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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.


Response to Lisa Guernsey: Little eLit on

ecetechLittle eLit is really getting around these days.  Here’s an article I wrote in response to an article by Lisa Guernsey, author of Into the Minds of Babes: How screen time affects children from birth to age five and Director of the Early Education Initiative at the New American Foundation.

Response to Lisa Guernsey’s A Role for Early Ed Tech: Strengthening Connections among Teachers, Librarians and Coaches

By Cen Campbell

“In a presentation for a meeting of the Council of Chief State School Officers in Indianapolis, I talked to early childhood specialists in state education agencies about some untapped areas for enhancing training and forming partnerships among educators, including librarians, via digital technology… But it was the section on “the role of states” that probably had the most relevance for the policy experts in the room. Based in part on recent policy brief published by the Education Commission of the States, Technology in Early Education, I singled out two areas that state-level policymakers could focus on: building partnerships between libraries and early education andimproving professional development and teacher training.  Libraries should be seen as integral partners for early education programs, especially in the area of technology given the online curating skills and technical know-how that many children’s librarians possess today.”

I’ve been developing a community of knowledge to inform, inspire and motivate my fellow children’s librarians to expand their expertise in evaluation, curation and program development to the digital realm, and now I am pleased to see that there are experts in non-library fields that are recognizing the value that children’s librarians can bring to interactive media.

But you know what’s incredibly disheartening? Many children’s librarians don’t think this is their job. (I disagree completely, and so do the most of children’s librarians I know.)

There are far more children’s librarians who contact me asking for help establishing early literacy programming that incorporates digital media than those who advocate format-based censorship.  Digital storytelling and collection development are still new for many of us, and while we have centuries of experience evaluating and curating content for children, the technology itself is often intimidating, and funds and staff time are in short supply. In order for children’s librarians to begin to apply their skills to digital media, they are going to need some training, support and motivation from their administrative, advocacy and funding organizations.  These organizations could include city and county administrations, state libraries, state library associations, local chapters of national organizations, JPAs, library boards or any other body that can support measures to bring in trainers, provide staff time to cover the reference desk, and fund the development of programs, services and partnerships.

Children’s librarians need to take stock of their core competencies: the evaluation and dissemination of media and early literacy development, and apply them to the new world of children’s interactive media.  They need the training to step into their new roles as curators of content in the digital realm, get out of the echo chamber of libraryland and share their expertise with related educational organizations.  We need to start developing some large-scale training through creative collaborations with other non-profit organizations, granting agencies and ECE programs, administrators and teachers.

Let’s start the conversation. Let’s make this happen.

Hear Lisa Guernsey, Cen Campbell and Karen Nemeth discuss new initiatives and partnerships between libraries and early childhood education programs in this upcoming webinar: Libraries and Preschool Programs: Amazing Partnerships to Support Diverse Young Children and Families

Idaho Libraries Commission

In a conversation with Lisa Guernsey today I learned about the Idaho Commission for Libraries Routes to Reading program which is an IMLS and J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation funded extension of their state-wide Read to Me program. Here is some information about the program.  What’s especially interesting to me is the online storytelling component (National Film Board of Canada!!!!) and their partnership with TumbleBooks (also Canadian… hm…. Bibliocommons = Canadian. Perhaps it is time for me to go back home, given that my fellow Canadians seem to be taking over the library world?)

Books to Go Program

By partnering with Head Start, developmental preschools, child care centers, and home-based child care providers to place Books to Go at these locations, parents and caregivers will have convenient, continuous access to pre-packaged books. The bags contain age-appropriate quality books and an early literacy handout that corresponds with the titles. Child care providers will be able to use the books and materials throughout the day and parents will be able to check out “Books to Go” when they pick up their child. Public library staff are encouraged to start contacting potential sites in their communities now. A simple application asks for names of community sites and a commitment from libraries to collect evaluation data and check in with partners throughout the year. We plan on sending at least 50 to 75 Books to Go starter kits to libraries in December 2012 or January 2013. Library staff will then take these kits to their community partners. Another large shipment of starter kits will be ready to place at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year. By the end of the grant program, 250 sites statewide will have access to the program.

Idaho libraries are encouraged to apply for the new Books to Go program now! Apply at

Implement a statewide “Storytime Online” and TumbleBooks™ for all public libraries

Many families and child care providers are not able to attend library storytimes. This will bring storytimes to them by creating a parent-friendly website with access to TumbleBooks™ in English and Spanish, daily activities to develop early literacy skills including fingerplays and songs modeled in video clips, and other educational information. This new “” site will be a great resource for Idaho families, librarians, and caregivers.

ICfL staff are currently working on a three-year contract with TumbleBooks to provide access to their ebooks through every Idaho public library website. We hope to be able to answer questions about crediting accounts for those of you who already subscribe and other implementation issues soon. We have set a November 1, 2012 target date for having this additional access point to books available. Funding will also be available to
help promote this valuable service.

Communication, Collaboration, and Coalition Building

ICfL will work with libraries and community partners to increase awareness of the valuable role libraries play to ensure children begin school with a strong foundation of early literacy skills. ICfL will facilitate a minimum of four meetings throughout Idaho to build local coalitions and ensure that the projects started with the grant are sustainable at the community level. Library staff and their community partners will collaboratively examine the results of grant projects, build on successes, and identify opportunities for improvement.

Years 2 and 3 of the grant includes working with a media firm to develop a coordinated, consistent message in English and Spanish that libraries and partners can utilize.

Stay tuned for more details or contact any member of the Read to Me Team if you have questions about how your library can get involved! We hope to have at least 25 libraries apply for the Books to Go route in October and November.