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Saddle Up, Colleagues! Apps in Storytime Open Invitation

Ok, well, I’m rousing the troops again.  Here’s what I posted today to get some conversation going about establishing best practices for using apps with kids in libraries.

Hi Everyone,

I am so glad to see that there’s a lot of discussion going on about using apps in storytimes. There are differing opinions on this topic, but the fact remains that the technology is already here, and that it is our professional responsibility as experts in content for kids (regardless of format) to develop some best practices. We need to do this both to guide the use of technology in our programs and collections, and also for communicating effectively to parents and caregivers about the pros and cons of using mobile technology with young children.

Trista recently posted a call for apps that folks have already been using in their storytimes on the pubyav listserv, and I responded with some information about the apps-in-storytime work we’ve been doing at Many of us children’s librarians are already experimenting with using apps in our programs, but there is currently no centralized resource for tips and tricks in this area, though I am working with PLA, ALSC, InfoPeople and a few other organizations to develop some standardized professional development materials (think ECRR or MGOL with apps).

The children’s library community is WAY behind ECE educators, researchers and administrators in making use of mobile tech with young kids; we are not trailblazing here, we are catching up to the rest of the world’s current media use. Young children are already exposed to digital media; there is no question of that, and frankly, any personal opinions on that matter are irrelevant to this discussion. What can we do, as a profession, to give parents and caregivers the best information about HOW (not IF) to use their smart phones and tablets with their kids in the most positive, literacy-supporting way possible?

We are in the middle of a format-based sea-change that spans far beyond libraryland and into publishing, pedagogy, multi-literacies, special needs education, diversity and federal and state policy. It’s a much bigger phenomenon than many librarians realize, yet there is no better profession to step in and make recommendations on the intelligent use of book-based and educational apps with children.

I’d like to invite those of you who are already using apps in your programs, or who would LIKE to use apps in your programs, to contact me off-list or through to discuss working together to develop a community of knowledge in this area. We don’t all need to be re-inventing the wheel on this one, and there are plans already in the works to develop a librarian-curated recommendation service (think Goodreads but for kids apps with recommendations for using apps in programs).

Saddle up, colleagues!