Category Archives: conferences
Are you looking for more information about what went down at ALA Annual with regard to new media and children? Carisa Kluver, founder of digital-storytime.com and a contributor here at the Little eLit community shared her experiences at the conference weekend on her blog. She’s given us permission to share her perspective here. Enjoy!
Librarians in the Digital Age – Part 2: A to Zoo for Apps Starts the Conversation from The Digital Media Diet
At the end of June, I had the honor of being on a panel at the national ALA (American Library Association) conference in Chicago, IL. Originally I was going to prepare a video or be available remotely by Skype, but at the last minute I decided to visit the windy city, stay with a dear friend and make a little vacation of the whole thing. Chicago was especially lovely, with unseasonably cool weather, so I spent a fair amount of time on foot exploring. It was also a crazy time for parades in the city, fresh from their Blackhawks win and during Pride weekend, making hailing a cab more difficult. All that walking was good for thinking but not so good for hauling things, so the genius of digital books was particularly on my mind.
Exhibits and More …
I also spent many hours wandering around the cavernous exhibit hall booths in addition to meeting with bookish people like the librarian contributors to @LittleeLit‘s blog and ‘think tank’. In person introductions are particularly sweet, after months of contact over email, video-chat, Twitter and other digital means. Meeting others so like-minded probably represents one of the most energizing aspects of attending any large conference. And librarians are one energized group! I found nearly everyone in attendance to be sharp, thoughtful and focused on the future of libraries in the digital age. The conversations were simply abuzz about new ‘technology’ everywhere I went. While sitting at lunch by myself in a cafe over a mile from the convention center I overheard two librarians heatedly comparing the digital initiatives in their two library systems.
In the exhibit hall, there were several large spaces set aside for digital technology, ebooks and even apps. Nearly every booth also had a digital offering, from apps that integrated into their service or product for library management to eBooks in every format. However there was very little to be found about any stand-alone book apps nor much in the way of interactive book or educational software offerings for kids. I know my focus on children’s apps is somewhat singular in the publishing industry, but the lack of discussion or even an understanding of the difference between an ebook, app and bookstore portal was disheartening.
Either my focus is misplaced, leaving me out-of-step, or the industry (publishers, libraries, authors, etc.) itself is missing something. Several people asked me about my site and if I would review or promote their digital book offerings. When I explained that I only review apps, they seemed more bewildered than disappointed. I explained that so far, I couldn’t get enough traction with consumers for an iBookstore review site, and while the Kindle eBook market is much more developed, the market for illustrated children’s content is still in a somewhat embryonic stage. No one seemed to be very sophisticated in their understanding of the industry with regard to digital, but everyone seemed at least engaged in the digital shift in one way or another.
Overall, my impression was that librarians in attendance, and most of those presenting, were engaged, passionate and ready to face a digital future. This was in huge contrast to the publishers and other exhibitors who seemed to show-off a singular naïveté or perhaps ignorance, about format, access, consumer interest and other emerging aspects of the digital publishing industry. As a relative newbie to this ecosystem, I was surprised to find myself explaining (or correcting) misconceptions about digital formats, self-publishing, social media marketing and even COPPA regulations, to people who should be much more informed than I am.
A to Zoo for Apps – Starting the Conversation with LibraryLand
My panel presentation was early in the weekend, a ‘Conversation Starter’ entitled: ”Building A to Zoo for Apps: Time-tested librarian skills meet cutting edge technology for kids” and featured talented librarians:
- Sarah Houghton, Director, San Rafael Public Library
- Allison Rose Tran, Teen Services Librarian, Mission Viejo Library
- Cen Campbell, Founder, Littleelit.com
- Trista Kunkel, Youth Services Librarian, Birchard Public Library
plus special guest:
Chip Donahue, Senior Fellow at the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning & Children’s Media and Director of Technology in Early Childhood at the Erikson Center.
and a video presentation from Lisa Guernsey, Director, Early Education Initiative at the New America Foundation:
Conversation starters at the ALA are “fast-paced 45-minute sessions intended to jumpstart conversations and highlight emerging topics and trends.” The purpose of this session was to start a conversation within the library community about the best way to approach the curation and evaluation of digital content, like apps, for young children.
What should the role for apps be in libraries? Should they be used in storytimes and if so, why? How can librarians contribute to the evaluation of apps and provide useful information to caregivers, teachers and others seeking information about quality digital content for tablet devices? Should librarians even be recommending apps at all?
A nice summary of our presentation can be found on the @LittleeLit blog by librarian Amy Koester. Or you can watch the whole thing in this video on youtube:
Suffice it to say that 45 minutes was simply not enough time to answer more than a few questions and barely scratched the surface of the conversation that is brewing in the world of children’s early learning and library services. A lot of strong opinions exist about digital content for young kids, especially regarding ‘screen time’ and apps. But the interest in this content is strong among librarians, as evidenced by the overflowing standing-room-only crowd in attendance.
Conversation Started – Trending Topics
Among the most important take-aways from this conversation we’ve started are a series of new questions we must ask ourselves as adults who guide, choose and judge digital content for kids:
- How do we evaluate, curate or recommend apps and other digital media on tablets?
- How do we even decide what to evaluate and what to ignore in a sea of content much too large to cover exhaustively?
- How would evaluations from librarians in particular differ from and add to the already large number of online resources currently available for app reviews (including private review sites, non-profit sites, consumer reviews and a sea of blogs from professionals and laypeople).
- What qualities of an app would be important to librarians when evaluating?
- How would app evaluations differ from the curation already done for print materials or other digital content?
- What are the critical differences between evaluating, reviewing, recommending and curating apps or other digital content for librarians/professionals?
- What resources, rubrics or other evaluation tools are available for professionals to explore before beginning their own app reviews?
- What role should libraries and librarians play in the digital shift?
- Should librarians recommend, model or advise caregivers and professionals about wise use of quality media for kids or primarily discourage ‘screen time’? Is this role different for toddlers under two, children under five or other age groups, like teenagers?
- How can professionals find good age & stage recommendations for library programs & collections?
In the end, my biggest realization was an anti-climatic epiphany. As I wracked my brain to think of all the ways we might create a resource that an army of librarians could fill in to make relevant and thoughtful, I was also struck by the need to include something more than just curation in my grand plan for library-land … the need for education. Of course we know teachers, librarians and other professionals need training on how to incorporate these digital tools into existing programs and services, but we also need a large scale education effort for the general public.
Much like the world wide web presented us with a sea of content that went beyond our usual ways of cataloging, the sea of publications coming into our digital space may be more than anyone can wrangle into a single resource. There is no equivalent for the web to the ‘yellow pages’ for local business phone numbers, for instance. In a similar vein, there may not be anyway that anyone could truly create the equivalent of “A to Zoo” for kids apps. A to Zoo for Apps can’t help but be inspired by the past, but the real challenge will be making it novel and adaptable to the new digital environment of the 21st century. It appears to be a challenge that is both momentous and exhilarating!
These questions are just a few I heard, among many burning in the hearts and minds of those who attended ALA 2013 and our presentation. We will be working hard to keep this dialog going among librarians in particular and I’ll keep you posted as the conversation continues. Please let me know any questions or comments you might like to add!
I’ve been a little AWOL from the Little eLit blog recently. Many thanks to Amy for keeping content fresh while I’ve been elsewhere! Here’s one of the projects I’m going to be working on, and the official announcement from Gerry Maginnity, the Acting State Librarian of California.
My part in ELF 2.0 will be to create a technology tooklit to help children’s librarians integrate new media and technology for children into library collections, services and programs (It will be free and available to the public once it’s done. The prototype should be ready by November.) This project will be the next iteration of an existing project, the original ELF, but like so many other initiatives, ELF needs to be re-worked to take into account the realities of modern information consumption, especially for families with young children. I’ll be doing a whole lot of talking at the California Library Association Conference in Long Beach in November, where I’ll be working with Dr. Josh Sparrow of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, Carisa Kluver of Digital Storytime, Shira Lee Katz of Common Sense Media, Francie Dillon, Sharon Krull, and a whole pile of library rockstars. We’ll also be putting on some webinars and in-person trainings around California.
There are two related technology for children pilot projects at the Mission Viejo and Rancho Cucamonga Libraries in Southern California that will give me lots of learning to report on. Mission Viejo is home to Little eLit Think Tankers Genesis Hansen and Allison Tran, and Rancho is a 2013 IMLS Medal Winner.
Drs. Marianne Martens and Virginia Walter will be helping to provide some badly needed library-based research around the issue of children, technology and libraries. The amazing and inspiring Suzanne Flint at the California State Library will be wrangling us all, and Sam Eddington (incoming chair of the ALSC Education Committee) will be helping to facilitate the discussions.
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!
Oh 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
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.
Many thanks to my brilliant and well-spoken co-presenters, Tess Prendergast and Francesca de Freitas. We should totally take this show on the road. For any of you who attended today but were unable to ask your questions, please feel free to post below or use the contact form and I can ferry your questions to Tess or Francesca, or answer it myself. Thanks for the opportunity to speak! Let’s keep the conversation going!
I have a LOT of presentations to prepare for! Looks like Genesis and I had a few proposals accepted at the California Library Association’s Annual Conference in Long Beach, CA, plus I’ll be doing some other work with the State Library while we’re there.
Here’s what and when:
Stand Out and Be Outstanding: Fearlessly Leading Your Library Career (November 4, 2013 at 10:15am)
Presenter names and affiliations: Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, Yemila Alvarez, San Francisco Public Library, Martha Camacho,Pasadena Public Library, Cen Campbell, LittleeLit.com, 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 (November 4, 2013 at 4:00pm)
Presenter names and affiliations: Cen Campbell, Children’s Librarian, LittleeLit.com, Elizabeth Gray, Yolo County Library, Genesis Hansen, Mission Viejo Public Library
Make Some Noise with High-Tech Services for Kids and Teens (November 5, 2013 at 11:45am)
Presenter names and affiliations: Cen Campbell, Littleelit.com, Katrina Bergen, Dixon Public Library, Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Public Library
I had the honour and privilege to participate in the first annual Inland Library System Tech Day (here’s the flyer!), which was fabulously executed by one of my California State Library Eureka! Leadership Institute colleagues, Courtney Saldana, and her committee of intrepid youth services librarians (thanks for the laughs, Dedria and Juliene!). We also heard from Naomi Bates (book trailers), Yuri Kenney (Hurtado?) (Prezi), Dawn Krause (Pinterest), Candice Mack (social media) and Michele Potter (eReader petting zoo). I hope this becomes an annual occurrence!
My presentation was on technology and implications for library services to young children. Thanks for the chance to both speak and listen!
Betsy Diamant-Cohen and I have been working on ideas for a collaboration between LittleeLit.com 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.
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 is the founder at LittleeLit.com and Library Manager at Bookboard.com. 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.
This is a really, really useful presentation with all sorts of nuggets of information for people with questions about how to use apps in storytime. Jennifer Gal (Hamilton Public Library) is a librarian to watch for SURE when it comes to digital media and kids!