Blog Archives

#ala2013 Conversation Starter Proposals: Vote for Building A to Zoo for Apps!

ALA_2013_Chicago_Logo_FINAL_CLRLet the conversations begin! We have 2 conversation starter proposals in (both submitted by the awesome and amazing Allison Tran at the Mission Viejo library). Take a gander at what we’ve put together and then give us a thumbs up (through ALA Connect) if you agree it’s a conversation that needs to happen. Here are the descriptions:

Building A to Zoo for Apps: Time-tested librarian skills meet cutting edge technology for kids

“We can’t afford to ignore digital content in the one institution most ideally set up to help the rest of society navigate the next few decades.” – Carisa Kluver, and Digital Media Diet founder.

Children’s librarians are now in the software design and app curation business. This panel will begin the discussion about why librarians are ideally poised to curate the children’s book-based and educational app space, build the tools to do so and provide leadership for early childhood educators, parents and children’s app developers on the use and development of interactive media for children. Attendees at this interactive panel discussion will have the opportunity to share their concerns and hopes about how libraries can best use apps to support early learning, now and in the years to come.

Presenters: Cen Campbell, Allison Tran, Lisa Guernsey, Carisa Kluver, Trista Kunkel

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, anyway? This session will spark an exchange of ideas 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/or the ALA Emerging Leaders Program will share their innovative paths to leadership, including strategies for being a leader in any position, taking risks, and balancing personal and professional priorities. The panel will also engage participants in a candid discussion of:

  • Seeing the big picture in your library career
  • Standing out from the crowd: why visibility matters
  • Being a ‘rock star’: help or hindrance?
  • Haters gonna hate: dealing with backlash

Join us in this interactive session to gain ideas for cultivating your leadership role in the library field, and sound off about what you think defines a true library leader.

Presenters: Yemila Alvarez, Allison Tran, Martha Camacho, Cen Campbell, Dolly Goyal, Genesis Hansen, Patrick “PC” Sweeney


Midwinter is Coming

Thanks, for the image that made me snark my earl grey tea.

Thanks, for the meme that made me snark my earl grey tea.

ALA Annual: There’s an App for that Session

There’s an App for That: Using Technology to Enhance Children’s Librarianship

I recently got back from ALA annual in Anaheim and I am :

A) sick from not sleeping enough and shaking so many hands;
B) overwhelmed with new ideas and information.

I went to one particularly interesting session with a panel of 4 upstart librarians from my new Children and Technology committee. Amy Graves (Children’s Librarian, Manchester City Library, NH), Gretchen Caserotti (Assistant Director for Public Services, Darien Library, CT), John Schumacher (School Library Director, Brook Forest Elementary School, IL) and Travis Jonker (Elementary Media Specialist, Wayland Union Schools, MI) all shared experiences and resources for using iPads in the library. Amy and Gretchen represented public libraries, John and Travis school libraries.

Here is the description from their presentation:

Apps are all the rage these days. As schools and public libraries are increasingly adopting mobile devices such as iPads and eReaders, librarians are looking for ways to use apps to enhance lesson plans and create “Storytimes 2.0.” In this presentation two school librarians and two public librarians will explain and demonstrate how they have successfully integrated apps into their library programs and services. This session will help you raise the bar for librarianship and learning at your own institution.

At the end of the presentation, someone in the audience asked how to deal with crotchety staff members who don’t think iPads/technology/apps should be used in the library at all (sadly, a very real-world question). Caserotti, in true rock star fashion, waved away the question and spoke very eloquently about how this technology is here; it’s been here for awhile and there’s no going back. We might as well get on board and learn all we can so that we can show our public how to find the good stuff, even if we aren’t all able to circulate pre-loaded Early Literacy iPads at our libraries. I’m trying to see if anyone caught her response on video.  It was pure gold.

Lots of great app recommendations (see slides from presentation); the best tidbit for me was APPitic, which is another awesome app review/directory site, but this one specializes in educational apps.

Slides for public library segment of the presentation are available here, and there’s a Google doc for the school library portion here.

Special Needs Digital Storytime Conference Proposal

A few weeks ago I received an email from ALSC asking if I was interested in partnering with a Tess Prendergast, a doctoral student from the University of British Columbia‘s Department of Language and Literacy Education, and a children’s librarian and the Vancouver Public Library. Tess’ expertise is in Special Needs Early Childhood Education.  I told her about my Digital Storytelling project at Santa Clara County Library District with Megan Wong. We corresponded a little bit about our areas of interest and decided to create a panel discussion with Carrie Banks from the Brooklyn Public Library.  Carrie is the founder of The Child’s Place at BPL and a 2012 Library Journal Mover and Shaker.  I love this quote about her from the Mover and Shaker article:

Carrie understands that it is not enough simply to open the doors to the branch and hope people drop by. Rather, it is closer to an imperative of the public library to ensure that people receive services no matter where they happen to be.

Tess put together an awesome panel proposal for ALA 2013 in Chicago. The program will be sponsored in name only by the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC) and the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA)

Digital Early Literacy for Everyone: How Digital Tech Supports Inclusion for All Young Literacy Learners

Far from predicting the dreaded end of print and paper, four presenters will explore different facets of digital early childhood literacy. Digital technology will be placed in a context from which children’s librarians can make good decisions on behalf of the young children and families in their own communities. Participants will learn how digital technology has been enthusiastically embraced by libraries to help meet the literacy development needs of young children, especially those with disabilities.


The general goal of this program is to present current research and practice about digital early literacy in the context of children’s library service to all young children, including those with disabilities who have been underserved in the past.

  • Participants will be presented with an overview of digital early literacy learning research with emphasis placed on the role of digital technology in the literacy development of children with disabilities
  • Participants will hear from three children’s services librarians who will share their experience and insight on how digital tools (e-books, apps etc.) can be integrated into existing programs, services and collections for all children in their communities.
  • Participants will be encouraged to thinking critically and creatively about how digital tools can be used in inclusive children’s library programs, services and collections
  • Participants will be provided with extensive resources from which to adapt and build their own programs, services and collections that meet the needs of the young children in their communities, including those with disabilities.
  • Participants will be encouraged to consider the possibilities inherent in digital literacies that can lead to participation and inclusion of those whose needs have not been met in the past.


Our target audience is children’s services practitioners/children’s librarians in both public and school libraries, children’s services coordinators, branch heads and library managers and directors, and library school students.


Carrie Banks has been the Director of Brooklyn Public Library’s (BPL) The Child’s Place for Children with Special Needs since 1997. Carrie has written about and presented on the topic of services for people with disabilities for many years and most recently began using assistive technology in inclusive family programs at BPL.

Cen Campbell has been designing and implementing storytimes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers since 2007. She serves on the Association of Library Services to Children’s Children and Technology committee and runs

Tess Prendergast is a children’s librarian at the Vancouver Public Library as well as a PhD student at the University of British Columbia where she is investigating early literacy in the lives of children with disabilities. Her research interests include parents’ thoughts about their children’s engagement with early literacy and how communities, especially libraries, can best support these families.

Megan Wong is the Virtual Library Manager for the Santa Clara County Library (SCCL) located in the heart of the Silicon Valley.  Megan manages SCCL’s online presence and resources and is leading the library’s web redesign project. She is specifically interested in eReaders and gadgets and how these things can move libraries forward.

CLA Digital Literacy Presentation

Genesis Hansen (Web Services and Reference Coordinator at the Newport Beach Library)  and I will be presenting a little bit of Little eLit at the California Library Association’s annual conference in San Jose this November. We had initially proposed a program based on some of the work we’ve done in our respective libraries and with our own kids, but another librarian, Paige Bentley-Flannery, submitted a similar proposal.  Paige is the Children’s/Community Librarian at the Deschutes Public Library in Oregon and the chair of the Children’s Digital Content Task Force for ALSC. We’ll be attending her Meet Art! poster session at ALA next weekend and hatching some plans. Paige will be concentrating her efforts on kids aged 5-11, while Genesis and I will stick with 2-5 year olds.

Below is the proposal we originally submitted, but it’ll change now that we have a new friend to play with.

Early Literacy in the Digital Age: Apps, eBooks and iPads, oh my!

We take some of the basic precepts of librarianship: stewardship and dissemination of knowledge, collection development and creative innovation, and apply them to electronic literature and media for children aged 2-5.

Children’s services have traditionally included storytelling and reader’s advisory services.  Children’s librarians are experts in evaluating and selecting good quality media, and as libraries adopt emerging technologies, those same skills apply.  There are thousands of eBooks and Apps for kids.  How can libraries help parents provide their children with high quality digital media? How can we use our storytelling and collection development skills and apply them to the digital world?  

  • How to develop a circulating Early Literacy Tablet program at your library;
  • Collection development and programming for early literacy in the digital age;
  • Tips on finding and evaluating apps and eBooks for young children.

At the end of our program, participants will know how to:

  • explain what digital literacy is and why it’s important;
  • evaluate apps and eBooks for young children;
  • plan digital media programs for young children.

Paige’s proposal looked like this:

Digital Interaction: Read, Draw, Listen, and Play with Children’s Book Apps and eBooks.

My program will introduce ways to bring the digital world into libraries with engaging programs and creative ideas.

Program Description: Discover ways to incorporate book apps with children’s books and share your ideas with librarians, teachers and patrons. Create your own eBook lists and start a digital book club. Paige will also show you her favorite websites, blogs and book apps.

  • Create digital programs in and out of the library.
  • Explore children’s book apps and ways to introduce them to teachers, librarians and patrons.
  • Discover ways to incorporate children’s books with book apps.
  • Explore digital blogs, websites and more apps

ALSC C&T Committee

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but starting at the ALA annual conference in Anaheim this year I’ll be serving on ALSC’s Children & Technology Committee.  I am really excited to work with colleagues across the country who are just as jazzed about digital services for children in libraries as I am.