library career; standing out from the crowd and why visibility matters; being a rock star—help or hindrance; and haters gonna hate—dealing with backlash. Join us to gain ideas for cultivating your leadership role in the library !eld, and sound off about what you think defines a library leader.

Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library
Yemila Alvarez, San Francisco Public Library
Martha Camacho,Pasadena Public Library
Cen Campbell,
Dolly Goyal, San Mateo County Library
Genesis Hansen, Mission Viejo Public Library
Patrick “PC” Sweeney, San Mateo County Library

Children’s Services in the Digital Age: Technology Competencies

Have children’s services changed with the rising use of eBooks and mobile devices? If so, how? Scholastic’s Kids & Family Reading Report tells us that 46% of children have read an eBook—up from 25% only two years ago. Most parents are interested in having their children read eBooks (72%). We will demonstrate how to use digital media in your story times, reader’s advisory, and general children’s services.Come away from this session with tips that !t your technology comfort zone! Learn more about how library websites, early literacy computers, and other technology can help you reach children and families. Take a look at what you are doing now and assess your ability to increase your use of digital media in the future. Outcomes include:a list of best apps for storytimes; basic competencies for eBooks; examples of using technology in storytime and Every Child Ready to Read programs; how to communicate the value of using digital media with children; and how children’s services can best use their library’s on-line resources and website.

Cen Campbell,
Elizabeth Gray, Yolo County Library
Genesis Hansen, Mission Viejo Public Library

Make Some Noise with High-Tech Services for Kids and Teens 

Libraries all around California are developing high-tech, multi-media, innovative services and collections for children and teens, and it’s not just large, urban, well-funded libraries, either. Using examples from programs implemented in Silicon Valley, the Central Valley, and Southern California, this session will provide tips, tricks, and inspiration to make some noise with digital services for kids and teens. We’ll show you how we developed digital storytelling programs, app collections, digital music collections, and multi-media programming for teens, and engage in a discussion that gets to the heart of why these services matter and how you can implement in your library.

Cen Campbell,
Katrina Bergen, Dixon Public Library
Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Public Library

Wise Ways to Use Media & Technology with Young Kids

In this session, a panel representing experts from Common Sense Media, Little eLit, First 5 and will explore wise ways to recommend and use technology with young children. They will talk about the importance of adult-child interactions and limited screen time for kids 0-2. They’ll then introduce you to exceptional learning media for older children, great ways to engage in child-adult co-play, and touch on key technology issues such as multitasking and a healthy media diet. Attendees will be armed with concrete ideas about how to select great media for young children and thoughtful, age-appropriate ways to use media with them. A Kids Tech Toolkit, newly developed by the State Library, will be announced and shared.

Carisa Kluver,
Merve Lapus, Common Sense Media
Kristin Torres, El Dorado County Office of Education
Cen Campbell,


Internet Librarian: Mobile Media, Early Literacy & Digital Storytelling

Betsy, Cen & Lisa at Internet Librarian

Betsy, Cen & Lisa at Internet Librarian

I had the pleasure of presenting at Internet Librarian today in Monterey, California with my buddy and colleague, Betsy Diamant-Cohen. We talked about Mother Goose on the Loose and Every Child Ready to Read beginning to incorporate new media and the associated whys and wherefores. We made some new friends (thanks for the pic, Lisa!) and heard about some of the challenges & successes that other library systems are having with new media and young ones. Like I always say, we need people to report back and document their experiences with using new media in early literacy programming, so please contact me if you have experiences to share; we need your voice!

eBooks in Early Literacy: Science, Design, Decision


Note the IMLS Growing Young Minds Report on my slide!

At the invitation-only eBooks in Early Literacy: Science, Design, Decision conference in Tempe, Arizona on September 27-28, a group of researchers, policy makers, teachers, administrators, content developers, child development and literacy specialists gathered to discuss eBooks in early literacy. Big research names like Adriana Bus, Jackie Marsh and Kathy Roskos shared their work (holy intimidation, batman!) and after each session the group had a “what, so what, now what” discussion about the different frames for considering the state of digital literacy in early childhood.

I was the only librarian presenting (and one of very few present), and I was both surprised and disappointed by how novel the idea was that early childhood educators, researchers and content developers could harness the resources and partnership capabilities of their local libraries.  By the end of the conference, nearly half of the “now what?” steps the panelists reported back included bringing children’s librarians on board with their work. It felt like a small victory to represent librarians well enough to get everyone so excited about working with us, but ultimately I realized it was a wide-scale libraryland failure that academics and educators don’t associate libraries with emerging formats of children’s literature. It underscored for me the immediate need to get children’s librarians much more savvy about digital reading with young children, and the need that educators, researchers and the general public alike have for authoritative, objective recommendations in the app and digital publishing space.

Two themes that arose over and over again were the need for professional development (mostly in the case of early childhood educators) around the use of new media with young children, and the aforementioned lack of trusted recommendation sources. I presented about how librarians are ideally positioned in storytime to fill both of these chasms, and how we’re already beginning to mobilize to provide the kind of services our communities need around the use of new media with young children. I reported back on Mother Goose on the Loose with New Media, and also the use of Every Child Ready to Read as an ideal frame for supporting parents in their quest to provide a healthy media environment for their children. I also announced the upcoming partnership that I’m developing with the Fred Rogers Center, the TEC Center at Erikson, ALSC, the California State Library, the New American Foundation & (details to follow!)

One thing I worry about whenever I present at these kinds of events is over-promising what individual libraries and librarians can realistically offer. I wax poetic about how librarians are now offering services and recommendations for new media use, but the reality is that librarian tech competencies are all over the map, and many libraries don’t have the budgets to offer wide-scale access to devices. My end goal, however, it to get people to associate the library with digital books and publishing just as much as they do with traditional publishing, even if there are a few blank (or even hostile!) stares from librarians as we all get on board with offering support to families and institutions who need guidance with digital reading and young children.

My presentation slides are below, but they’re not much use without narration. I’ll narrate the presentation once I have my voice back (going to piles of conferences and meetings is fun and all, but getting pneumonia from running around too much isn’t!)

LittleeLit is going to Maryland and Arizona!

I’m getting ready for some fun in Maryland! I’ll be visiting the Eastern Shore Regional Library to lead a 2 day New Media in Storytime workshop with Sam Eddington (ALSC Education Committee Chair) and demonstrations and guest speakers including Rachael Stein, Dorothy Stoltz, Betsy Diamant-Cohen, Michele Presley & Phyllis Bontrager.  Here is the description of the workshop:

New Media in Storytime

This two day, hands-on workshop will give participants the confidence to begin using new media in storytimes. We’ll use frameworks like Every Child Ready to Read and Mother Goose on the Loose to develop techniques to incorporate apps, eBooks and other digital tools into early literacy programming in a way that supports early literacy development and fosters caregiver-child interaction. Participants will learn how to evaluate apps and ebooks for use in children’s library services, collections and programs; translate traditional storytelling tools into the digital realm; and model positive media behaviors for parents and caregivers.

After the 2 day workshop at ESRL, Betsy and I will join Jennifer Hopwood at the Southern Maryland Regional Library Association to run two one-day Goose 2.0 trainings. Here’s the description for that one:

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-judgmental 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.

Later in the month I’ll be speaking at the eBooks in Early Literacy: Science, Design, Decision conference in Tempe, AZ. Check out the list of speakers! I can’t wait to actually meet some of these people in person!

For more information about workshops, please contact us here.

Early Learning Apps in the Library, by Hayley McEwing

I recently presented at OhioNet’s Embracing eBooks Conference. My presentation, “Early Learning Apps in the Library,” set out to ask a few key questions and equip attendees to develop new skills for joint media engagement:

Why, when, and how should we use apps in the library, particularly with young children? Find some answers to these questions. Discover apps that aid early literacy, math, and science learning as well as some notable eBook apps. Get ideas on how to use iPads in library programming.

My presentation slides are below; other session handouts are available here.

Hayley McEwing, an Ohio librarian, blogs at Opinions are hers alone and do not necessarily represent those of her employer.

The Apps are All Right! LittleeLit at #ALA2014

We’re presenting an ALSC program at ALA in Las Vegas! Here’s the description (many thanks to Tess Prendergast for putting it together!)

Proposed Program Title:

The Apps are All Right! Exploring the Role of Apps in Children’s and Teen Services

Tentative Program Description:

Designed as a primer for children’s and teen librarians, this session offers a dynamic overview of the place of the app as a new format within our profession. Four panelists will provide relevant research and examples from practice with diverse populations of children and teens. Participants will also be invited to explore the continuously evolving rationale for strengthening the role of the children’s and teen librarian in app recommendation for the communities we serve.

Presenter Biographies:

Cen Campbell is a children’s librarian in Silicon Valley, and a children’s digital services consultant 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 and manages‘s digital book collection. She serves on the American Library Association’s ALSC Children & Technology committee.

Barbara Klipper has been involved in library services for children with disabilities, especially autism, since 2002. She is a former chair of the ALSC Library Services to Special Population Children and Their Caregivers committee, ALSC representative to the ALA Accessibility Assembly, and teacher of the ALSC Sensory Storytime webinar. Her article on apps for children with autism appeared in the June, 2013 issue of American Libraries, and her book, Serving the Spectrum: Programming for Children, Teens and Families With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is forthcoming from ALA Editions.

Carisa Kluver has a Masters in Social Work and worked as a school counselor, health educator and researcher in maternal and child health for over a decade before founding the app review site and the blog, The Digital Media Diet. She has reviewed over 700 enhanced eBook apps as well as writing and researching about literacy, kids and the evolving digital publishing industry.

Tess Prendergast has been a children’s librarian in Vancouver, Canada since 1996 and she is currently pursuing a doctorate in early literacy where her research involves families whose children have developmental disabilities. She believes in the importance of adopting expanded, sociocultural and multimodal views of literacy, especially in early childhood. Tess frequently speaks at conferences, teaches workshops, writes articles, and currently participates on the editorial advisory committee for ALSC’s journal Children & Libraries.

LittleeLit at PLA: Every Child Ready to Read 2.0

I’ve just gotten confirmation that I’ll be presenting about Every Child Ready to Read at PLA in Indianapolis; first at the preconference and then later at a session. Here are the descriptions:

ECRR 2.0 – Using Apps and eBooks in Early Literacy Programs Session (Date/Time TBA):

Parents and librarians want to know how to safely integrate apps and e-books into their lives without feeling guilty.
Join Cen Campbell as she shares why apps are useful, successful and should be incorporated into collections & programming, how to model healthy media behavior,and what is the current research on the effects of digital media on children.

Objective 1:
understand how apps/e-books can be appropriately integrated with Every Child Ready to Read 2.0

Objective 2:
be able to find age/developmentally appropriate apps and digital media for use in early learning

Objective 3:
be able to model healthy behavior in early learning programming and talk with parents and care givers about using apps/e-books

Every Child Ready to Read Implementation and Early Learning Environments Preconference (Date/Time TBA):
You are invited to ponder and discuss your knowledge base and goals for ECRR. This two-part workshop is designed to increase your understanding of ECRR. The morning session will demonstrate the many ways ECRR is being used across the country. The afternoon will help you discover the unlimited potential for creating a dynamic early learning environment in your library, no matter your space size or budget. Please join us for one or both sessions!

Objective 1:
Participants will explore at least three effective ways to implement ECRR.

Objective 2:
Participants will identify at least five activities that parents can effectively learn in a workshop to apply right away with their children.

Objective 3:
Participants will learn at least three easy yet innovative methods for transforming library space into a dynamic place for children to play and learn.

Preconference Outline:
Tentative outline Explore How to Implement ECRR in the Morning – we’ll pause for Q&A throughout the session:
1. ECRR workshop run-through – 45 minutes – five practicing librarians demonstrate an ECRR workshop – each taking a piece and showing different styles of presentation
2. Participants will be led in one or two hands-on activities in order to teach parents the activities in a workshop to be able to apply them right away with their children – 15 minutes – Dianne Black takes lead
3. What are the foundational early literacy skills and practices all librarians can benefit knowing – 15 minutes – Judy Nelson takes lead
4. Taking ECRR on the road to community partners – 15 minutes – Mary Seratt takes lead
5. Participants will be led in one or two more hands-on activities – 15 minutes – Dianne Black takes lead
6. How to apply ECRR in small groups of families on the library floor – 15 minutes – Cindy Christin takes lead
7. Training volunteers to present ECRR outreach programs in low-income neighborhoods – 15 minutes – Wendy Resnik takes lead
8. Tips on training adults – 15 minutes – all panelists give one or two tips
9. Cen Campbell – Early Literacy in the Digital Age – 10 minutes – a quick overview and promotion of upcoming ECRR program at this conference called ECRR 2.0: Using Apps and eBooks in Early Literacy Programs
9. Dr. Reid Lyon – will give an overview of where libraries started in the 1990s and how far we’ve come in promoting early learning, participants can Q&A with Dr. Lyon – 20 minutes
If Dr. Lyon is unavailable, times will be adjusted.

Tentative outline Discover New Ideas about Early Learning Environments in the Afternoon – we’ll pause for Q&A throughout the session:
1. Blocks and Play – an easy way to effectively and dramatically change your environment – 40 minutes – Susan Anderson-Newham & Cindy Christin takes lead
2. Color, style, and beauty in fun pre-literacy interactives – 30 minutes – Christy Estrovitz takes lead
3. Discussion activity – thinking about your ideal environment – 20 minutes – Dorothy Stoltz leads activity
4. How to transform your children’s space by easily incorporating the five ECRR practices and practical parent tips into your environment – 30 minutes – Amanda Ellington takes lead
5. Harnessing your ideal –– within your financial means and space dimensions – how to change your spaces into wondrous places and simultaneously respond to community needs. – 30 minutes – Marisa Conner takes lead
6. Discussion activity – developing next steps to reach your ideal environment – 30 minutes – Dorothy Stoltz leads activity

Tech in Storytime: In response to an #ala2013 question, by Anne Hicks

During the Conversation Starter at ALA, an audience member asked how librarians have been integrating technology into their storytimes. That’s a great “conversation starter” on its own, so I thought I’d take a moment to highlight some of the ways contributors to Little eLit have been incorporating digital media into their work.

Digital Storytelling:

One way to incorporate technology into storytimes is to project eBooks onto a screen for all the participants at your storytimes to view.  Using a mirroring device such as an Apple TV with your iPad allows you to operate the tablet while the image is projected.  You are then able to seamlessly share high quality eBooks and apps in combination with traditional storytime methods.

Typical Equipment Used:


Digital Storytelling is a wonderful way to provide a storytime for a very large audience.  Projecting onto a screen enables even the participants at the back of the room to appreciate the illustrations of the eBooks.  You can also scan and project lyrics to songs and the words to fingerplays.  This encourages the adults in the room to participate in the fun!  One of the most valuable benefits of this type of storytelling is that it allows the librarian to promote quality eBooks and also model to caregivers how to interact with children while sharing digital media.  As Cen Campbell puts it, “using high quality digital media in storytime is one way we can expose parents to good quality book-based or educational apps. This is just a fun new kind of reader’s advisory!”

For more details on Digital Storytelling, check out these posts from Cen Campbell, Bradley Jones, and Holly Southern.

Apps as Storytime Extensions:

Another way technology can be integrated into storytimes is to use apps as an extension of your storytime theme, the same way you would use a flannel board or a puppet.  The librarian holds the iPad and does the tapping and swiping while interacting with the children.  This works best for groups of about 20 or less. There are a large number of apps on the market that can be easily used by the librarian to engage with children.  For example, you can use an animal sounds app or a vehicle sounds app and have the kids guess which animal/vehicle they are hearing.  You can use a robot-building app and have the kids help you design a robot.  You could also create a “felt board” using the Felt Board app developed by Software Smoothie.

Typical Equipment Used:

  •  iPad
  • Various Apps


The only equipment needed is the tablet, so this is a very easy way for librarians to test the waters as far as integrating technology into storytime. Also, using apps in storytime allows you to promote high quality apps to caregivers.  Often, parents think of the iPad as a means of solitary play for the child, a “babysitter.”   Encouraging them to engage in play with their child is an important aspect of what we do as Children’s Librarians. By promoting the apps in storytime you are also allowing an opportunity for the caregiver to extend the storytime at home.  I doubt many parents have the time and supplies needed to recreate a flannel board at home, but they can easily download an app and play with their child.

For more examples of how to use apps in your storytime check out the following posts from Anne Hicks: Animal Sounds, Vehicle Sounds.

Fleet of Tablets

Providing tablets for each family to use during storytime is yet another way some librarians have included new media in their storytimes.  You can preload the devices with the eBooks and apps you will be using during storytime and guide the participants to use them throughout the storytime.  This is not a replacement of traditional storytime activities (songs, fingerplays, print books…), but rather another tool to engage young readers and their caregivers.

Typical Equipment Used:

  • Multiple tablets (typically iPads)
  • Various Apps/eBooks
  • Headphones with splitters (optional)


This type of storytime is the perfect way to encourage caregivers to engage with their little ones as they use digital media.  It allows the adult and child to “cuddle up” while using a tablet (the same way we encourage them to do with print books). It also makes using the device, and the storytime at large, a truly shared experience.  And as with the other methods mentioned in this post, it allows the librarian to promote high quality media.  Lastly, it provides access to technology that some patrons may not otherwise have access to.  Using a fleet of tablets is a wonderful way to provide access and guidance while also promoting engagement.

For more on this type of storytime, check out these posts by Angela Reynolds, Emily Miranda, and Bradley Jones.

STEM Storytime Extenders: Tech in Storytime is Just the Beginning!

I was asked to lead a discussion at the Preschool Services Discussion Group meeting at ALA this June about ways to incorporate STEM into storytimes. Little eLit delves into that topic every day with our discussion of new media in early literacy programming and services contexts. If you’re interested in rounding out your programs to run the full STEM gamut, I hope you’ll check out some of the resources from the discussion.

As per Sue McCleaf Nespeca, one of the chairs of the discussion group, the materials are posted in two locations for easy access:

Also, at ALSC Connect:

If you have questions or comments, I hope you’ll share them in the comments!

Guerrilla Storytime at #ala2013 & the Storytime Underground Movement, by Angela Reynolds and Amy Koester

Storytime UndergroundWhen I looked at my schedule for the ALA Annual Conference, I felt like I needed to borrow Hermione Granger’s Time-turner. So many great sessions to go to, and they were happening at the same time. But one that I really made sure I got to was one that wasn’t even on the official list of sessions. It was held in the “Uncommons,” a big room just outside the exhibit hall. This session was Guerrilla Storytime, put together by some smart young librarians who seem to have met on Twitter. Because I am somewhat of a Twitter addict, I knew all about it. My non-tweeting librarian pals had not heard of it. I tried to convince them how awesome it would be, but they had other things to do. Not me, I wanted to hang with this vivacious gang of young whippersnappers. Now, I’m not ancient, but I have been around libraries for a long time. Degreed in 1996 and working in libraries for at least 3 years before that, I’ve done my share of storytimes. The ideas that are shared on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Flannel Fridays, and blogs by these younger librarians are so incredibly inspiring. So inspiring that I am now doing storytime again once a month, just to try out some of these amazing early literacy techniques that have evolved in the past few years. These folks have great ideas and they bounce them around off one another and share and borrow and expand and make the World of Storytime one of the most awesome places on the planet. As a seasoned librarian, I am amazed and excited on a regular basis by these Early Literacy Warriors. Storytime Guerrillas unite! Next time I go to a local conference, you can bet I’ll be taking over a space for my own version of Guerrilla Storytime. I might even have to rent a gorilla suit for the occasion.

What is this all about? How did it start? What exactly IS a Guerrilla Storytime and why does it matter? I think I’ll let Amy, a Joint Chief, fill you in on that.


Thanks for that introduction, Angela! The idea for Guerrilla Storytime was born of librarian Cory Eckert, idea-genius, in response to a whole bunch of factors. One factor: the discussion online over the past year about youth librarians not getting proper recognition for their hard, specialized work. Too many of our libraryland colleagues don’t quite “get” what goes on at storytime, and if they don’t recognize the vital service storytime provides, they’ll never be able to advocate for it to the families we need to serve. A second factor: storytime practitioners the world over are bona fide experts at what they do. We’re all experts, but we don’t all know everything, so it follows that we have lots we can learn from one another. Thus Guerrilla Storytime.

Guerrilla Storytime is a public forum of sorts at which storytime librarians can ask questions and seek advice of their peers, and the collective community steps up to share their expertise. A librarian may not be well versed in parachute songs and asks for storytime guerrillas’ favorite go-tos; those guerrillas oblige, sharing what works for them and why. Along with all of the learning (and fun!) that naturally follows, Guerrilla Storytime raises professional awareness for the very real, very important contributions that youth librarians bring to their libraries. Since it takes place in a public space, Guerrilla Storytime has a way of drawing attention to itself and its participants; after all, if you heard a group of people shouting about “going bananas,” wouldn’t you stop to see what was going on?

Happily, Guerrilla Storytime was not a one-off event at ALA. In fact, it’s developed into a larger movement, the Storytime Underground. The Storytime Underground website aims to be a resource for all those best practices, all those tips and tricks that you can forget over time. Participants will be able to pose their storytime questions using the Ask a Storytime Ninja feature; to get details on hosting a Guerrilla Storytime, then add their own Guerrilla Storytimes to the master calendar; and to learn from colleagues across the world through Storytime Guerrilla of the Month profiles and links to amazing online content in the Armory of Awesome. Just as Little eLit aims to be a go-to site for librarians interested in new media with children, the Storytime Underground aims to be a grassroots effort to share the storytime love and skills.