I’ve created an informational session for parents at the Annapolis Valley Regional Library called Apps for (your) Kids. My first presentation of it was actually a good lesson for me, even though I only had one person show up. I co-presented with Geoff, who volunteers a few times a month at one of our libraries giving advice on all things Apple. Since he usually gets paid quite well to do this, we are lucky to have him on board as a volunteer! It was great to have him there in case of technical difficulties and also to answer questions not related to the apps I was there to demonstrate. So, the basic outline of my session is this: I divided the apps I would share into eight areas: Books, Drawing & Writing, ABC & 123, Storytelling, Vocabulary & Grammar, Sounds, Games- young, Games- older. I’ve put the powerpoint I made for it here on SlideShare. For each app I share, I include price, platform, educational use, recommended age, and “Why I like this one”.
My plan was to see who showed up, and then tailor the session to them – we only allowed up to 10 sign up so I knew it would be a small group. (1 is a very small group indeed). So I planned to ask how old their kids were and what sorts of things they were interested in, and then demo the related apps. I had the iPad mirrored via an adapter, HDMI cable, and projector. The hardest bit was figuring out how to control the volume on the projector! Plus I had one app that would not show up and made everything else black out (and I forgot to make a note of which one that was). I also had an extra iPad mini on hand loaded with the more pricey apps in case someone wanted to test-drive an app before purchase. This session was good practise for me, and it showed me that librarians DO have a better grip on this whole app thing than a lot of parents do. They NEED us, folks!
So, even though there was only one mom there, I was able to turn her on to a couple of apps and give her a bit of advice. I also emailed her my complete APPS FOR KIDS list as a PDF. I was able to explain to her about in-app purchases and show her some free apps and some apps that while not free, are low-cost and aren’t trying to sell gold coins to her children. I’ve got it scheduled at a few more branches in April, so I can keep spreading the word.
Lessons learned: be flexible, be prepared for anything, be ok with saying “I can’t really help you with that, but I can show you this”, take notes for yourself, bask in your area of expertise, and be confident!
Youth Services Manager
Annapolis Valley Regional Library